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Oct-09-2018 22:21printcomments

Oregon Delegation Calls for Enforcement Against Deceptive Practices in Wine Industry

There is evidence that Oregon wine is being imitated by a California winery.

wine
Photo: OREGON WINEGROWERS ASSOCIATION

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley is leading a letter with Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden and Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader asking the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to investigate a California winery that may be misleading consumers by using labels inferring that their wine originates from Oregon—deceptive practices that are unfair to the Oregon wine industry and consumers.

“It has come to the attention of the Oregon Congressional delegation that Copper Cane LLC (‘Copper Cane’), a California winery based in Rutherford advertises their ‘The Willametter Journal’ and ‘Elouan’ brand names as having appellations of origin in Oregon,” the delegation wrote to John Manfreda, administrator of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

“However, it appears that Copper Cane purchases wine grapes and bulk wines produced in Oregon before vinifying and bottling them in California under these wine labels.”

“The state of Oregon is known as a world-class wine region producing extraordinary wines from over 760 wineries and more than 1,140 vineyards growing 72 grape varieties,” the delegation continued.

“Oregon winemakers pride themselves on high quality grapes and wines and have earned a global reputation for exceptional quality.”

“The Oregon wine community has long been at the forefront of protecting its wine regions and promoting truth-in-labeling alongside highly-regarded wine regions like the Napa Valley and Sonoma,” said Jana McKamey, Vice President of Government Affairs at the Oregon Winegrowers Association.

“The OWA’s priority is to assist state and federal regulatory agencies in ensuring all wineries, wherever they are crushing grapes, comply with federal regulations and Oregon’s 41-year-old labeling rules that are designed to protect the integrity of Oregon’s esteemed winegrowing regions. We appreciate the support of Oregon’s Congressional Delegation in this effort.”

The delegation asked the bureau to conduct a field audit of Copper Cane wines to ensure product integrity; to investigate the labeling practices of Copper Cane to ensure that the company is in compliance with all federal regulations; and if the company is out of compliance, the Oregon lawmakers asked that any offending products should be removed from the market immediately.

The full letter can be found here.

Source: Office of U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley

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