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Possible US-EU Wine War


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From today's Wall Street Journal:

After more than 20 years of haggling, the U.S. and the European Union approved a wine-trade agreement that leaves many European wine producers with deep reservations about the deal.

At the heart of the negotiations was a U.S. demand that Europe allow the importation of wine made using techniques that are illegal in Europe, such as irrigation and adding wood chips to wine barrels during fermentation. For its part, Europe wanted the U.S. to outlaw American wine companies' use of names with geographical origins such as Champagne, Sherry and Port.

Under the compromise agreed to yesterday, the EU will accept the American wine industry's current practices but reserves the right to oppose practices introduced by U.S. vintners in the future. In return, the U.S. promises to introduce legislation in Congress that would make it illegal for any new wine brands to use 17 names with European geographical origins.

To many European wine makers' frustration, the deal won't prevent or phase out the use by existing U.S. brands of names with geographical origins. Europe calls words such as Champagne "geographic indicators" that should be used only for wines made in the regions bearing those names. In the U.S., such words are referred to as "semi-generics."

Bruno Paillard, a French Champagne maker, says he is "not at all satisfied" with the accord. U.S. sparkling-wine brands such as Korbel and Totts are "willingly misleading the consumer" by putting the word Champagne on their labels, when their wine is, in fact, produced in California, he says.

....

Europe's wine industry is too dependent on the U.S. market to afford to be shut out, especially with the French wine industry, one of the biggest producers, in the midst of a deep crisis. Last year, 2 billion of European wine, or 43% of Europe's wine exports, went to the U.S.

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For its part, Europe wanted the U.S. to outlaw American wine companies' use of names with geographical origins such as Champagne, Sherry and Port.

Oh, so not only do they not want use using Dijon mustard and some other stuff that didn't stick in my memory, but we can't use sherry or port to describe said alcoholic beverages? I really object to them trying to limit the vocabulary I use to define food. I also have to wonder how the alcohol lobbies are going to react to this.

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Oh, so not only do they not want use using Dijon mustard and some other stuff that didn't stick in my memory, but we can't use sherry or port to describe said alcoholic beverages?  I really object to them trying to limit the vocabulary I use to define food. I also have to wonder how the alcohol lobbies are going to react to this.

In Europe they have had restrictions on what you can call certain food items for a long time. Of course the alcohol lobbies are not going to like it, but that certainly does not make it right. I personally have no problem with it, but I am sure that most Americans will not want those Europeans telling us what we can or cannot call things.

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I personally have no problem with it, but I am sure that most Americans will not want those Europeans telling us what we can or cannot call things.

Ahh, sadly I am most Americans. While I don't object to the laws being passed to regulate language like hate speech, I do object to the attempts to regulate of the language of food. Especially when they are terms that have passed into common usage. Possibly it's because I've been trying to think of what I would call mozzarella all night, I just can't come up anything better then 'that white cheese that melts nicely.'

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Ahh, sadly I am most Americans.  While I don't object to the laws being passed to regulate language like hate speech, I do object to the attempts to regulate of the language of food.  Especially when they are terms that have passed into common usage.  Possibly it's because I've been trying to think of what I would call mozzarella all night,  I just can't come up anything better then 'that white cheese that melts nicely.'

Well, there are many different kinds of parmigiana. Isn't there value in only using the Reggiano name for that which comes from that region? Or aceto balsamic tradizionale? Or any of many different foodstuffs whose taste and/or texture is unique to a particular area? Eppouises? I can't imagine, say, Wisconsin eppouises or New York aceto balsamic traditional.

Of course I suppose H. J. Heinz and Coca Cola, among others, would have an opinion on this, too. Even "Maui" potato chips or Hawaiian Vintage chocolate or Tabasco or...

Edited by Joe H
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Well, there are many different kinds of parmigiana.  Isn't there value in only using the Reggiano name for that which comes from that region?  Or aceto balsamic tradizionale?  Or any of many different foodstuffs whose taste and/or texture is unique to a particular area?  Eppouises?  I can't imagine, say, Wisconsin eppouises or New York aceto balsamic traditional.

