Meadowcroft Wines Agrees to Phase Out Sumptuary Label

Jan 25, 2010, 10:10 ET from Meadowcroft Wines

SONOMA, Calif., Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the largest American-owned spirits and wine companies in the world, Brown-Forman Company, has filed a complaint against Sonoma-based Meadowcroft Wines and in particular its "Sumptuary" label claiming it is too similar in name to Brown-Forman's "Sanctuary" label and would be confusing to consumers.

Meadowcroft Wines owner and winemaker, Tom Meadowcroft, has agreed to discontinue production of wines under the Sumptuary label to avoid any litigation. Meadowcroft Wines, established in 2003, produces some 15,000 cases of wine each year. The sole vintage produced under the Sumptuary name is the 2007 Zinfandel released in March 2009. Some 900 cases remain and it was further agreed that Brown-Forman would allow Meadowcroft to sell off its remaining stock. Meadowcroft will continue releasing wines via his three existing labels: Meadowcroft, Magito and Thomas Henry.

"Apparently corporate bullying and harassment is alive and well in the U.S.A. as witnessed by the recent activities of North Face (owned by fashion titan VF Corp.) accusing South Butt of trademark infringement," said Tom Meadowcroft. "Now comes a story from our wine industry where wine and liquor goliath Brown-Forman is accusing Meadowcroft Wines' Sumptuary label of infringement of its trademarked label, Sanctuary." Continues Tom Meadowcroft; "I am also frustrated that the U.S. Trademark office does not have more sense to uphold the rights of individuals to trademark names that are so dissimilar in meaning and intent."

The Sumptuary name, selected by Tom Meadowcroft for his new label, comes from the ancient set of laws beginning around 215 B.C. that attempted to regulate habits of consumption. Traditionally, they were laws that regulated and reinforced social hierarchies and morals through restrictions on clothing, food, luxury items as well as wine. Sumptuary laws were enacted in many countries of Europe and around the world from the Middle Ages forward. By the 20th century, democratization, industrial mass production and the rise of consumer-oriented societies all combined to render sumptuary laws obsolete in most countries.

Meadowcroft established his winery in 2003 and will continue with his three existing labels: Meadowcroft, Magito and Thomas Henry. The wines are presently distributed in 20 States as well as Canada and China.


Mike Hyland – 707/245/9559

SOURCE Meadowcroft Wines