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Article | November 30, 2000
What's in a name?
European vintners have been protesting the use by their American counterparts of overseas place names, such as Burgundy, in France, or the name of European-grown grapes on their wine labels.
Now U.S. wine makers primarily in California are protesting the use of the name zinfandel on Italian-produced wines and want the Bureau of Tobacco Alcohol and Firearms to reverse its decision that allows letting the Italians to use the name. According to an U.S. trade association representing some American wine makers zinfandel is the only uniquely American wine-making grape.
Italian wines labeled "zinfandel" or "zin" are made with primitivo grapes which are related to zinfandel grapes. Italian wine makers say the grapes are so similar that the names can be used interchangeably although so far primitivo does not have the name recognition of zinfandel. California zinfandel producers now account for about 12 percent of the $18 billion U.S. wine market.
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