Of course I suppose H. J. Heinz and Coca Cola, among others, would have an opinion on this, too.  Even "Maui" potato chips or Hawaiian Vintage chocolate or Tabasco or...

Of course, the Feds have said that in order to use Napa in the name of a wine you have to make sure the grapes are from Napa, so why should Korbel be able to use Champagne.

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Why do none of the smilies have a thinking cap? Why, why, why?(The ninja, he is cute though.)

Isn't there value in only using the Reggiano name for that which comes from that region? Or aceto balsamic tradizionale?

It is important to know where you food comes from, and what sort of provenance it has, for lack of a better term. I considered that part of being an informed consumer, but when it comes to the point where you can only call something parmigiana or balsamic if it's produced in a certain region, it's going to far. I don't object to consumers being informed, I object to a common food term being denied to other producers and consumers. If you're making the exact same product in the same way, but you're not allowed to use the word because you're not in the right country? I consider that wrong.

This isn't even touching on what the burdens of cost that must be to created to appease the breaucracy that's being set up to to award the designations for tradition food products in the EU. The costs of forms, permits, and equipment to receive these designations can't be cheap. How many people are not bothering to do this? Who is the world missing, because they don't want or can't afford to do this?

Also, these are products that have been created and refined over generations. If we freeze the process at this stage in it's developement, what is not going to be created? What's not going to happen because the rules say it can only be made this way, with these ingredients, in this region? What next small refinement, or great leap are we going to miss?

Of course I suppose H. J. Heinz and Coca Cola, among others, would have an opinion on this, too.

Depends, has Heinz ever tried to stop other producers from using the term ketchup? Have they ever tried to claim that ketchup can only be produced in the United States? Or that only certain tomatoes grown in certain soils can be used to make ketchup? Has the US gov't ever tried to do any of this on behalf of Heinz?

For me, this all comes down to my objection to language being narrowed. Yes, protecting the original products is good, and should be done. Standardizing the product can be useful as well. But, denying others the language to describe and name their own products is bad and stifling.

I got entirely too long winded replying to this, and I pinged all over with my objections to the issue. I am sorry about that.

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This is all silly. Before the EU came into existence the producers of these food products came-up with ways to differentiate the originals from the pretenders. Real Parmesan was stamped all around with the words Parmesanno Reggiano, Chianti has the black rooster label, and so forth. These imagines are generally protected with copy writes so that no one else can use them. From a free market perspective this is the best way to handle this whole morass. But barring that, if a company could not use the word Dijon to describe its mustard, they would not be stymied from producing new types of mustard. I am sure that they would simply rename the original product DeJohn, and be done with it. Back when the government inflicted price controls on us, the meat packers found ways around the stated controls. They simply came up with new cuts of meat that were not in the regulations, and charged the market price for them. Free enterprise has a way of overcoming such hurdles.

But what I find interesting is that someone who is so paranoid about government regulation about what we call certain foods is more than happy to let a bureaucrat determine what is and what is not hateful speech.

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  Also, these are products that have been created and refined over generations.  If we freeze the process at this stage in it's developement, what is not going to be created?  What's not going to happen because the rules say it can only be made this way, with these ingredients, in this region?  What next small refinement, or great leap are we going to miss? 
And in the process of creating and refining over such a long period of time, they created what we know as Champagne, or Stilton, or whichever. Why should somebody else be allowed to hijack and possibly diminish that legacy? I'll even go really cynical and say that any 'external' producers of whichever product will be putting out base imitations. Anybody who is that passionate and that comitted to their particular craft may want to produce the best local Stilton they can, and emulate the traditional methods, but at the same time will have enough respect for the history and meaning of the origonal that they wouldn't use the name. The others just want the name recognition and the revenue therefrom.
Of course I suppose H. J. Heinz and Coca Cola, among others, would have an opinion on this, too.  

    Depends, has Heinz ever tried to stop other producers from using the term ketchup?  Have they ever tried to claim that ketchup can only be produced in the United States?  Or that only certain tomatoes grown in certain soils can be used to make ketchup? Has the US gov't ever tried to do any of this on behalf of Heinz?

