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Shafer drops lawsuit over ‘Hillside Select’ name

Napa Valley's Shafer winery has agreed to drop legal action against nearby rival Howell Mountain Vineyards over use of the Hillside Select name on wine labels.

Harvest at Shafer Vineyards

Shafer had filed a lawsuit against Howell Mountain in the Napa County Superior Court. When contacted by Decanter.com, Doug Shafer said ‘it’s our policy not to comment on litigation’.

But, Howell Mountain Vineyards’ winemaker, Bryan Kane, told Decanter.com that the two parties have agreed to settle the lawsuit amicably.

According to the Napa Valley Register, Shafer and his team alleged that Howell Mountain Vineyards’ use of the Hillside Select name on its 2011 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon could confuse consumers.

Shafer’s Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon is its flagship wine and first produced in 1983. The 2010 vintage was this week on sale for £300 per 75cl bottle at Hedonism in the UK, and for $550-a-bottle at Zachys in the US.

Howell Mountain Vineyards was founded in 1988 and is still run by co-founder Mike Beatty. The Howell Mountain American Viticultural Area (AVA) was established in 1983.

Of the settlement, Howell Mountain’s Kane added, ‘The lawsuit was filed but never served, so Howell Mountain Vineyards never had an obligation to respond to the allegations.

‘Howell Mountain Vineyards reached an amicable settlement with Shafer Vineyards that involved no payment of any money and as far as Howell Mountain Vineyards is concerned there is no remaining dispute and the lawsuit has been dismissed.’

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Written by Chris Mercer

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