What's in a name?

May 31, 2012

Sometimes in life there are things that are not as they seem. For example you would imagine that a wine with the words “Grant Burge” on the label would either be made by someone of the same name, or at least that they'd be involved to some extent or another. Generally speaking, this is true.

Imagine you are the financial muscle behind a wine big brand, let's say “Nicolas Potel” for example. You want to make the best financial return possible, every year. Your winemaker, the eponymous Mr Potel, disagrees, he wants to make the best wine every year, regardless of financial return. An impasse is has been reached and Mr Potel decides to leave your company. As a businessperson you could be forgiven for believing yourself to be up the creek, but not to worry, you can just keep quiet and put Nicolas Potel on the bottle anyway, arguing it's a brand owned by your company.

The problem arises when Mr Potel decides to go and work for another company and make wine for them. All of a sudden, the reputation of his name which, for the sake of argument lets say has been built up over two generations, is in the hands of someone else, and he can't use his own name for his new wines.

If you haven't figured it out yet, this is not so much a hypothetical example as a reasonably accurate summation of the facts and this puts the consumer in a difficult position, because nobody is shouting abut this. Large wholesalers are buying wines with Nicolas Potel and passing these still quite good wines off as the work of a man who since 2007 has had no part in making them. There are one or two other instances of this sort of thing occurring but on the whole it's rare.

If you're interested at all, Nicolas Potel (the man) now has his own vineyards at Domaine de Bellene in Beaune and is making great wines off his own back once more!

 

 





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