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Domaine Carneros sued over vineyard name

A small winery on the Sonoma Coast is suing Californian sparkling wine estate Domaine Carneros for copyright infringement over its La Terre Promise vineyard.

Charles and Diana Karren with winemaker Michael Browne

As reported by the Wine Spectator, owners of Terra de Promissio estate, Charles and Diana Karren, have filed a trademark infringement suit against Domaine Carneros, which is owned by Champagne house Taittinger.

La Terre Promise Pinot

“Our hope is that we can come to an equitable resolution. People are coming to us and pointing out the confusion. That’s why you have a trademark,” Charles Karren told WS.

“It looks like it’s going to court, and that’s the proper place to have it handled,” Domaine Carneros’ chief winemaker, Eileen Crane added.

The Karrens bought the Petaluma site in 1999 and went about planting it with 20 hectares of Pinot Noir, trademarking the estate name in 2007.

Having previously sold their Pinot grapes to neighbouring estates, last year the couple starting making their own Pinot under the Terra de Promissio name.

Domaine Carneros trademarked the name for La Terre Promise, a 70-hectare vineyard in Carneros, in 2009, having planted it with Pinot Noir in 2002.

The Karrens approached Domaine Carneros two years ago after people began asking if La Terre Promise Pinot was made with their grapes.

An agreement was negotiated allowing Domaine Carneros to sell the remainder of its 2011 and 2012 Pinot, after which it would stop using the Terre Promise name, but the estate allegedly changed its mind before the papers were signed.

A court date has yet to be set.

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