Vancouver Island winery in legal battle with Loblaw Canada over local wine
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Monday, April 17, 2017 6:23PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, April 17, 2017 6:53PM PDT
The owners of a Comox Valley vineyard say they are involved in a David vs. Goliath style battle against a major Canadian retailer.
The family-run 40 Knots Vineyard and Estate Winery sells a popular local wine called "Ziggy," named after their whippet.
The dog’s name comes from a German grape used to make a fruity wine at the vineyard.
“Siegerrebe grape grows in our vineyard. It was planted in 2011 and 2012 and when we first bought the property in July of 2014, we were just amazed at what a beautiful grape and what great flavours it had,” owner Brenda Hetman-Craig said.
The business owners recently went to protect the brand with a trademark, but say the move was blocked by the supermarket giant Loblaw Canada Ltd.
“We trademarked it back in I believe it was early 2015,” she said. “It was approved and then it goes out for advertising and I believe it was sometime late in 2016 that Loblaws decided to oppose it.”
In a statement to CTV News, Loblaw says it’s protecting its trademarked brand.
“The Ziggy® brand has been registered to Loblaw for more than three decades and used on a wide range of products in our stores since 1971,” wrote Catherine Thomas, director of external communications.
But the vineyard’s owner says that’s never applied to wines and the grape battle is now in the hands of lawyers.
“Our lawyer feels very confident that we have an excellent case,” Hetman-Craig said. “We have until May 30 to show that we have indeed manufactured the product, the first day we sold the product, the advertisements and what the sales were.”
A loss would be incredibly expensive for the small company.
“Our videos on our website, our ads, having wine in stores and restaurants, it would be significant cost to us,” she said.
The Vancouver Island woman says the wine is well supported by their customers and it sells out quickly.
“It did receive recognition from the Lieutenant Governor’s Awards, it’s received a silver, it’s been scored over 90 so it is a well sought-after wine,” Hetman-Craig said.
The owners have bottled the 2014 and 2015 vintages and are gearing up to bottle the 2016 vintage in the next few weeks.
With files from CTV Vancouver Island’s Gord Kurbis