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A Surprisingly High Number of Virginia Wineries Are Not Registering their Trademarks

Several wineries in the Commonwealth of Virginia are not federally registering their wine brands as trademarks. We compared the number of wineries in all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) to the number of federal wine trademark applications/registrations, and here are the results. As you will see, while Virginia comes in eighth place among all states regarding the total number of wineries (360 wineries according to TTB), Virginia wineries are in tradethe bottom half of all states (28th place) when it comes to federal trademark applications and registrations per winery (409 applications/registrations, or just above 1 trademark application/registration per winery). This rate drops to about 7 applications/registrations per 10 wineries when you add in pending winery licensees (573, according to Virginia ABC). This rate would be even lower if we considered the almost certainty that some of the applicants/registrants are private label brand owners that do not themselves own a winery.

This begs the question, “Why are so many Virginia wineries foregoing federal trademark applications?” There are some legitimate reasons why a company should not try to federally register its brands as trademarks. Read more on that here. In our experience, these situations are few and far between. More likely, we expect that many Virginia wineries may not understand the benefits of trademark registration, may overestimate the costs of trademark registrations and applications, or may simply be too busy dealing with the day-to-day duties of running a winery. In such cases, the wineries may be missing out on what is often a fleeting opportunity to stake an early claim to exclusive rights in their brands.

Read the rest of this article here.

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Apothic Brew – Wine + Coffee for Real?

I most definitely did not see this one coming. I can imagine a lot of oddball combinations, but I would not have expected anyone to combine red wine and coffee.

The news of this product just came in a few minutes ago via Wine & Spirits Daily. Though the combination does not sound like the best, to me, I wouldn’t mind trying it, especially since the graphic design is so nice. The wine aspects are very much downplayed, on the main display panel. The UPC-side label makes it clear that the product is RED WINE INFUSED WITH COLD BREW COFFEE. E. & J. Gallo’s approval for this wine is here.

Gallo’s press release says the product is rolling out April 1st, and it’s no joke; Apothic’s winemaker said:

Last year during the long hours of harvest, I joined the cold brew craze myself. … Quickly, I realized that many of the characteristics in cold brew coffee and red wine naturally complement each other. This led us to experiment with a few blends, eventually leading to the seamless creation of Apothic Brew, which brings together red fruit notes and subtle mocha essences of cold brew.

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Trumpy Libations

This is not quite the Trump Vodka of yore, but it is quite Trumpy nonetheless. Don’t you think so?

The whiskey on the left is America First Whiskey, approved for a DSP in San Marcos, California. I believe I see some sharks and monster trucks to go along with the tanks, jets, and deltoids. I found a discussion about the goals for this label, and it appears that the designer nailed it:  “We want people who love Donald Trump and the idea of “Make America Great Again” to look at this logo and say ‘Hell yes! That’s the whiskey I want!'” They also considered throwing in some fanny packs, and a T-Rex — but perhaps that would go too far. The bottler proclaimed:  “We’re [making a whiskey for Americans]  interested in Freedom, beards, rifles, explosions, The US Constitution, military/veterans, and reflecting on how badass Donald Trump is.”

The wine, on the right, is branded as Make America Grape Again, American Red Wine. It is bottled by Azari Winery of Petaluma, California.

And then there is Covfefe, with no less than six related label approvals:

  1. Artisanal Covfefe Stout
  2. Imperialist Pig Covfefe Stout
  3. Covfefe Merlot
  4. Covfefe Red
  5. Saugatuck Covfefe Ale
  6. ………………….and…………………………..the first one out of the gate is Surly Covfefe Beer (approved June 7, 2017, just a few days after the infamous tweet of May 31, 2017)

In addition, there are no less than 38 trademark applications including the term COVFEFE.

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Nutritious, Vitamin Wine

This deftly navigates the differences between FDA and TTB rules. If it had a little more alcohol, or a different type of alcohol, at least these 5 noted things probably would not fly.

  1. So far as we know, TTB does not allow electrolyte references on alcohol beverage labels.
  2. Nor does TTB allow vitamin references.
  3. From time to time in the past TTB has frowned upon prominent refresh claims on the grounds that they may imply therapeutic value.
  4. As of this writing it does not appear that TTB is ok with GMO claims.
  5. Finally, I would bet money against TTB allowing this term (nutritious).

All these claims are possible, and not suicidal, because the product is wine based, and under 7% alc./vol., such that FDA has full control over the labeling, while TTB retains control of the taxation and formula. The front label mentions that it’s a wine specialty, as here.

If this were 7% or more, TTB would probably require something a lot more descriptive than “Wine Specialty,” and would not allow this 12 ounce size, and would also require ABV to be spelled out. The product is Coco Cocktail, and there is no TTB label approval to which to point.

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Hillary on a Wine Label; Donald on Beer

With only two days to go until the second Presidential Debate, Trump and Clinton are clearly on everyone’s mind. Including the beer and wine companies shown above.

The Trump-inspired Blonde Ale label is from 5 Rabbit Cerveceria of Bedford Park, Illinois. It leaves no doubt they are not Trump fans. It says: “STOP THE HATE,” “CHINGA TU PELO” (look it up), “We decided to take a stand against racism,” “BULLIES AREN’T LEADERS.” Frank would love to have a can of this in time for the big event.

The Clinton-inspired Chardonnay label is from Scotto Family Cellars of Lodi, California. They have a couple types, and six approvals. We did not find any Trump-related labels at this company. Perhaps it would infringe on this.

Both seem to be real products and TTB apparently approves of both messages.

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