Napa Valley Name Protection

NVV has assumed the duty of preserving the Napa Valley name for those who have earned the right to put it on their labels.

In wine, location is the key ingredient. In fact, each bottle showcases an authentic characteristic of the soil, climate and temperature of the region, and the uniqueness of local growers and winemakers. When you pick a wine from Napa Valley it means something to you. The words Napa Valley represent more than a name. They denote a specific wine growing place.

That's why, the NVV has worked diligently and proactively for more than 70 years to preserve and protect the Napa Valley and prevent consumer confusion. It's why we support other quality wine regions around the world with similar efforts. When the location of a wine's true place of origin is misrepresented, consumers are misled and the sanctity of all quality wine regions is undermined.

Our goal is simple: a wine label should not suggest the grapes come from Napa unless they really do.

In 2000 the NVV successfully sponsored state legislation that requires any brand using the name Napa, or any of the names of appellations wholly contained within Napa County, to qualify at minimum for the Napa County appellation of origin. The regulation is a natural adjunct to the state law enacted in 1990 that requires Napa Valley to be used on the label in conjunction with any of the appellations wholly contained within Napa Valley.

In late 2000, Bronco Wine Company filed a lawsuit challenging the new state law. The procedural rules in California provide that a party with a strong interest in a matter before the courts can intervene and become a party to the lawsuit. After the hard-won battle to get the legislation signed into law, the Napa Valley Vintners Board of Directors decided to intervene in the court case to allow it to take part in the defense of the statute.

The case made its way through the California court system, with the State Supreme Court ultimately upholding the Napa Name Law in 2005. Bronco appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which did not hear the case. The law was upheld, becoming a major victory not only for Napa Valley, but also for wine consumers.

Wine Origins AllianceWhile the case was making its way through the court, in 2005, we helped to establish the Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin. Renamed the Wine Origins Alliance, the Alliance works collaboratively to ensure wine place names are protected and not abused or miscommunicated to consumers. Napa Valley is proud to join with Barossa, Bordeaux, Bourgogne/Chablis, British Columbia, Champagne, Chianti Classico, Finger Lakes, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, Livermore Valley, Long Island, McLaren Vale, Missouri, Monterey, Oregon, Paso Robles, Porto, Rhone, Rioja, Santa Barbara County, Seneca Lake, Sonoma County, South Africa, Texas, Tokaj, Victoria, Walla Walla Valley, Washington state, Willamette Valley, Western Australia and Yamanashi.

While we may be competitors in the global marketplace, we all agree that each region is unique and produces wines impossible to duplicate anywhere else. It's simple: when it comes to wine, location matters. We urge you to join us in looking carefully at all wine labels and ensuring that you know where your wines come from. For more information, visit or follow the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

In recent years the NVV has joined forces with other organizations that share the common belief that place names need to be respected, including the Organization for an International Geographical Indications Network (OriGIn) and the American Origin Products Association.

In response to infringements upon the Napa name internationally, the NVV has worked directly with governmental agencies from around the world to protect the Napa brand. Napa Valley was the first non-European Union product of any kind to receive Geographical Indication (GI) Protection in the EU in 2007. In 2012, the NVV was the first wine region in the world to receive GI status in mainland China. Other countries that have extended official name protection to Napa Valley include Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

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