The horror – Spain loses ‘Rioja’ name battle with Argentina

Spain has lost its 12-year battle with Argentina over use of the name La Rioja.The northwestern Argentinian province of La Rioja was founded by a Spaniard in 1591; the Spanish were also responsible for introducing vines to the region.

In recent decades, however, Spain has been increasingly concerned that wine consumers will confuse wines from La Rioja Argentina, as they are labelled, with wines from the northern Spanish DO of Rioja – one of the most-recognised wine brands in the world.

In 1999 the Consejo Regulador – the regulatory council – of Rioja initiated proceedings against the Argentinian region which resulted in a court battle that has only just been settled.

A Buenos Aires judge has just dismissed the case, arguing that La Rioja Argentina distinguishes its wines sufficiently against its Spanish namesakes’ wines, and that there was no intention to cause confusion.