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Time Out- Wine is not Juice for every Mommy

Posted: Saturday, 23 April 2011 11:38

Blog: Time Out- Wine is not Juice for every Mommy

A recent legal spat between two wine companies in the USA using Mommy in their label, with Mommy’s Time Out suing MommyJuice for trademark infringement marks a common practice in the wine industry with producers using similar sounding names for whatever reasons, but I have a fundamental objection to the use of the name MommyJuice.

Mommy's Time Out is a brand that sells a red and a white Italian wine, a Primitivo from Puglia and a Pinot Grigio-Garganega blend from Delle Venezie. The more recent MommyJuice is produced by California-based Clos LaChance Winery which claims that Mommy is a generic word and no one has a right to own it. The ‘Juice’ also comes in two entry level variants- a white Chardonnay and a red Bordeaux blend, selling for $10 a bottle. Both are aimed primarily at the growing market of women wine drinkers.

It is not my intent to get into the legality but to focus on the propriety of using the name  MommyJuice even if it were the very first wine in the world using Mommy in its label and it had it registered. The name is a misnomer for it gives the impression that wine is  juice-and thus has the connotation of being healthy without qualification.

The Mommy winemaker for the ‘juice’ is the Founder, Cheryl Murphy Durzy, a qualified and experienced winemaker who is a mommy of two children who refer to the glass of wine she has at the end of a tiring day as Mommy’s juice (no doubt, that is what Cheryl would have told them in a lighter vein, in the first place).

The name suggests that it is specially made for Mommys (and not other women) and like juice it is an energy and nutrition supplement. It does not tell the whole story; that it has alcohol and has to be handled with caution and limites. A glass or two of wine at the end of the day would be certainly relaxing for Mommys (even Daddys and others) but more may be harmful.

I need not over-emphasize that studies have shown that more than 1-2 glasses of wine or any other alcohol increase the chance of breast cancer among women and they need to be cautious and use folates as suggested by Dr Curt Ellison of Boston, who has done extensive studies on wine and heart health and the side effects and with whom I have interacted at a couple of international medical conferences I attended in California and through emails. Moderation is the key and the name MommyJuice suggests one can open the ‘juice’ bottle in the fridge and have a glass any time of the day.

The front label of MommyJuice features a drawing of a woman juggling a house, teddy bear and computer. The back label tells mommy to ‘tuck your kids into bed, sit down and have a glass of MommyJuice- Because you deserve it.’ Does the wine preclude women having no kids to tuck into bed? How about the working mothers who are increasing in number and don’t mind sharing a glass or two of wine with friends after a heavy day at work or want to have a couple of glasses with dinner as they ought to, for best enjoyment. The label may be an affront to the working mothers who are increasing in numbers even in India. In any case, a majority of women would prefer not to be identified with the illustration on the label

Another objection I have is because the label suggests those women who do not take alcohol for whatever reasons, may be encouraged to start with a glass of wine assuming it is juice, after all. While wine producers would like the whole human race to drink wine (so would I, provided it is in moderation and with food for adults), there is a significant proportion that is teetotaler for religious, health, social or whatever reasons. Without getting into details I must comment that despite being a voracious promoter of wine culture as life-style, I would not encourage anyone to start imbibing alcohol, least of all by suggesting that is fermented grape juice after all.

Wine is healthy, it is delicious and the alcohol in it is natural alcohol-but the excess of it is harmful. There is already a problem of alcoholism in countries like the UK where women have apparently gone overboard with their glass of wine that has been getting bigger and bigger until it has become a national problem. I would hate to see that one of the reasons would be some mommys who started drinking wine thinking it was a special Juice crafted especially for them.

How about pregnant mommys? After all, it is juice for mommys, they might presume-and it might be special. Dangerous! A glass or two a week of wine –preferably with food, is internationally accepted as a norm for pregnant women but not more, even if it is Mommy Juice and the label may mislead some women into drinking more of this wine.

In a county like India, the label might be a perfect candidate for a wine label since it would lend itself easily to the surrogate advertising that is so prevalent in the liquor industry in the absence of any advertising for alcohol by law. But it would be an unethical idea, I must warn.

I know many of my readers, especially women would ridicule me by saying that women are smarter than that but the power of brands and labels, especially at the level of sub-conscious can be tremendous. That’s why I feel that while a Mommy may be entitled to have Time Out but Mommy Juice can be problematic and hopefully,  the beautiful and charming Cheryl would consider renaming it, even if the winery wins the case.

Subhash Arora



Sandeep Mirchandani Says:

What you observe and state here is very true. The ridicule of your readers should be directed towards these two wine companies and not towards you. The power of brands and advertising & marketing can get the better of even the most level headed and sane person. I wonder how the government departments in Italy & USA allow these brand names to be registered in the first place. Don't they have some regulator in place (like the Advertising Standards Council of India or ASCI, which controls and monitors ad content)???

Posted @ May 03, 2011 11:03


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