Santa Barbara Winery, The Fight for a Name

Foster’s (beer) new label continues to cause confusion. Many have written in support and we would like to  thank the blog  ‘A Long Pour’ for their excellent and informative article.
This is an excerpt of the article. The full article can be read at A Long Pour:

With more wineries entering the market every year, and more Corporations doing the same, clashes between the two groups are inevitable. Santa Barbara Winery has operated in Santa Barbara, of course, since 1962, Founded by Pierre Lafond, it is the oldest winery in the county.

The family owns and operates two wineries; Santa Barbara Winery focusing on value based Rhone varietals, and Lafond Winery, which operates out of the prestigious Santa Rita Hills. Santa Barbara Winery has its tasting room and winery based in downtown Santa Barbara, not far from Kalyra, Oreana, Carr Winery, and others. Recently however, the winery has felt that the name they’ve spent almost fifty years building has been threatened.

With Santa Barbara County producing some of the highest scoring Pinot Noirs, Syrah, and other varietals, the potential for profit remains tremendous. Like many other entrepreneurs, the corporate world has also taken notice. Recently, a new brand has emerged on the Central Coast. Santa Barbara Wine Company officially launches this month with a vintage of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

For obvious reasons, Santa Barbara Winery has been deeply concerned about the potential for confusion in the market place, given how similar the two names are. “We are deeply disappointed and upset that Foster’s is attempting to create a label so similar to ours using the Santa Barbara name” Joanie Hudson, Director of National and International Marketing for Santa Barbara Winery told me via email. Some have suggested the added marketing of the name ‘Santa Barbara” could be a windfall for Santa Barbara Winery, But Joanie doesn’t agree.

“Confusion in the market-place is never a good thing and in the market-place David does not slay Goliath, just the opposite.” There is also concern that although the grapes are to be sourced from Santa Barbara County, the wines are to be produced outside the County in Paso Robles, a fact confirmed to me by a company spokesperson. I have heard some rumblings that Santa Barbara Wine Company is taking steps to gain full and restricted use of the name Santa Barbara on wine labels. But my area of greatest concern comes from their marketing approach…

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