The Oregon Senate passed three bills on April 17, 2019, designed to protect the brand identity and labeling of Oregon pinot noir wines and the AVAs where the grapes are grown.
Oregon laws are specific about wine labels. If a label claims or implies that it is from an American Viticultural Area (AVA) within Oregon, 95 percent of the grapes must be from that appellation of origin. Controversy arose last year when a California winery listed three regions—Willamette, Umpqua, and Rogue valleys—on their pinot noir labels, implying that their wines were made in Oregon. That raised the ire of Oregon winemakers, and caught the attention of Oregon lawmakers.
Senate Bills 829, 830, and 831 received bipartisan support, and were sponsored by Senator Mark Hass (D-Beaverton), Representative Ronald Noble (R-McMinnville), and House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland). All three bills passed the Senate with 26-4 margins and are expected to get House approval.
SB 829 is related to brand protection. It states in part, "Prohibits use of American viticultural area on wine label in manner resembling brand."
SB 830 states that if a wine labeled with an Oregon AVA and labeled with single grape variety as type designation, the wine must meet specified content requirements.
SB 831 further strengthens labeling, requiring wine using Oregon AVAs as appellation of origin or implying the AVA as the source must be produced entirely from grapes grown in that AVA.
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