Ditto Hamburgers

Apparently, the folks in France are at it again, valiantly trying to retroactively create trademark rights that don't exist.  I saw this link below:

Which leads to this site, which says in part:

When it comes to wine, there is no ingredient more important than location. The land, air, water and weather where grapes are grown are what make each wine unique. That is why we, as wine enthusiasts, demand that a wine's true origin be clearly identified on its label in order for us to make informed decisions when purchasing and consuming wine. This ensures we know where our wine comes from and protects wine growing regions worldwide.

Use the form below to sign the petition to protect wine place and origin names:

I hereby sign the Wine Place & Origin Petition. In doing so, I join the signatories of the Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin - Champagne, Chianti Classico, Jerez, Napa Valley, Oregon, Paso Robles, Porto, Sonoma County, Tokaj, Victoria, Walla Walla, Washington State and Western Australia - and a growing list of consumers in supporting clear and accurate labeling to better ensure consumers will not be misled by wine labels.

Some countries like Germany cannot use "champagne" or "Cognac" to describe similar products.  Do you know why?  These conditions were actually thrown in to the Treaty of Versailles at the end of WWI.  Since the US never signed the treaty, it and its citizens and growers are not bound by this restriction.

In the same spirit I demand that:  1) Hamburgers only be made in Hamburg 2)  Franfurters can only be made in Frankfort 3) Wiener Snitzel can only be made in Vienna 4) Hollandaise Sauce can only be made in the Netherlands  5) Boston baked beans can only be made in Boston.  Obviously we consumers are all duped, thinking our hamburger was actually made in Germany.  Had I only known!


  1. Craig:

    And don't even get me started about Buffalo wings.

  2. Brad Warbiany:

    I think there are two issues here.

    1) Truth in labeling
    2) The distinction between the name of a drink and the place of origin.

    America already has truth in labeling laws regarding wine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Viticultural_Area

    I.e. a winery can't sell a Zinfandel labeled "Dry Creek Valley" if they only use 10% of their grapes from Dry Creek and 90% from Lodi. The winemakers themselves codified some basic geographical areas and defined that a wine can only be advertised as being from that area if at least 85% of its grapes come form that region. Even as a libertarian, I support this, as it is merely restricting someone from lying about their product (i.e. there is no requirement they MUST put an appelation on the label -- they could make a wine w/ 100% Dry Creek Valley grapes and label it "Sonoma County" or "California" -- or nothing at all).

    The second is more difficult. Champagne is now (in America at least) known both as the name of a generic drink, sparkling white wine, and as the name of a region. In fact, it is known primarily as the name of the drink -- it is rare that someone offering you a glass of champagne is doing so with the express purpose of designating that it is from the Champagne region of France. Just as if someone offers you a Kleenex, it's not at all implied that the tissue they give you will be Kleenex-brand. But that doesn't mean that another brand can put the word "Kleenex" on their advertisements.

    How do we solve this? I don't know. I would prefer that American vintners avoid the use of the term Champagne on their labeling [as I think the French do have a point here], but I think they're scared to do so without the American consumer being educated to the difference between the two. It's a chicken/egg problem.

  3. Captain Obviousness:

    The Lanham Act (trademark act) actually has a specific section related to geographic indications on wines:

    15 USC sec. 1052: No trademark ... shall be refused registration on the principal register on account of its nature unless it--

    (a) Consists of ... a geographical indication which, when used on or in connection with wines or spirits, identifies a place other than the origin of the goods...

  4. Evil Red Scandi:

    "...Hollandaise Sauce can only be made in the Netherlands..."

    I dunno... I might just support that one.

  5. Brad Warbiany:

    Cpt. Obvious,

    That seems to state that if I had a winery in Lodi, for example, I couldn't call myself "Dry Creek Vineyards". It means you can't apply for an *inaccurate* trademark. However, having visited Dry Creek Vineyards, which happens to be right in the middle of Dry Creek Valley, I can only assume that they are not in violation of trademark law by calling themselves such.

    * Full disclosure, I have no working relationship with any winery whatsoever, nor any real ties to the Dry Creek Valley. I just like the Zin from there.

  6. DCSpotter:

    To continue... in the same spirit I demand that:
    6) Pilzner only be made in Plzen
    7) Budweiser be made only in České Budějovice/Budweis

  7. Paavo Ojala:

    European Union has a lot of this.

    Feta cheese can be only made in Greece. And Parmesan only in Italy. Sangria can be made only in Spain and Portugal. Ouzo also is for the Greek only.

    For some reason the jerk countries of EU seem to get these monopolies to common names. Gouda can be manufactured anywhere and Holland only gets the exclusive right to market Gouda Holland, Emmental and Cheddar likewise. I have no problem with only Greeks getting to make Feta from Greece.

