We’re feeling very confused as to why people are so pissed about the newly passed conjunctive labeling law in Sonoma County (AB 1798). Unless we’re missing something big, it seems the law will help consumers understand California wine regions better than they do now -- and how can that be bad?
We have many customers who swear by California wine but they couldn't tell you if Dry Creek is in Sonoma County, Santa Barbara ― or Australia for that matter. Having a sense of where the wine is from not only increases general awareness and appreciation but perhaps more travelers will visit Sonoma instead of thinking that "Wine Country" only applies to Napa.
In our experience, the majority of non wine industry people and people who do not live in the Bay Area do not know the precise layout of the different California appellations. Instead of diluting their brand, as some producers seem to be claiming, adding "Sonoma County" based on conjunctive labeling will at least teach consumers that Russian River Valley, Dry Creek, Knights Valley, etc. are in Sonoma County. Many people are familiar with AVAs that fall within Napa County, for example Rutherford and Oakville, so why not the same recognition for Sonoma?
We certainly understand that the cost implications of changing wine labels to add “Sonoma County” by 2014 as decreed by the government is frustrating, particularly for small wineries. However, this does not appear to be the principal argument from most dissenters.
Here are some reference blogs for our readers that wish to learn more about the AB 1798 law:
Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog
We'd like to understand this issue better so, please educate us! Thanks...