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Monday, March 30, 2009

Having Their Cake and Drinking it Too: 'Layer Cake' Wine Sues 'Cupcake' Label

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 6:30 AM

click to enlarge Look, even this kid can tell the difference between a layer cake and a cupcake!
  • Look, even this kid can tell the difference between a layer cake and a cupcake!
I am not a legal scholar. But I can tell you this: Never have I ever been so blitzed on the fruit of the vine that I couldn't tell a layer cake from a cupcake. But, again, I am no legal scholar -- because just such a distinction is the genesis of a 56-page copyright infringement lawsuit filed last week in San Francisco Superior Court.

One True Vine of St. Helena (which puts out the Layer Cake label) has taken umbrage with The Wine Group of Delaware, which produces a line called "Cupcake." Now, wine connoisseurs are always portrayed as a smart and discerning lot. And perhaps they are. But you won't get that from the contentions put forward in this lawsuit. In essence, One True Vine claims that oblivious oenophiles won't be able to tell Layer Cake (mid-range price, picture of "a partially sliced and decadent-looking chocolate cake" on the label) from Cupcake (low price, no picture on label, picture of a cupcake on cases).

But One True Vine's complaint doesn't stop there. The company is pissed that the Cupcake folks would dare compare their wines -- to cake. To wit, Cupcake's 2008 Sauvignon Blanc is pitched as "reminiscent of your grandmother's lemon chiffon cake." Another wine is compared to a "chocolate cherry cake" -- and One True Vine seems miffed the Cupcake folks even deign to suggest you drink their wines with cake.

Personally, I've never sipped any wine and thought "ah, cake" -- though Manischewitz Loganberry does taste an awful lot like Smucker's syrup. As for objecting to the notion of even suggesting that Cupcake wines would go well with cake -- Christ, what doesn't go well with cake?

I've read through the entire 56-page suit, and it looks an awful lot like the good folks at One True Vine want to establish a monopoly on all cake-related wine text and imagery. And yet, One True Vine was established in 2003. We wonder what the folks at Cakebread Cellars (est. 1973) think about that?

Photo   |   Shaggy Paul

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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