Daily Archive for January 27th, 2010

Confusion in the Marketplace

As we anticipated Foster Beer is putting  out a wine label ‘ Santa Barbara Wine Company’ which is totally confusing, not only to the consumer, but people in the industry as well. In the short time since the company’s announcement many store and restaurant owners have been in contact with us all in agreement that this is pure exploitation. We have also received several calls from consumers wishing to participate in the Film Festival promotion that Foster is using to introduce their new wine label. The Santa Barbara Wine Company label emphasizes ‘Santa Barbara’ and ‘Wine Company’ is an afterthought. You can see it here (we hesitate to post it)

We have been in touch with Congresswoman Lois Capps asking that she make enquiries with the ATF, the department in Treasury that controls label approval, to clarify their policy with regards to labels with similar names. The ATF needs to approve, not only names, but, content, letter size and even artwork.

We are represented in all but a few states and although the confusion is huge here it can only be worse where our wines are not as well known. ‘Santa Barbara Winery’ has been our label for over 40 years. This is the first time that we have faced this kind of challenge.

A challenge from a huge Beer and Wine conglomerate who, after many focus group sessions, determined that ‘Santa Barbara’ scored well. To add insult to injury, the grapes may be from Santa Barbara, but the wine is made in Templeton, San Luis Obispo and bottled in Napa.

Topping Red Wines at Lafond Winery

All our red wines have completed malolactic fermentation. Once they have finished this secondary fermentation they need to be topped regularly, usually every two weeks, so that an air space does not develop in the barrel.

During fermentation the wine creates its own CO2 and pushes out air. Malolactic fermentation, which can take weeks and sometimes month to complete, is carefully monitored and each barrel is tested regularly and individually.

Today and Thursday we will top all 500 plus barrels and since the barrels are closely stacked it requires some agility to accomplish. The wine will remain in barrels until ready to be bottled.