Good news lately on the name I want to use for my commercial wine project starting with the 2009 vintage. To this point, I've called my homemade wine "Vincent." However, lots of wineries and wine labels have "Vincent" in their names. Would there be an issue? People I talked to said either "find a new name" or "no, write them a letter and see if there's a problem." Before taking the first advice, I thought I'd try the second.
So, recently I wrote letters to producers like Stephen Vincent Wines, Vincent Arroyo, and Gruet, which has a second label called Domaine St. Vincent. I stated that I am producing Oregon pinot noir starting with the 2009 vintage, may branch into other grape varities from the Pacific Northwest, and wanted to name my wine Vincent. Would they have a problem with that? If so, how did they deal with others (which I named) who have Vincent in their names.
Last week, on the same day, I got calls from Stephen Vincent and Gruet. Both were absolutely clear there would be no issue. Stephen was totally cool, even giving me some good advice about the business and offering support if I wanted it. He even mentioned that there's a Stephens (or Stevens?) wine out there. Names happen. I asked about French producers using the name Vincent, but he said there wasn't a concern there either. Gruet was clear that, as long as I didn't use "Domaine St. Vincent" there was no issue. For what it's worth, I have also talked with an Oregon producer that has a Cuvee St. Vincent and they have no issue either.
I haven't heard from Vincent Arroyo, but as of now I'm going full steam ahead with this name: Vincent Wine Company. The wine will be known as Vincent, with Vincent Wine Company being the full name. My business has a different name for legal reasons, VF Wine Company, LLC. The idea there is to keep that separate and possibly have other label along with Vincent as we grow and figure things out.
Of course, I could still hear an objection from Vincent Arroyo or who knows who else out there. But it doesn't seem likely, and I think the others' lack of objection would mean something. This shouldn't be an issue. It's a name I want. It's unique but related to some others. If someone's going to object, we'll deal with it.
So, 2009 closes with the launch of Vincent as my commercial label. Email me if you want in on my list. My first offer will be out in the late spring. First wine will be released in fall 2010. I can't wait.