Europe officially recognizes Napa

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  • Wednesday 30 May 2007

The European Union has officially recognised California’s Napa Valley in a new ruling announced in San Francisco last week.

The decision recognizing the Californian wine region stipulates that Napa wine can only be sold in Europe as long as a minimum of 85% of the grapes used in the wine come from the region.

Winemakers praised the ruling as Europe represents over half of Napa’s export market, some $120m in sales, with UK sales leading those of her European neighbours.

‘This is very positive,’ Margaret Duckhorn of Duckhorn Vineyards told decanter.com. ‘This is a very important and exciting outcome to an ongoing effort for us to protect the Napa name worldwide.

‘Napa only produces about 4% of California’s wine, but it accounts for nearly 25% of the economic impact of the California wine industry,’ she said. ‘When it became apparent that the Napa name was being used by others on their wines when there was no Napa fruit in the bottle in both the domestic and international market, we had to become proactive.’

Terry Hall, spokesman for the Napa Valley Vintners Association representing nearly 300 wineries agreed.

‘EU recognition gives us a legal standing,’ he said. ‘Previous to this only names recognised with geographic indication had protection in trademark and branding.’

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