Napa Valley winemakers have won a victory in their battle to protect the geographic origin of their wines.

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court unanimously overturned a lower court decision that blocked enforcement of a recent California law designed to prevent winemakers using the word Napa on their wines unless their grapes originate from the area.
 
"This decision strengthens the integrity of US wine labelling, and affirms the wine consumers' right to know the true origin of the wines they enjoy," a statement from the Napa Valley Vintners said.

In 2000, California passed a law originating from legislation brought forward by the Napa Valley Vintners. The law attempted to close a loophole in wine labeling regulations.

"The basis of the Napa Valley Vintners position is simple: a wine label should not suggest the grapes come from Napa unless they really do. The appropriate use of a geographic name is not only a matter of consumer protection, but also an expectation of quality," the statement said.
 
"We're pleased that the courts concurred with our position," said Linda Reiff, executive director, Napa Valley Vintners. "This decision reaffirms what we have contended all along -- that labelling wines with the Napa Valley name without Napa Valley grapes is wrong. Those who engage in this practice have been put on notice. This ruling upholds the rights of consumers."

However, the statement noted that this is only one round in an ongoing fight to protect the Napa Valley name. The case now goes back to the Court of Appeal for hearing on other issues.