Thursday, September 29, 2005

What's in a name?

Where do we go from here?

Much has been made of late about the use in the US of what have been for the past-century-plus a number of "generic" wine terms. The EU hopes to protect their place names, and thus solve what they think is a sap on their products and dilution of both their reputation and market. This is a very real concern for them right now, imagined or not, since their sales have declined in the recent past, and politicians are probably spurring the fears of the vignerons with a little nationalism for their own gain.

Anyway, we're left witht the question of what do we call our products then, that have been labeled with these terms in the past?
If we can't legally call a California Port a "Port" anymore, what do we label it as?

Well, Port is made by adding spirits to the wine base while it hasn't finished fermentation (the process is called "fortification"), so I'd suggest we coin "Portification", the wine then being "Portified wine"! I can see the ad campaign now -
"Get some Brand X Portified Wine - now portified with 8 essential oils and a full days supply of Alcohol!"...

Well, that's one down. But we're still left with Madeira, Sherry, Champagne (though that one's settled on "sparkling") and Tokay. Those four are the largest potential offenders in my estimate...

One of the reasons that this initiative is moving forward is the touted benefit of US producers having an easier certification process for their products into the EU. My question is "will that create more sales for the US?". So far I don't think it's been that detrimental to US sales, although I think dismantling any trade hinderance is worthwhile from a "market driven" perspective.

We still need to come up with some new product names, and while we're at it, maybe rename some varietals after American heros and areas in the US.

What if Merlot became "Franklin Red" for example...or perhaps Sauvignon Blanc became a "Washington Blanc"...unless, of course the French object to the use of "blanc" as well...where will it end?
Beaujolais Nouveau could become "Bush Red" (named for G.W.). Think about it, neither is that popular right now, and the number of it's adherents is dwindling. Rose wines for moderates, etc. We could honor past heros and apply a good dose of political satire at the same time...


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