Thursday, May 10, 2007

Oregon wine labeling

The federal law requires wine to contain a minimum of 75 percent of the grape that is on the label. To differentiate themselves from the Northern California wineries, the state of Oregon enacted their own more stringent labeling requirements that states a wine must contain a minimum of 90 percent of the grape that is on the label. This has been long held as a competitive advantage for Oregon wineries - seen as the leaders in the industry for pure brands.

Now the wineries from Southern and Eastern Oregon are petitioning the Oregon Liquor Control Commission for rule changes that would give them more options for making blended wines. This has caused a divide between Oregon wineries since some do not want any changes to be made to the current labeling requirements.

Which is better for business? Should the Oregonians maintain the strictest standards and build on the reputation as a pure wine market or should they opt for more loss requirements, which are in-line with the federal laws, and give the wine makers more options for making their single grape wines? Ultimately, they should focus on what will drive their business and continue to delight their customer base. Like many things in business it just might not be that simple.

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