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US winemakers rebel against their government

Kevin Murphy, July 3, 2014, 12:26:56 (UTC), Domain Policy

Groups representing thousands of US winemakers have come out against .wine and .vin, bringing their government’s position on the two proposed new gTLDs into question.
Seven regional associations, representing close to 2,000 wineries, issued a statement last night raising “strong objections” to the gTLDs with “non-existent to grossly insufficient safeguards”.
The joint statement says:

If granted to unscrupulous bidders, second-level domain names such as or could be held in perpetuity by a company or individual that has never seen a vineyard, cultivated fine wine grapes or made a single bottle of wine.

It’s the first mass objection from US winemakers, but they join colleagues from France, Spain and other European Union nations in their opposition to a .wine that does not respect geographic indicators (GIs).
It also makes the US delegation to ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee look rather out of touch with the very companies it professes to be looking out for.
At the ICANN 50 meeting in London last week, US rep Suzanne Radell told the GAC:

The three U.S. wineries that our colleagues in Europe have cited as being privy to the exchanges between the European wine industries and the applicants are, in fact, just three U.S. wineries. If I may emphasize, the United States has thousands and thousands of wineries who are quite interested in this matter and do not support the European model of GI protection. So let’s just please put that to bed.

The US winery groups now objecting comprise almost 2,000 wineries. According to Wikipedia, the US has fewer than 3,000 wineries.
We’re looking at a two-thirds majority objection from the US wine-making industry here.
“The coalition of American quality wine regions representing nearly 2,000 U.S. wineries clearly contradicts Radell’s testimony in London on June 22,” the groups said.
The groups also have Californian congresspeople Anna Eshoo and Mike Thompson on their side. As we reported yesterday, Eshoo has already written to ICANN to urge it to kill off .wine.
The big questions are: will this be enough to change the position the US takes to the GAC in future, and will that help the GAC find consensus on advice?
Australia and Canada have also been vocal opponents of the European demands in the past. They’d need to change their minds too, in order for the GAC to find a new consensus.
Without a GAC consensus, the .wine and .vin applicants have little to worry about.

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Comments (10)

  1. Acro says:

    The definition of a US winery: 100 sq.ft. of vines with GMO infused French varieties and a fancy wine-tasting open house every weekend.
    The French, at least, are worried about their brands.

  2. Acro says:

    I understand the controversies behind .Amazon and .Patagonia but the w(h)inefest is getting old.

  3. Andrew says:

    Lots of industries in the U.S. want protections. It’s the U.S. government’s role to tell them to go shove it.
    Two different groups representing many of the same California wineries have put out different views on .wine and .vin:

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      You mean like how USG always tells the pharmaceuticals, insurance, oil, banking and firearms industries to go shove it?

      • Andrew says:

        They should tell them to shove it. Lobbying dollars count.

        • Rubens Kuhl says:

          Fact is they don’t. Here at non-US countries we always get USG lobbying on behalf of the industries Kevin mentioned for issues relates to brands and intelectual property.

          • John Berryhill says:

            The weird thing about whomever got these US wine groups riled up is that the reason the US doesn’t, in general, support protections for French geo/wine names is at the behest of US winemakers in the first place. Somebody needs to tell the remaining US makers of “Champagne” that their own trade group is undercutting them.

  4. Volker says:

    Sounds to me a clearly defineable community neglected to engage in the objection process. Would have probably saved a lot of lobbying expenses and time.

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