Veuve Clicquot Sues Tiny Winery Over Label That's Nothing Like Its Own
Veuve Cliquot's label, left; Ciro Picariello's Brut Contadino label, right
© Veuve Clicquot/Ciro Picariello
Here's a David-and-Goliath story if there ever was one, and a baffling one at that. It seems that Veuve Clicquot, the behemoth Champagne producer, can't tell the difference between orange and yellow. At least, that's the only possible explanation for why it would sue Ciro Picariello, a tiny Italian winery, over the color of the label for the latter's Brut Contadino sparkling wine. Ciro Picariello's label is orange, while Veuve Cliquot's is yellow.
The lawsuit has sparked outrage. At first in Italy and now internationally, people have been showing support for the small winery on Twitter with the hashtag #boicottalavedova ("boycott the widow," referring to the famous Widow Cliquot who made the brand what it is).
Ciro Picariello is a winery in Campania, Italy, that produces only 3,500 bottles of the sparkling wine in question per year, and only 50,000 bottles of wine per year total. By contrast, Veuve Cliquot produces up to 18 million bottles of Champagne annually.
The lawsuit alleges that the labels are similar enough that one might be mistaken for the other, causing consumer confusion and economic damage to the Veuve Cliquot brand. On Twitter, people are asking things like, "Do you think Veuve Clicquot will sue the sun for being the same colour as its label?" and "Color-blind widow going loco. Outrageous lawsuit against small winemaker."
Only time will tell if the courts mandate that, from here on out, all orange will be considered yellow in the eyes of the law.
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