Alert: European Union Allows Use of Traditional Expressions Only Until Stocks Are Exhausted
Effective March 10, 2009 a US winery cannot export wine to the EU containing the terms chateau, classic, clos, fine, late bottled vintage, noble, ruby, superior, sur lie, tawny, vintage, and vintage character on US wine labels.
On September 8, 2008 the European Community gave written notification to the US that it would not extend the period for use of these terms for US wines beyond March 10, 2009. The effect of this notice is that all US wine producers exporting US wines to the EU will have to cease using the terms listed above, regardless of whether they have a COLA containing these terms, effective March 10, 2009.
US trade negotiators are trying to hammer out exemptions to this ban for trade names and trademarks including the to be banned traditional expressions. These negotiations will continue in the EU next month.
One of our clients is spearheading wine industry efforts to limit the effect of the ban. If you are interested in further information or participating, please contact your Farella Braun + Martel attorney or Susan Cagann at (415)954-4400.