A very alert local news media…

We posted our previous blog, about an unnamed conglomerate, and their possible use of a ‘Santa Barbara’ label on Tuesday morning and by noon a reporter from the Santa Barbara News Press had spoken to several members of the Santa Barbara Winery staff to get more information and by Wednesday morning there was a front page article.

We first got wind of this from a former employee of the Foster Wine Group who casually mentioned, to a staff member, that ‘Santa Barbara’ kept coming up on top in focus groups the company was conducting. We don’t think he was alerting us, but rather congratulating us for our prescience. We then learnt from other sources that they were in serious developement.

You can’t copyright the name of a city but we believe  that similar labels will lead to confusion in the market. Different prices, different quality, similar name.

A year ago another large Wine Group put out a Chardonnay, it had a different name, but it matched our Chardonnay label in format, color and font. The wine was not of good quality and the retail price was below our production costs. It caused a lot of confusion. Fortunately, it disappeared quickly, but it may come back. There were a lot of unsold grapes this year and many companies thrive on exploiting distressed grape growers and buying them at rock bottom prices. Better than letting them rot in the field.

Grapes go in cycles, but unlike most agricultural products, there is a 3 year lag before you can harvest. The cycles eventually correct themselves but it can be painful.

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