New calling for port
By Dave BuchananA handful of Colorado winemakers who in the past have included a Port in their offerings are struggling to find another name for that sweet, fortified wine because they no longer can call it Port. True Port, of course, comes only from, and is named for, the Duoro Valley in Portugal. That similar to real Champagne coming from that region in France and Chianti from the Tuscany region of Italy. Americans have never been shy about borrowing well-known place names to identify different products. Remember Gallo's "Hearty Burgundy?' Recently, though, Europeans have begun taking some umbrage at our free-for-all stealing of well-known landmarks and last year a treaty of sorts between the U.S. and the European Union was signed allowing U.S. winemakers to continue to sell their juice in Europe in exchange for no long using place names on U.S.-made wines. Goodbye domestic Champagne, Chablis, Sherry, and others, a total of 16 such labelings. Some U.S. wineries are allowed to use those names through a "grandfather" ruling if they registered their wines prior to March, 2006. Which means several local wineries have to find something else to name what otherwise would be a Port. "I had a lady buy a bottle of our dessert wine and later call us to say she thought she was buying a Port," said Nancy Janes of Whitewater Hill Vineyards on 32 Road. "I assured her she bought the right bottle." Janes calls her Port-like wine Crag Crest Grand Valley Dessert Wine, but she knows that consumers have whole lot of learning to do to differentiate her Port-style wine from the more-familiar sweet dessert wines. Davy Price of DeBeque Canyon Winery in Palisade also faces similar challenges, although she said recently that since they've been making Port for four years, they might be OK under the agreement. "We still have a lot of wine in bottles but it's been bottled quite while," said Price. "We hope to use our bottling date as confirmation that we produced this before the changes." Davy and husband Bennett, two of the pioneers of Colorado's wine industry, face similar restrictions about their use of the term "Claret."