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Court Sets Trial Date to Decide Who Can Use “To-Kalon” to Describe the Source of Wine Grapes

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On February 20, 2020, the United States District Court, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers presiding, set April 20th as the trial date to determine whether The Vineyard House may include “To-Kalon” on the label of its wines. In March 2019, The Vineyard House (TVH) brought suit against Constellation Brands U.S. Operations, Inc., alleging that Constellation was preventing TVH and others from accurately used the name “To-Kalon” to describe the geographic location where the grapes in its wines were grown and TVH’s place in the historical legacy that H.W. Crabb created at his To-Kalon vineyard property.

TVH also asserts in its suit that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) should not have registered “To Kalon” as a trademark in 1988, because of the geographic significance that “To Kalon” has in Napa Valley and to the California and Napa Valley wine industry and wine trade. TVH’s suit alleges that when Robert Mondavi Winery applied for registration of the “To Kalon” mark in 1987, it fraudulently and erroneously represented to the PTO that “To Kalon” had no significance..

“To-Kalon” (Greek for “the highest beauty”), was the name famed Napa Valley winemaker H.W. Crabb gave to his 527-acre estate in 1890. Crabb helped transform the Napa Valley into a premier wine region and To-Kalon into what has for over 100 years been described repeatedly as one of the “most famous” vineyards in California, if not the world. 

“The legacy of H.W. Crabb and Crabb’s iconic To-Kalon Estate represent a specific place within Napa Valley and a unique history. Preserving the unique heritage and history that help to make Napa Valley such a special place has been a lifelong passion that my father, Gil Nickel, instilled in me. My father taught me the importance of place and history and the need to preserve that history for future generations so that they can better understand the pioneers like H.W. Crabb who forged the early history of the Napa Valley that we all love so much,” stated Jeremy Justin Nickel with The Vineyard House.

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