|[July 02, 2014]
Noted American Wine Regions Join Forces to Protest ICANN's Release of .wine and .vin Domain Names
ST. HELENA, Calif. --(Business Wire)--
Seven noted American wine regions have banded together in opposition to
the rights-to-the-highest-bidder release of generic top level domain
names (gTLDs) such as .wine and .vin by the Internet Corporation for
Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The regional wine organizations that
are driving the opposition include the Oregon Winegrowers Association
(545 wineries), the Napa Valley Vintners (500 wineries), Sonoma County
Vintners (230 wineries), Willamette Valley Wineries Association (200
wineries), Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance (160 wineries), the Santa
Barbara County Vintners' Association (150 wineries), the Walla Walla
Wine Alliance (75 wineries) and the Long Island Wine Council (48
These seven organizations, which collectively represent nearly 2,000
wineries, are voicing strong objections to the issuing of the .wine and
.vin gTLDs, citing non-existent to grossly insufficient safeguards from
illegitimate companies hijacking the history of fine winemaking in
America and the rigorous, multi-generational efforts that have gone into
creating, promoting and protecting quality winemaking regions across the
ICANN was established in the early days of the Internet to direct Web
traffic to the correct servers and websites.
If granted to unscrupulous bidders, second-level domain names such as
napavalley.wine or wallawalla.wine could be held in perpeuity by a
company or individual that has never seen a vineyard, cultivated fine
wine grapes or made a single bottle of wine.
"When it comes to fine wine, the distinctive expression of place matters
a great deal," noted Tom Danowski, executive director for the Oregon
Winegrowers Association. "The importance of protecting the quality
reputations of our fine winegrowing regions is what concerns us about
ICANN's recent action on domain names such as .wine or .vin. Fine wine
consumers could be deceived into believing that they are visiting a
website associated with a genuine product exhibiting the specific
qualities and unique characteristics of a growing region, when they are
in fact being influenced by an imitator who happened to be the highest
bidder for that particular domain name."
Citing the potential for consumer confusion and possible negative
economic impact on the American fine wine industry, members of Congress,
including Mike Thompson of California's 5th District and Anna G. Eshoo,
of California's 18th District have appealed to both ICANN and the U.S.
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to
delay or permanently stop the issuing of these domain names.
Of special concern in these discussions is an incorrect and misleading
statement by the NTIA's senior telecommunications policy advisor and
U.S. advisor to ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee, Suzanne Radell,
that it is "just three U.S. wineries out of thousands and thousands"
that are objecting to issuing of the .wine and .vin gTLDs while
addressing ICAAN's public meetings held in London last week. The
coalition of American quality wine regions representing nearly 2,000
U.S. wineries clearly contradicts Radell's testimony in London on June
The Oregon Winegrowers Association, Napa Valley Vintners, Sonoma County
Vintners, Willamette Valley Wineries Association, Paso Robles Wine
Country Alliance, Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association, Walla
Walla Wine Alliance and the Long Island Wine Council are also
signatories of the Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin,
founded in 2005.
About the Napa Valley Vintners
The Napa Valley Vintners nonprofit trade association has been
cultivating excellence for 70 years by inspiring its 500 members to
produce consistent quality wines, provide environmental leadership and
care for the extraordinary place they call home. Learn more at napavintners.com.
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