Diageo has vowed to fight a small Oregon wine producer over the use of the Provenance Vineyards trademark.

The UK drinks giant, which owns California's Provenance Vineyards, said today (23 March) that it would "vigorously protect" its trademark rights after a vineyard owner in Oregon said he was seeking to register the name Belle Provenance Vineyard.

"Trademark law applies to large and small organisations. Its purpose is to prevent consumer confusion. Its application is not adjusted because of the relative size of the trademark owner," a Diageo North America spokesperson told just-drinks.

"Diageo owns the Provenance Vineyards trademark, for which it has made significant investment of shareholder value. We think the mark Belle Provenance Vineyard is confusingly similar to our mark. We will vigorously protect our rights to the fullest extent of the law."

However, Diageo faces a fight to protect the name. Timothy Ramey, co-owner of Belle Provenance Vineyard, said he was "amazed" that Diageo would look to claim exclusivity over the word 'provenance'.

"Provenance means origins, how something has been kept. It is in the lexicon of the wine community. Diageo is wrong to try to take our name away."

Ramey said the use of the Belle Provenance name would help the vineyard "build our name as a quality producer of Pinot Noir".

He added: "There isn't a wine lover on Earth that would think anyone could claim exclusivity for the word 'provenance' any more than they could for words like vintage or vineyard. It is a widely used term. We will fight Diageo to protect our name."