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Name and Wine Conflicts

We are a litigious society. However, the 99 percent of the winemakers and owners we have met are wonderful people and I feel fortunate to have met them and wish them all well.

I was disappointed when I read a press release about a conflict between two companies over a name.

A winery in California produces a wine called Sumptuary. According to the owner, sumptuary “comes from the ancient set of laws beginning around 215 B.C. that attempted to regulate habits of consumption. Traditionally, they were laws that regulated and reinforced social hierarchies and morals through restrictions on clothing, food, luxury items as well as wine. Sumptuary laws were enacted in many countries of Europe and around the world from the Middle Ages forward. By the 20th century, democratization, industrial mass production and the rise of consumer-oriented societies all combined to render sumptuary laws obsolete in most countries.”

Another company that has some very well known brands has a Sanctuary brand. According to their website, “Sanctuary is a wine brand from legendary California winemaker Dennis Martin that focuses on offering the best premium varietals from highly acclaimed single vineyards. Thus, the brand is a ‘sanctuary’ or haven for only the finest wines available.”

Does anyone really think that Sanctuary will be confused with Sumptuary? Is this a case of believing that consumers are “dumb” and may make the “wrong” purchase? I hardly think anyone purchasing a wine would mistake Sanctuary for Sumptuary.

I hope winemakers and owners will listen to their hearts and souls before antagonizing others in the wine industry. Let’s hope the wine industry will work together including the large businesses and small wineries.

To read the press release mentioned above, go to the Wine Business website.

Cheers! Kathy

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