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Napa name safe from non-Napa wines

Published:  23 July, 2008

Californian governor, Gray Davis, moves to protect NVVA

A bill prohibiting vintners from using the name "Napa", unless 75% of the grapes used in the wine come from the county, has been passed by California's legislature. Californian governor, Gray Davis, has indicated that he will sign the bill, SB 1293, which was sponsored by the 180-member Napa Valley Vintners' Association (NVVA). "This bill will go a long way to protect the Napa name from those who would unfairly profit from our reputation without making the investment in quality," said Jack Stuart, president of the NVVA. The legislation seeks to close a loophole in federal regulations that allows a brand with a geographical reference, created before 1986, not to have a minimum percentage of grapes from that specific region. The bill applies only to the use of Napa and any of the sub-appellations in Napa County, such as Rutherford or Oakville. In January the Bronco Wine Co bought the Napa Ridge brand for $40 million from Beringer. Bronco owns 35,000 acres in the Central Valley and markets more than two dozen labels, such as Rutherford Vintners and Domaine Napa. Bronco, which is considering a legal challenge to the legislation, is believed to be planning a 18-million case facility in the Napa - twice as much as all of the valley's current annual capacity.