  8. ElamBend:

    On a recent trip to Napa, my wife and I stopped at a winery/tourist trap that was owned by a French wine maker. As he poured us a sparkling beverage our host explained, "This is a dry Champagne that we grow, of course we call it a sparkling wine so we don't upset the French."

  9. Sol:

    For wine, using the grape name instead of the place name as a label is actually a lot more informative to the casual buyer. I mean, I can remember that Burgundy is usually Pinot Noir, but I don't remember the exceptions, and as a result, I'm just going to buy a nice wine labelled "Pinot Noir" from Oregon instead. And I can't remember which white French wines are which grapes at all.

    Funny how cheese seems so different. I don't know of any decent terms for distinguishing kinds of cheese other than the "place of original origin" names we all use...

  10. DrTorch:

    So where should Lima beans come from?

  11. Tim:

    @Sol: Red Burgundys are typically Pinot; but they can also be Gamay. White wines from Burgundy are chardonnay, but can also be sauvignon blanc. Which brings up an interesting point. White Burgundys tend to have a *very* different flavor profile than chardonnays from the US. Typical California Chards are extremely oaky and 'big'; but white Burgundys aren't, showing a lot more characteristic of the grape. So, in this instance; grape varietal is less informative than appellation.

    One other note. Champagne is non-varietal, and typically non-vintage. That means that it is made from more than one grape type; and from the grapes of more than one year. The word Champagne describes a region, a style, and a method of making sparkling wine; where the secondary fermentation (whence the bubbles) occurs in the bottle. Other methods include the Italian-style Charmat, where the secondary fermentation occurs in vats; and carbonation. Each method, terroir, and house produce a different style of wine; and it's *almost* deceptive to label non-Champagne as such.

    At the very least, it dilutes the 'brand'; and any trademark that isn't defended is considered abandoned. Just ask the good folks at Kimberly-Clark or Xerox.

  12. beautox:

    Don't forget the EU Eurocrat's fave : Brussels Sprouts

  13. skh.pcola:

    @DrTorch: Ohio?

    Since good grapes don't necessarily make a good wine, I think that the vintner is more important than the varietal. Even traditionally-great vintners have good and bad years, so the squabbling over geographic claims to (what have become) somewhat-generic names is moot.

  14. hedberg:

    And then there's Peking duck. Can we still have Peking duck or must we settle for Beijing duck?

  15. C hinaski:

    Dear Coyote,

    you should consider in your comparisons that the location where winegrapes are grown ("terroir") has an impact to the end-product, which is not the case for hamburgers etc.

  16. ArtD0dger:

    C hinaski, your assertion that location has no impact on hamburgers, etc... is manifestly false, as would easily be demonstrated by any prickly lawyers and legislators from Hamburg if they decided they wanted to get all French(c) about it.

  17. rxc:

    I live in the Bordeaux appellation in France, and my next door neighbor made some wine in 2009 from a particular grape variety that gave him a flavor that he had never seen before. It was quite striking, and I asked him if he would be bottling it as it was. His response was no, he could not bottle it as is and sell it as "Bordeaux", because the negotiants (wine merchants), the French officials (!), and his customers would not accept this flavor as "Bordeaux". He would have to bottle it as something else, which would be a real pain. Instead, he will use it to improve the taste of his normal blend of 4 grape varietals, and produce a "Bordeaux" that will be quite good. He even gave me a taste of what it will taste like, making an impromptu blend from samples taken from the casks. 2009 Bordeaux are going to be quite good when they are bottled.

    What I take from this is that, as someone else said above, some products have a characteristic flavor, and although it may be possible to reproduce this flavor pretty well, it is not really fair to call something made somewhere else by a name that implies that it came from the original place. If you can produce something that people really like, then more power to you, but just make sure you tell them what it is.

  18. Cloudesley Shovell:

    Why should Frankfort, Kentucky, have a lock on frankfurters? The Germans in Frankfurt might get as upset as the French do over Champagne.

  19. DMS:

    This debate has been ongoing in Australia for quite some time and has (surprisingly) seeped into the public consciousness (i.e. beyond wine geeks). If you were in somebody's home and they offered you a sparkling wine an Aussie these days will often offer you a glass of "bubbles" or even "fizz" (although the latter is less common), unless it was *actually* champagne in which case they would certainly say "champagne" to show of because of how bloody expensive it is here.

    To be fair, Australians like to give things slang names so "champagne" (including domestic and imported stuff) was pretty much always called "bubbly" etc. (just like brits say "champers"). It makes it easy to drop usage of the word "champagne" if you're disinclined to say long words when drunk anyway.