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Chardonnay or Chantilly? Cupcake Vineyards vs. Layer Cake Wine = A Hungry Jury

A cabernet frosted cupcake is bad enough. But cupcake-inspired wine?

Despite the name, Cupcake Vineyards, a division of global producer The Wine Group's Underdog Wine Merchants, produces no dessert wines. Last fall, Cupcake introduced a selection of $12 to $15 Central Coast wines, including a Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This year, the line was expanded to include a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Washington State Riesling and a Malbec from Argentina. Winery publicist Jeani Hunt-Gibbon writes, "the cupcake inspiration is much more esoteric than literal."

The name and label design, as well as the winemaker, suggest otherwise. According to a statement from Adam Richardson, Cupcake's winemaker, "When we make Cupcake, we put fruit, softness and richness at the top of our list...the end result is... a name that says it all."

Whether Cupcake wines are meant induce buttercream frosting cravings may soon be irrelevant. In the latest cupcake-inspired lawsuit, the Wine Group is being sued by One True Vine, producer of the Layer Cake wine label. The lawsuit contends the Cupcake name is a trademark infringement. Evidence cites both layer cakes and cupcakes as "birthday cakes," and includes claims against Cupcake for referencing "grandma's chiffon cakes" and "chocolate cherry cakes" in its advertising campaign.

Here's to ending the cupcake mania, once and for all.

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