Maybe, but what does 'ketchup' mean? Nothing! It's just a mildly flavoured tomato-based food lubricant. You can make good ketchup, but ketchup made in one place is basically the same as ketchup made somewhere else. Ketchup doesn't have terroir.

As much as I love a good freedom of speech argument, and as much as things like trademarks really cheese me off sometimes, I don't have a problem with this.

Why do none of the smilies have a thinking cap? Why, why, why?(The ninja, he is cute though.)
The ninja is NOT cute; he is a deadly and efficient killing machine. :lol: Edited by shogun
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Of course, the Feds have said that in order to use Napa in the name of a wine you have to make sure the grapes are from Napa, so why should Korbel be able to use Champagne.

and bourbon can only come from kentucky. it just seems to me that europe is far more prevalent is assigning naming rights, course, they've been making (insert product name) for far longer than the u.s. as been around. i mean, champagne houses have been around since, what, the 1400's? not to defend the eu, cause while they have gone out of their way to regulate and protect "name brands," they are also going out of their way to destroy local food customs and techniques that have been around for centuries, if not longer.

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Meredith wrote:"It is important to know where you food comes from, and what sort of provenance it has, for lack of a better term. I considered that part of being an informed consumer, but when it comes to the point where you can only call something parmigiana or balsamic if it's produced in a certain region, it's going to far. I don't object to consumers being informed, I object to a common food term being denied to other producers and consumers. If you're making the exact same product in the same way, but you're not allowed to use the word because you're not in the right country? I consider that wrong. "

I will address the wine issue since that is what I do for a living. First of all, Champagne is a place, not a thing. The wine made in Champagne can be called Champagne. To call sparkling wine made in California Champagne is plainly misleading. "Sherry" is a place (Jerez de la Frontera), not a thing. If California producers want to make a sparkling wine and call it "Champagne Style", that's fine, but Champagne is a specific region in France, not America, Canada, Spain or Russia. The flip side of informed consumers are the woefully un-informed consumers. I can't tell you how many times people have said to me "Oh, there's white Burgundy, too?", because their only reference point is the plonky garbage called Gallo Hearty Burgundy (which doesn't have a drop of pinot noir in it!). This is the practice the EU has objected to for more than 30 years.

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Meredith wrote:"It is important to know where you food comes from, and what sort of provenance it has, for lack of a better term. I considered that part of being an informed consumer, but when it comes to the point where you can only call something parmigiana or balsamic if it's produced in a certain region, it's going to far. I don't object to consumers being informed, I object to a common food term being denied to other producers and consumers. If you're making the exact same product in the same way, but you're not allowed to use the word because you're not in the right country? I consider that wrong. "

I will address the wine issue since that is what I do for a living. First of all, Champagne is a place, not a thing. The wine made in Champagne can be called Champagne. To call sparkling wine made in California Champagne is plainly misleading. "Sherry" is a place (Jerez de la Frontera), not a thing. If California producers want to make a sparkling wine and call it "Champagne Style", that's fine, but Champagne is a specific region in France, not America, Canada, Spain or Russia. The flip side of informed consumers are the woefully un-informed consumers. I can't tell you how many times people have said to me "Oh, there's white Burgundy, too?", because their only reference point is the plonky garbage called Gallo Hearty Burgundy (which doesn't have a drop of pinot noir in it!). This is the practice the EU has objected to for more than 30 years.

I'm on the Slater boat.

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This is all silly.  Before the EU came into existence the producers of these food products came-up with ways to differentiate the originals from the pretenders.  Real Parmesan was stamped all around with the words Parmesanno Reggiano, Chianti has the black rooster label, and so forth.  These imagines are generally protected with copy writes so that no one else can use them.  From a free market perspective this is the best way to handle this whole morass.  But barring that, if a company could not use the word Dijon to describe its mustard, they would not be stymied from producing new types of mustard.  I am sure that they would simply rename the original product DeJohn, and be done with it.  Back when the government inflicted price controls on us, the meat packers found ways around the stated controls.  They simply came up with new cuts of meat that were not in the regulations, and charged the market price for them.  Free enterprise has a way of overcoming such hurdles. 

