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February 25, 2010


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Re: Why are we still using "Champagne"?

One of the two "Champagne" hold-outs you mention is reportedly (finally) going to delete that word from their labels. You are absolutely right in saying that using that term is insulting to today's wine drinkers. It's an incredibly stupid thing to be self-righteous about.

"Champagne" isn't the only thing that I dislike seeing on labels in New York (there are some down here to still use it too btw).

"Port" is another one.

Actually Peter, didn't you use it on a wine in the past? I don't know if you still make it or not.

We are trying hard to come up with a term that connotes Port without using the word itself...any suggestions? Sweet Red Fortified Dessert Wine, anyone?


"Red Cigar Wine" comes to mind. Although, I like Tom's boat idea - for suggesting the wine formerly known as Port, you would have to more accurately call it "Boat Passenger Seat".

Tom, Thanks for covering the event for the NYCR team.

Peter, a fair point...it's not as though there is a "sparkling wine" fallback position for Port the way there is for Champagne.

Perhaps a brand name with "Port-style" somewhere on the back label? Or just "Tawny" or "Ruby"? Those are styles rather than place-names so maybe they are better?

Starboard has been done already, by Quady, an outstanding dessert wine producer in CA.

I think we cheapen ourselves when we can't muster the imagination to name our products without stealing someone else's work or reputation, convenient as it may be, logical as it may be. Childish, made-up terms like Meritage may be difficult to swallow, but they are at least our own - and displays respect for the Bordeaux wines they imitate.

Some day soon maybe, a red sweet fortified dessert wine will be called "Ruby Seneca". Maybe someday it will be called that by a producer in Uruguay attempting to capitalize on a NY producer's success and quality.

I hope so!

Jim - I agree on all points, with the exception of your using the word "childish." Not sure what is childish about the name "Meritage."

Everyone likes a good portmanteau.   Oops,  I mean sweet red fortified dessert wine-manteau.

Made up words are childish to me, nothing more than that. Strangely cobbling together "Merit" and "Heritage" into a faux-french-ish sounding term is silly. (Silly, but now understood by most us I acknowledge.) I even feel weird saying it. (Do you say it "meri-tajzhh" or anglicize it?)

Maybe its because I remember the magazine write-in contest that coined and created the term.

Did you know you have to pay to use the word? That should be enough to inspire anyone to find their own words!

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