The Theft of a Noun
I suppose there is probably no possibility that the term "Port" will be removed from the list of placenames that the U.S. and he European Union have agreed will not be used on products originating from the States. What a shame too, because this term, Port, really shouldn’t not be on such a list alongside the likes of "Burgundy", "Champagne", or Bordeaux.
I was reminded of this mistake made by America’s trade negotiators when I came across this article in the Santa Barbara Independent.
Alistair Bland of the Independent describes the salient point made by David Hopkins of Bridlewood Winery:
"Other regional names deserve protection, says winemaker David Hopkins
of Bridlewood Winery near Los Olivos. Burgundy, for example, is a
recognizable name that describes not so much a wine style as it
describes its exclusive place of origin.But port, he argues, is a winemaker’s style that can be and is made
virtually anywhere. Moreover, fortified red dessert wines, regardless
of where they were made, depend upon the term “port” as a crucial point
of marketing leverage."
It would be one thing to protect the term "Oporto". But stopping all others from using a term that is descriptive of character, rather than descriptive of origin, is really nothing more than the theft of a noun when the concern should be with proper nouns.
The agreement on placements between the EU and the U.S. allows those who used the noun "Port" on their bottles prior to the agreement to continue to use them. This is at least a head fake toward reason and commonsense.
International trade agreements are tricky business I presume. They are the ultimate exercise of the pursuit of self interest. There at least should be commonsense standards applied or protected when these agreements are negotiated.
For an opposite view of this issue, see the Center For Wine Origins.