But what I find interesting is that someone who is so paranoid about government regulation about what we call certain foods is more than happy to let a bureaucrat determine what is and what is not hateful speech.

Ah! DeJohn mustard!! Could there actually be DeJohn mustard? Hmmm.....

http://www.recipebookonline.com/asp/viewrecipe.asp?ID=1381

It seems that DeJohn mustard is the secret ingredient in the "world's best barbeque sauce!" Who could have known?

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But what I find interesting is that someone who is so paranoid about government regulation about what we call certain foods is more than happy to let a bureaucrat determine what is and what is not hateful speech.

I am sorry if I've offended you and if I'm coming off as paranoid. I really not trying to do either of those. I was simply trying to illustrate what sort of control I was willing to accept from the gov't and what I was not. Regulating things that hurt people=bad to me. Regulating what I call my food=silly to me.

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Ah!  DeJohn mustard!!  Could there actually be DeJohn mustard?  Hmmm.....

http://www.recipebookonline.com/asp/viewrecipe.asp?ID=1381

It seems that DeJohn mustard is the secret ingredient in the "world's best barbeque sauce!"  Who could have known?

Seriously?

Ohmigod, seriously! But, are they really asking for Dejohn mustard, or is there spellcheck just really wrong?

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I am sorry if I've offended you and if I'm coming off as paranoid.  I really not trying to do either of those.  I was simply trying to illustrate what sort of control I was willing to accept from the gov't and what I was not.  Regulating things that hurt people=bad to me.  Regulating what I call my food=silly to me.

I agree with Slater and Wabeck. Besides nobody is regulating what you call your food, just those in the business that may be using words to mislead consumers.

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The flip side of informed consumers are the woefully un-informed consumers. I can't tell you how many times people have said to me "Oh, there's white Burgundy, too?", because their only reference point is the plonky garbage called Gallo Hearty Burgundy (which doesn't have a drop of pinot noir in it!). This is the practice the EU has objected to for more than 30 years.

Speaking of the ignorati: many years ago, I was invited to Thanksgiving dinner at a home here in DC. "Champagne" was to be served with dinner, I was told. So, when I drank this sickly sweet stuff (which ruined the meal, by the way), I made it a point to look at the bottle. Yup, you guessed it: Asti Spumante! My point is this: if sparkling wine originating outside of Champagne, France, had been prohibited from being called "Champagne" in the first place, I suspect there would have been less ignorance like that I witnessed. I mean people would have had to do a bit more thinking about what they were referring to, IMHO.

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Of course, the Feds have said that in order to use Napa in the name of a wine you have to make sure the grapes are from Napa, so why should Korbel be able to use Champagne.

In actuallity, you can call a wine Napa Valley even if its made in Pope Valley which is a mountain range away. You can call a wine vinted in Napa Valley even if its was just bottled there because Vinted is a non regulated name.

We, as a country, howl about intellectual property rights and want other countries to honor our patents and laws regarding the same. Yet we take name with a long history of protection and defense and make a free speach argument defending our degradation of the product name.

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I do believe in some protection for names, but some of these fights are just down right silly, but not nearly as silly as the rational behind most recent ruling stating that Feta can only be from Greece.

Some of the arguments against protecting the name are:

- The Danish government, for example, had argued that until 1988, cheese made from cow’s milk by methods other than traditional Greek cheese-making techniques was imported into Greece and sold there as feta.

- The name feta actually derives from the Italian word fetta – or slice – which entered the Greek language only in the 17th century.

Here is the rational:

But on Tuesday, the European Court of Justice dismissed their arguments, saying that the fact that the product had been lawfully produced in other member states was “only one factor of several which must be taken into account”.

It noted that 85 per cent of the EU’s consumption of feta took place in Greece; that most Greek consumers thought the name had geographical connotations; and that, even outside Greece…”

:lol:
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