CA Supreme Court Issues Decision on Bronco's Petition for Review: Denied
8/24/2005 - St. Helena, Calif. - Napa Valley Vintners were excited to learn late today that the California Supreme Court has denied an appeal to review a decision by the California Court of Appeal, clearing yet another hurdle in their fight to enact a "truth in labeling" law originally passed by the state legislature in 2000.
In May, the lower court ruled in favor of Napa Valley Vintners, who have been engaged in a lengthy legal battle with wine conglomerate Bronco Wine Company over the labeling law, which requires any wine with the word "Napa" on the label to contain Napa wine in the bottle. The law was passed by the California legislature in 2000, but has been held up in court by persistent legal action on behalf of the wine giant.
"Today marks another significant, consecutive victory for winemakers and consumers with respect to truth in labeling," said Linda Reiff, executive director of the Napa Valley Vintners. "We believe that if it says Napa on the label, it better be Napa in the bottle; and the California Supreme Court's decision not to hear this case seems to confirm that."
Today's decision significantly narrows the options available for the wine conglomerate and moves the case into the final phase of appeals. It is expected that Bronco will file a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court in the next 90 days.
Bronco filed the initial case in 2000 following passage of a California state law sponsored by Senator Wesley Chesbro and Assemblywoman Patricia Wiggins that would prohibit the use of brand names with the word Napa if the wine in the bottle did not meet minimum federal labeling requirements.
In the initial case before the California Court of Appeal, three justices sided with Bronco regarding one specific issue -- federal preemption. The NVV and the State appealed that ruling to the California Supreme Court which overturned the lower court decision and ruled unanimously that the state law was not preempted by federal law. Bronco appealed this decision to the high court, and in March of 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case, clearing the way for oral argument in the lower court on the remaining three issues of free speech, interstate commerce, and takings.
Noted Constitutional Law expert Kathleen Sullivan made arguments on behalf of the vintners in April, and the State of California requested that the California Court of Appeal rule on all the remaining issues simultaneously.
Contact: Contact: Cessa Beckett 707-963-3388