Jamieson Ranch Vineyards Keeps Disputed Name

Napa winery and maker of Jameson Irish Whiskey drop legal battle over brand names

by Jim Gordon
jamieson ranch
Jamieson Ranch Vineyards will get to keep its name after settling with the makers of Jameson Irish Whiskey.
Napa, Calif.—The legal dispute between California’s Jamieson Ranch Vineyards and the maker of Jameson Irish Whiskey regarding their similar names has been settled, according to Bill Leigon, president of Jamieson Ranch. He said the settlement came after Jamieson gave assurances that it is not in the spirits business and does not plan to be.

Leigon declined to reveal the details of the settlement. “What I can say is that we are happy it’s settled, and they are happy, too,” he told Wines & Vines. Jamieson Ranch is the fourth name the property has had since 2009. It sits along California Highway 12, in a section named Jameson Canyon Road, and produces 20,000 cases of wine primarily under the names of Whiplash, Light Horse and Reata labels. The company owns 90 acres of vineyard property.

The dispute began Feb. 25, when Irish Distillers Ltd., the maker of Jameson and a subsidiary of Pernod Ricard, sent a cease-and-desist letter to the winery about the brand name, saying the use of a name so similar would confuse consumers. Jamieson’s owner responded with a declaratory judgment suit against Irish Distillers. Irish Distillers then countered with the charge of trademark infringement in July 2014.

The winery was founded as Kirkland Ranch, and when Madison Capital became the owner in 2009, the name was changed first to Valley Gate, and later Reata. When Leigon, formerly of Hahn Family Wines and J. Lohr, took over as president in early 2013, he said it was a high priority to give the winery a name that placed it geographically and made the winery’s story simpler to tell. 

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