Stark Wine to Diageo’s Stark Raving Wine: Get Off Our Lawn [UPDATE]


Remember when Orson Welles used to tell us how Paul Masson would “serve no wine before its time”? In those days, it seemed like wine was only consumed by old fuddy duddies who had plenty of time to burn. Things have changed dramatically since then, of course, with lots of younger folk gravitating to vino and plenty of winemakers happy to market to them. One of them, though, has enountered a little bump in the road on the legal front.

Diageo Chateau and Estates, a subsidiary of alcoholic-beverage powerhouse Diageo, recently began marketing a wine called Stark Raving, but now it must stop advertising, promoting, distributing, and selling the stuff thanks to legal action taken by Stark Wine LLC. “We don’t want consumers to think that Stark Raving wine is made by Stark Wine as Diageo floods the market with its Stark Raving wine,” according to Stark Wine’s press release. The company is “pleased with this initial victory and is glad to have Diageo’s Stark Raving wine out of its backyard.”

Update: Diageo points out that received a limited preliminary injunction to stop the sale of Stark Raving wines only in Sonoma County, CA, so Stark Raving wine is not completely off the market. A company spokesperson commented:

While we would have preferred that the court not issue this limited preliminary injunction, we are pleased that our Stark Raving wines will continue to be sold nationally except in Sonoma County.  We will comply with the Court’s order, and we are confident that we will prevail in the end.

In the meantime, Diageo will just have to settle for all the cash it makes from Guinness, Red Stripe, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Popov, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Baileys, and the slew of other beer, wine, and liquor brands it owns.