Copper Cane label saga continues

The on-going tussle between Californian producer Copper Cane and the Oregon Winegrowers Association over labelling laws looks set to continue.

Late last year the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) reversed its earlier approval for labels produced by Copper Cane from Oregon-bought fruit and ordered it to remove references to Oregon AVAs.

Although it ordered that production on seven labels (including Elouan, pictured) be put on hold until they can be modified, it added that bottles already on sale could continue to be sold.

This amounts to around 72,000 cases according to reports in the US press, much more than many Oregon producers make in a year.

Last December, the Oregon Winegrowers Association reportedly asked the TTB to reconsider this latter allowance and called for “stronger” action in enforcing federal wine labelling laws.

Tom Daniowski, chief executive office of the Oregon Winegrowers said the industry body was “not trying to run [Copper Cane] out of business” but Sally Murdoch, the group’s communications manager, added that the “tremendous” volume of wine sold under potentially misleading labels, “harms the value of Oregon as a whole”.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission suggested last November that Copper Cane should lose its license to distribute or sell wine in Oregon as a result of the alleged labelling violations.

Copper Cane is expected to appear before a judge to appeal the motion but a hearing has not yet been set.

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