Napa Wine Association Letter to ICANN Makes It Clear They Should Have Applied For .Napa/.Wine Instead Of Just Whining

After reading the letter sent by Bruce Cakebread telling ICANN  how the 500 members of the Napa Valley Vintners need protection from the new proposed gTLD’s of .Wine and .Vin,   I walked away thinking that the wine producers of Napa simply missed their chance to apply for .Napa and/or .Wine and now just want to whine about it.

In his letter representing the association Mr. Cakebread told ICANN in part:

If the applications for .wine and .vin are allowed to move forward, our 5o0 winery members and legitimate wine producers worldwide, would undoubtedly face cases of cybersquatting,  damages to their regional brand ; lack of customer trust and potential loss of brand value overall.”

Consider the clear importance of that the names “Napa” and Napa Valley” have for brand. region, and industry, and given the lack of tools that would allow our industry to protect our names..

Well my issue is that these 500 members of the Napa Valley Wineries could have come up with the $1K each or less than the price of a case of wine they produce and file new gTLD application for .Napa and .Wine and control the Right of the dot for their industry, their product and their brand.

Instead the Napa wine producers sat on their hands and let three private companies, Afilias, Donuts and Famous Four own the space.

No one applied for  the new gTLD .Napa, so there is a excellent chance especially with the way the WIPO Legal Rights Objections decisions have been going, that had the association applied for .Napa they would get .Napa and be in control of their “brand, the industry and their product”.

With the news today that Naked Wines invested $10 Million into a new program to sell wines so its not like the Napa group needed to hold a fund raiser to get applications filed

I learned a long time ago its better to have the ball then chase the ball.

It would have served their members better had the association applied to for .wine and/or .Napa then to spend the next years telling those who applied for the string what to do with them.

As a side note I like Cakebread wines and always thought it was a pretty cool brand name, I had no idea it was actually a family name, further proof you learn something new everyday in the domain industry.



  1. says

    Dear Mr. Berkens,

    Thank you for the kind words about Cakebread Cellars. You are correct- Cakebread Cellars makes excellent wine, as do so many of the 500 members of the Napa Valley Vintners.

    Napa Valley has earned a worldwide reputation for producing top quality wines and that is why we have expressed concerns over this domain name “land grab” that is currently going on, and the implications it is likely to have on not only Napa Valley, but every wine region of quality, both domestic and international. Napa Valley is not alone in its concern.

    Moreover, there is an important angle that also needs to be considered: consumer confusion.

    Having an apparent affiliation with Worldwide Media Inc. one of the largest holders of internet real estate in the world with 75,000 domain names owned, you more than most are aware of the power of the internet and how significant a resource it is for consumer information. Consumer deception should be as much of a concern of yours as it is to the Napa Valley.

    We’ve been fighting to protect our brand integrity for many years, all the way to the US Supreme Court and we will continue to advocate for our members and for consumers of wine.

    Thank you for raising these important issues.

    Rex Stults
    Government Relations Director

  2. says


    Thank you for your comment.

    The one issue in my post you did not address is why the Napa Valley Vintners didn’t make an application for .Napa and/or .Wine.

    Is the association considering applying for .Napa in the next round?

    Also although as you point out own some 75,000 domain names I’m also a Director of a company that advises new gTLD registries on the operator of the registry as well as companies looking to apply in the new gTLD space.

  3. Sam Heitner says

    I am writing to further support the comments posted above by Rex Stults. Customer confusion is the primary concern for numerous wine regions around the world. Members of the Declaration to Protect Wine Place and Origin, signed by 16 wine growing places worldwide (Napa Valley, Champagne, Oregon, Port, Washington State, Jerez, Walla Walla, Willamette Valley, Sonoma County, Paso Robles, Chianti Classico, Tokay, Victoria and Western Australia, Long Island and Rioja) have all pledged to protect the integrity of wine growing place names, because they are fundamental tools for consumer identification of great winegrowing regions and the wines they produce. That is why ensuring the rules of the road for new gTLDs such as .wine and .vin at the outset are so important and why wine regions like Napa Valley are requesting clear safeguards before these domains are launched. Protecting wine growing place names and ensuring consumer confusion is avoided are valid concerns for numerous wine growing places worldwide and they need to be addressed before these new gTLDs are approved.

    Sam Heitner
    Director, Champagne Bureau, USA

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