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Tag Archives: wine lawsuits

Winebits 328: Scottish wine, wine marketing, lawsuits

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Winebits 328: Scottish wine, wine marketing, lawsuits

Scottish wine for a Scottish dish, haggis

Talk about terroir: A Scottish winemaker — yes, that’s correct — says climate change has made it possible to make wine in his country. Christopher Trotter, a chef and food writer, wants to grow six acres of grapes in eastern Scotland, and says that the warmest weather in centuries will make it possible. One caveat: It’s still cooler than most of the world’s wine regions, so he has to use grapes that are cold hardy and that don’t necessarily make great wine. The article, from the Bloomberg news service, is also an excellent look at how warmer temperatures around the world will affect the wine business.

A glass of Chloe, please: The Wine Group, which gave the world Cupcake, is making another marketing play, this time with a brand called Chloe. As Robert Joseph writes, the company’s approach has nothing to do with wine per se, but with how it is sold to the public. Chloe is being marketed like jewelry or perfume, costing about one-third more than the $10 to $12 Cupcake. This is The Wine Group’s particular genius, and which is rarely seen in wine, that it can position its brands as lifestyle products and get a premium for what will almost certainly be a very ordinary bottle of Italian pinot grigio (given the quality of its other wines). But, as many have noted, the people who buy these kinds of wines aren’t buying them for what’s in the bottle.

Bring out the lawyers: The Wine Curmudgeon has always enjoyed watching companies sue each other over labels and brand names, and this one is particularly enjoyable. Beverage Digest reports that Diageo, the world’s largest drinks company, says family-owned Heaven Hill is trampling on its intellectual property in Canada with a product called Admiral Nelson spiced rum, which too closely resembles Diageo’s Captain Morgan spiced rum. How many billable hours will this require? The article discusses — seriously, I suppose — that one issue in the lawsuit will be how similar the character of Nelson, the greatest hero in British naval history, is to Morgan, who was a pirate. Sadly, wigs are no longer worn in Canadian courts, or this would be even more fun to watch.

Winebits 322: Availability, lawsuits, wine writing

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Winebits 322: Availability, lawsuits, wine writingInvisible wines: Mike Veseth at the Wine Economist weighs in on availability and the three-tier system, writing off the recent Eric Asimov column. “Asimov uses the article to respond to readers who are frustrated that the fabulous wines he often praises turn out to be nearly impossible for them to actually experience. … Asimov is sympathetic to his readers’ frustration and explains how the almost hopelessly fragmented US wine market (a lasting legacy of Prohibition) makes it nearly impossible to talk about important wines if you limit your list to only those that can be found in all the nation’s many marketplaces.” In this, he puts Asimov in perspective, noting that there are tens of thousands of wines that are made around the world, most of which we’ll never get a chance to buy. I’m not so sure Veseth is defending the three-tier system as much he is reminding us that there is more to wine than what we find in the grocery store, and that there is a certain joy in that.

Bring out the attorneys: Because, frankly, the Wine Curmudgeon takes an almost unhealthy glee in reporting that wine companies are suing each other. This time, Veuve Cliquot, the French Champagne giant, is suing Ciro Picariello, a tiny Italian producer that makes spumante. The former says the latter’s label is the same color as Veuve’s, and that’s illegal. That the wines have nothing else in common save bubbles is apparently irrelevant. And, as Diana Goodman notes in the linked article, the colors don’t look that similar, either. Isn’t it reassuring to see Big Wine spending its money to make a better product?

• “Depths that need to be stirred:” The Italian Wine Guy is one of the best writers in wine in the world today, and I almost always want to leave a comment on one of his posts. And I’d say that even if he wasn’t a friend of mine. So, the next time the wine world leaves you frazzled and worn out, and you’re tired of the foolishness that too often passes for wine writing and criticism, read this post. It will make you feel better. It did me.

Winebits 260: Wine preferences, lawsuit, bubbly bill

Red or white? Does your lifestyle determine whether which color wine you prefer? A study that looked at British wine drinkers says that may be the case, though the Wine Curmudgeon has his doubts. It found that red wine drinkers are better educated and drink more frequently than those who have a preference for white or rose, while white wine drinkers are home-lovers who aren’t ambitious for their careers. What the study doesn’t seem to have taken into account is wine price, because white and rose tends to be less expensive than red, which would account for some of the differences.

Get a lawyer: One must admire the gumption of a group of Idaho prison inmates, as reported by Courthouse News. They are suing five liquor producers, including E&J Gallo, because “alcohol contributed to their downfall, and that companies that make beer, wine and booze should be obligated to warn consumers of the dangers of their products,” says the report. The companies, says the suit, knew their product was habit forming, but did nothing to warn the public. The other interesting bit about the story? It has a quote from an unnamed member of Alcoholics Anonymous, who holds AA sessions at the prison. That kind of quote is almost unheard of, given AA’s mania for secrecy.

Too much expensive Champagne: What would we do without the Internet? Otherwise we would not know, as reported by thedrinksbusiness.com, that someone named Dexter Koh spent £105,000 (about US$170,000) on bubbly at a British nightclub. Koh, a self-described bon vivant, tweeted that he celebrated a winning gambling night drinking Champagne that most people not only can’t afford, but haven’t heard of. And yes, there was a model along for the party, as well as a picture of the bill.

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