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Wine Spectator: Constellation Brands Prevails in To Kalon Dispute

February 9, 2021

Can you trademark terroir? In the case of Napa’s most famous vineyard, a federal court has ruled yes. U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has ruled in favor of Constellation Brands in a suit filed by Jeremy Nickel, owner of The Vineyard House, dismissing his claim that he is entitled to use the To Kalon Vineyard name on his wines based on the location of his Oakville winery and vineyards.

Following a virtual trial, Gonzalez Rogers issued a ruling January 26 that Nickel did not paint a clear picture of whether his land was once used by Hamilton Walker Crabb for grapegrowing and was considered part of the original To Kalon Vineyard. She found that evidence was weak that Nickel’s land, once called “the Baldridge Property,” had been planted with vines during Crabb’s lifetime.

Reviewing probate records from just after Crabb’s death, the judge wrote, “The evidence overwhelmingly confirms that [Crabb] did not [plant a vineyard on the Baldridge property], at least not with any commercial value.” Wine Spectator the full story.—Aaron Romano

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