Great Niche Wine Blogging About COLA

Recession
In the wine industry we have something called, ironically, a COLA: Certificate of Label Approval. It’s issued by the Feds for every label that is in the American Market. There are thousands labels sent to the TTB for approval each year. The TTB issues guidelines as to what is allowed and not allowed on a label for an alcoholic beverage, how large certain type must be, etc.

There is a fascinating and insightful new blow that monitors the labels that have been approved by the Feds and calls attention to those labels that are interesting, indicative of trends and highlight particular policies the TTB has put in place.

BEVLOG, the new blog maintained by the Alcohol Law Firm Lehrman Beverage Law is fascinating!

For example, in THIS POST, Bevlog highlights the rush by a three different wineries to try to take advantage of the recession many believe the U.S. has fallen into. Bevlog reports:

Three out of three West Coast vintners agree it’s a recession.  Of these, The Ross Valley Winery (of San Anselmo, CA) was first, with TTB approval on May 6, 2008. Concannon Vineyards (of Livermore, CA) was second, with approval on June 3, 2008. TTB approved the label for Woods Lake Winery (of Woodinville, WA) on October 2, 2008.

This tends to show the common,
simultaneous rush to grab onto a promising new trend. It also raises
the question of how US trademark law would or should handle several
wineries embracing one brand name at about the same time.

BevLog only began publishing in late September but already they’ve given us a lot to think about. The authors are not merely showing us pictures of newly approved labels, but they are demonstrating how labels meant to hit the American market are in fact commentaries on the American culture, American politics, and how they respond to controversies, rules and regulations concerning the alcohol beverage industry.

BevLog is also a PERFECT example of a great niche blog inside the wine blogging community. They will attract a relatively small audience. However, they will be serving that audience like nobody else has or has imagined to this point. For the record, it’s much easier demonstrate expertise within a niche than in a broad category. BevLog makes this point in spades. This blog is one of the best additions to my blog reader in a long, long time.

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5 Responses

  1. Dylan - October 16, 2008

    Exciting niche and effort to capitalize on a market trend. I only wonder if Ross Valley Winery felt cheated by the other label which is identical in name and design. It even has the same amount of “peaks” on the crash down (3).

  2. JohnLopresti - October 16, 2008

    There used to be a wine advertized by a low budget banner in a county up north called Impeachment Red, it weathered several politically scandal ridden years, and applied to several politicians’ travails in office, but I notice the place seems to have renamed it something like Corpulence Red now. http://www.milanowinery.com/wines/

  3. Dale Cruse - October 17, 2008

    I’ve been reading that site as well lately and enjoy it. Interesting stuff!

  4. Denise - October 17, 2008

    Interesting that TTB would approve multiple labels with the same name (and 2 with nearly identical designs) from different producers…however unless Ross had a trademark, there is no legal recourse to stop the other 2 copycats.
    Has anyone tried the wines – is there a clear winner here?

  5. Wineguy - October 17, 2008

    In the 1980’s a Santa Barbara winery, J Carey (no longer in business) produced a wine called “Recession Red.” Dr. Carey was a local Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for local office. In response Brooks Firestone, a Republican who ran successfully for State Assembly and (later) County Supervisor, produced “Recovery White”.


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