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Privatization, Trade Issues and Fraud

Wine law remains in the news this spring with a host of interesting stories …

Privatization. The liquor distribution privatization effort continues in Pennsylvania which is one of the few U.S. states that retains a \”Canadian style\” government control system for liquor. The privatization bill has now passed the state congress and is headed for the senate: see Corbett Pushes to Advance Liquor Privatization. This commentary from the Huffington Post is relevant to Canada as the issues related to \”prohibition era\” thinking are also relevant to most Canadian provinces: Pennsylvania\’s Medieval Wine and Spirits Laws

Trade Issues on Wine. The U.S. Trade Representative to Europe is complaining about the EU\’s geographical indication protections for wine as they relate to the use of certain terms such as \”chateau\” which the U.S. argues unfairly limits access of certain U.S. wines to the EU market. In addition, the Trade Rep is unhappy about restricted access to monopoly liquor markets such as Norway where listing requirements make it difficult for producers to gain a foothold in a market with restricted products and limited competition. See: US Slams EU Geographical Indication System.

Winery Land Prices. Recent data from south of the border shows that Napa land prices are the most expensive agricultural land in the U.S. with prices \”topping out at $300,000 an acre\”. See: Napa Ag Lands Remain Most Expensive in U.S.  

Fraud Law Suit. Ongoing law suits in the U.S. related to the allegedly fraudulent sale of counterfeit wine provide interesting reading, particularly if you were a fan of the book \”The Billionaire\’s Vinegar\”. See: Servant Disses Ex-Boss in Billionaire Wine Fraud Trial and this commentary at the On Reserve Wine Law Blog: William Koch Back in Court for Another Counterfeit Wine Lawsuit.

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