EU Bans Specific Words on US Wine Bottles

This is nothing new but comes up in the news again.  Every country that produces alcoholic beverages has at least one product that is manufactured there and is vital to the economy.  This product is regulated and protected locally and acknowledged overseas.  The more civilized the country, the more seriously the classifications are taken.  US has always benefited from fake products.  Whatever has an established market and recognition (Cuban Cigars, Caviar, Unpasteurized-milk Cheese, etc.) is either banned in the US or regulated heavily to make it expensive.  The alternative is US makers come up with replacements made domestically or imported that uses the market share and the recognition of the name but brings them more money than allowing the bona fide product to do well.  Wine industry is a clear example of this approach to doing business:  US is a country that technically cannot grow vines and is very difficult to achieve this but as long as a substantial market for imported wine exists, it makes a lot of sense to pull things together and contribute to this market by domestic sales.  The wines made are usually too-high in alcohol and universally too expensive to sell in countries that traditionally drink wine by most households.  The problem with the overproduction of wine in the market is the American wine has to go someplace.  The jug wines sell overseas because they are affordable but the better labels cannot compete because the buyers in the local market usually know wine well and can find excellent replacements from local wines.  That leaves the US wine lobby to come up with whatever it takes to sell their stuff.  Clos du Val and Chateau Ste Michelle are only excuses.  I am too young to remember but US wine-makers used to bottle the blends of some of their lower stock that couldn't sell on own merit as "Reserve."   The American consumer did not know what wine was and agricultural products disappear in short time but this industry has never been honest and its problems are not bona fide business issues-in most situations!
******************************************** reports that wines which display labels containing any of 14 prohibited words will be banned from the European Union (EU).

The so-called "traditional terms" are specified in a 2006 agreement with the EU that was terminated in September 2008. The EU notified the U.S. that the language would no longer be allowed after March 10, 2009.

The terms include: chateau, classic, clos, cream, crusted/crusting, fine, late bottled, vintage, noble, ruby, superior, sur lie, tawny, vintage and vintage character.

Earlier in May, 26 members of Congress signed a letter (PDF) to United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk asking that the Obama administration take steps to allow American wineries and vintners using the terms to continue to sell their wines in the EU.

According to, U.S. wineries — like Clos du Val and Chateau St. Michelle — that use these terms in their trademarks are particularly concerned about how the ruling may apply to them. 


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