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Gallo Winery: Corporate Bully

2009 April 28

Gallo PastaIf you haven’t read by now on Nancy Leson’s Seattle Times blog post, E. & J. Gallo Winery (pronounced GAL-oh) is suing the owner of The Spanish Table for carrying a Spanish brand of pasta called Gallo (pronounced GUY-oh) produced by Commercial Gallo, S.A. of Barcelona. Now when you walk into the Seattle store, they have a sign posted by the Gallo Fideuá Pasta that reads,

When Fideuá is outlawed, only outlaws will have Fideuá

This is so beyond ridiculous that I’m surprised the district court didn’t throw this out as wasteful and frivolous. Oh, wait. What am I saying? This is the U.S. legal system and our imfamous tort laws. Never mind the fact that the product is from outside the U.S. and that gallo is Spanish for rooster which is plainly shown on the packaging. So what’s next? Is Gallo Winery going to start suing people who have Gallo as their family name? Will Spanish speakers need to pay a royalty to the winery for talking about roosters?

Doesn’t Gallo Winery’s retired overzealous lawyer have anything better to do than bully a small Seattle retailer and one of my favorite Spanish wine stores? I can honestly say that I haven’t bought a Gallo brand wine since I was in high school and even then I didn’t “buy” it. I doubt that anyone who reads my blog is someone who would actually buy Gallo wines anyway, but I say we do something equally American: let’s boycott Gallo wines and contact the winery in protest of their petty actions against The Spanish Table’s owner, Steve Winston. Or you can take it even further (I’m not condoning this) and download this PDF for some guerrilla tactics.

Watch out Steve, R. J. Reynolds may be the next to knock on your door for using one of their cigarette brands as your last name.

For reference, here are Gallo’s wine and spirit brands:

Barefoot Bubbly®
Bartles & Jaymes®
Bella Sera®
Black Swan®
Boone’s Farm®
Bridlewood® Estate Winery
Carlo Rossi®
Cask & Cream®
Clarendon Hills
Dancing Bull®
Don Miguel Gascon
E. & J. ® VS Brandy
E. & J. ® VSOP Brandy
E. & J. ® XO Brandy
Ecco Domani®
Frei Brothers®
Gallo® Family Vineyard Estate
Gallo® Family Vineyard Single Vineyard
Gallo® Family Vineyard Sonoma Reserve®
Gallo® Family Vineyard Twin Valley®
Ghost Pines®
Indigo Hills®
Liberty Creek®
Livingston Cellars®
Louis M. Martini®
MacMurray Ranch®
Martĩn Cõdax®
Maso Canali®
Mattie’s Perch®
New Amsterdam® Gin
Peter Vella®
Pölka Dot®
Rancho Zabaco®
Red Bicyclette®
Redwood Creek®
Red Rock Winery®
Tisdale Vineyards®
Turning Leaf®
Turning Leaf® Sonoma Reserve
William Hill Estate TM
Wild Vines®
Wycliff® Sparkling

Copyright © 2009, Eric Hwang and Bricks of Wine. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eric Hwang and Bricks of Wine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Steve Winston permalink
    May 2, 2009

    The Spanish Table is a trademark holder. We have no argument with trademark protection. Our issue is whether specialty food retailers should have access to legitimate, established foreign brands. Pastas Gallo’s brand dates to 1874. Gallo Wine is the junior mark having only been used since 1933. What The Spanish Table offers our customers is genuineness: Genuine flavors, bona fide ingredients, authentic brands. Pastas Gallo fideo meets those criteria.
    – Steve Winston, Owner, The Spanish Table

  2. Eric Hwang permalink*
    May 2, 2009

    Thanks, Steve, for answering a question I had as I was writing this. I wondered who had the Gallo brand first but was more interested in why a big established U.S. winery would even be picking on a little guy like The Spanish Table to begin with and how this issue was even brought to their attention. It’s not like people would ever mistake one brand for the other, nor do I think it would even dilute the Gallo wine brand. I just think it’s so petulant of E. & J. Gallo to take this issue to court. It only reinforces my disdain for big corporations. Boycott Gallo wines! (Guess I won’t be getting any wine samples from them.)

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