Close Menu

Treasury Wine Estates sued over Dracula wine

Treasury Wine Estates is being sued in California over the release of a Halloween edition of 19 Crimes.

The case concerns the 19 Crimes Dracula Red Blend, a limited-edition release from Treasury Wine Estates in October 2023 complete with a glow in the dark label (RRP: US$18). A Frankenstein Cabernet Sauvignon was also released.

But now, according to court documents seen by The Australian, the Dracula-themed bottle has come back to bite the Australian wine giant.

Vampire Vineyards owner Michael Machat, whose background is as a lawyer specialising in the music industry and trademarks, the 19 Crimes Dracula Red Blend was likely to “cause confusion, mistake, and to deceive the public at large”.

19 Crimes (left) and Vampire Vineyards (right).

The prosecution accused Treasury Wine Estates of being “unjustly enriched, among other things, by the receipt of sales revenues from consumers who mistakenly thought that they were purchasing plaintiff’s Dracula or Vampire goods and/or goods sponsored by plaintiff, but instead were purchasing defendants’ goods which are promoted and sold through advertisements that affirmatively misrepresent, either directly or by implication, the nature, characteristics, identity, and source or sponsorship of the goods.”

Machat is demanding at least US$15 from every bottle of 19 Crimes Dracula Red Blend sold in the US and as much as US$36 for each bottle sold in the on-trade. The case is ongoing.

According to the Vampire Vineyards website, Machat first had the idea for the brand in 1985 (Bram Stoker’s gothic horror novel Dracula was released in 1897), releasing the first wine, an Algerian Syrah bottled in France, in 1988. In the intervening decades, the Vampire Vineyards wine portfolio has expanded significantly, including the California-grown Dracula Brut Sparkling Rosé (RRP: US$34.95). For $8.95, Vampire Vineyards also sells a vampiric cape to decorate the bottle with.

db asked Treasury Wine Estates for comment and was sent the following from a spokesperson: “Treasury Wine Estates treats the intellectual property rights of others with the utmost respect. We stand by the integrity of our brands but we cannot make any further comments regarding this case while it remains pending.”

db has also reached out to Vampire Vineyards for comment.

Related reading:

“I never drink…wine”: wine and gothic horror

19 Crimes launches ‘stout-style’ Syrah blend for St. Patrick’s Day

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No