This week’s wine news: Meet the flat wine bottle, plus one more yummy wine lawsuit and trying to define artisan wine
• Bottle of the future? How about a 750 ml plastic wine bottle, made from 100 percent recycled material and is flat enough to slide through a mail slot? The Wine Curmudgeon is beside himself with excitement. “I was surprised by how little the wine bottle had changed in the last 200 years,” Santiago Navarro told Wine Business International magazine. His goal: Find a bottle better suited to home delivery and that would interest younger wine consumers. The article reports that the bottle is lightweight and environmentally friendly — and it didn’t break when dropped more than four feet onto a tiled floor.
• Bring on the attorneys! Regular visitors here know how much fun the WC gets from wine lawsuits, and this one is even better than most. JaM Cellars, which makes Butter Chardonnay, has filed a series of lawsuits against The Wine Group, which makes Franzia Bold & Jammy cabernet sauvignon and Rich & Buttery chardonnay. JaM alleges that the Franzia products infringe on its trademarks and “is likely to cause consumer confusion, deception or mistake.” Where’s Shakespeare when you need him? The story in the link does a decent job of explaining a difficult subject, complete with sidebar discussing legal precdents. To me, though the best thing is that JaM has been suing other producers since 2013 to defend its trademarks. One would think that the money would be better spent improving the wine, but I’m just a cranky wine writer and not a marketing guru.
• So what is artisan? Artisan wine is one of those terms difficult to define. There is no legal standard, and Big Wine mostly uses the same production techniques as the smallest producer. And this news release, with its 40-word first sentence that is full of gibberish and jargon, doesn’t help matters much. It mostly does a mediocre job of promoting the company that says it’s going to help artisan wineries and doesn’t really say what it’s going to do to help them or what an artisan winery is. It almost makes me want to bring back the Curmudgies.