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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Saturday, January 03 2009. 10:57

Sutter Home wins case against Future Brands

California-based Sutter Home Winery which had sought legal remedies against the Future Wine & Spirit Brands has succeeded in getting an injunction from the High Court ordering the Indian firm to desist using the name forthwith.

There is a subtle difference between Sutter Home and Sutter House except that the former is owned by the California based Trinchero Family Estates and the later is a brand name allegedly copied by the Future Wine & Spirits Brands.

Reportedly, the Delhi High Court recently granted an injunction to Sutter Home against Indian firm Future Brands, which was selling its wine under the name Sutter House.

Sutter Home had sued the Indian company for infringement of its registered trademark and copyright and won the case. Sutter Home had contended that it was the most blatant copy since not only was the name identical and confusingly similar, it was also being used in relation to similar product, sold through similar channels and targeting a similar audience.

The court agreed with the contention and stopped the Indian firm from using the name for any of its wines or other products.

Sutter Home Winery was founded in the late 1800's and has always produced quality wines at reasonable prices. The Trinchero family purchased the winery lying closed since prohibition,  in 1947 and has pioneered many industry innovations over the past 60 years including an alcohol free wine (branded as Fre).

It is also a popular brand, known for fair-priced wines. Located about 100 kms northeast of San Francisco and a km south of St. Helena it is in the heart of Napa Valley. One of the largest independent family run wineries in the US, it is known for introducing White Zinfandel wines for the first time in the early 70s. (Sula's pink coloured Blush wine made from Zinfandel grapes is reminiscent of this popular quaff)

When quizzed about the possible link between Sutter Home and Sutter House at the Gala dinner at IFE-India in December 2005, Roger Trinchero, Vice-Chairman of the  family winery at the Show in Delhi, had expressed surprise and told delWine that he had never heard of the company or the brand.

Sutter House has been extremely visible and available at scores of wine shops in and around Shimla and has been producing it in India for several years. The first impression one got was that it was the Californian product or it had been created specifically for the Indian market by Sutter Home. There was no mention about the Californian winery and it was visible only in Himachal Pradesh where it was available for under Rs. 200 a 750 mL bottle. Armed with not much information the shops sold it only as a low alcohol product.

Sutter House is also the trade name owned by Best Western hospitality chain in the USA.


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