The Anglophone wine mediascape has been much taken up in the first half of August with the fracas involving Tim Atkin MW/Ron Walsham and Riedel. Walsham in his guise as The HoseMaster of Wine is a satirist. Walsham is a regular contributor to Tim Atkin’s site.
Walsham’s latest target was the array of Riedel glasses apparently scientifically designed to suit particular grape varieties as well as soft drinks. There is already a specially designed Riedel coke glass and doubtless there will be ones for 7-UP and Irn-Bru along shortly.
Unfortunately despite Walsham’s well known penchant for satire, Riedel failed to recognise that Walsham’s attack on Riedel glasses was satirical and their lawyers duly fired off letters to Atkin and Walsham threatening legal action. Later Riedel claimed to have a good relationship with Tim Atkin, so you have to wonder why they didn’t contact Tim discreetly before engaging lawyers.
Naturally once they engaged their lawyers there was a wholly predictable social media storm and within a couple of days the whole issue was sorted. Despite many having doubts over Walsham’s satirical pieces – I find them decidedly patchy – the wine community rallied round in support.
The level of support enjoyed by Ron Walsham and Tim Atkin MW is is very marked contrast to that offered to Jayne Powell (aka Champagne Jayne) who has been taken to the Federal Court in Australia by the CIVC, who allege that due to her use of the moniker Champagne Jayne, which she successfully trademarked in Australia, that she has tarnished the reputation of Champagne and deceived consumers because she occasionally talks about non-Champagne sparkling wines.
Although I can understand the desire of the CIVC to oppose the Champagne Jayne trademark, I find the heavy handed resort to taking Jayne to to Federal Court abhorrent and a crude example of corporate bullying by the Champagne producers. The CIVC has registered its opposition to the Champagne Jayne trademark, so it would surely have been sufficient to allow this challenge to take its course.
Courageously Jayne decided to stand up to the CIVC – truly David against Goliath. Predictably this action has been financially ruinous for Jayne – but this is precisely to advice many gave to Tim and Ron to stand firm to their principles. Jayne has had to sell her home and is now effectively bankrupt. Furthermore she now has to go through the long drawn out process, while Justice Jonathon Beach comes to a judgment. Beach has already had more than four months to come to a conclusion. While Beach ponders Jayne’s life is in limbo.
In very stark contrast to Ron Walsham’s funding efforts – $3000 raised on the threat of court action, fundraising for Jayne has raised the mere sum of the equivalent of $1400 for actual legal fees – shamefully little.
For some inexplicable reason most of the wine community appears to be content to watch the CIVC (Champagne producers) grind Jayne into the dust….. Fortunately it isn’t too late to show your support and donate a few dollars to Jayne’s defence fund.
See also Jim’s Loire.