Domaine Mouton and Château Mouton-Rothschild: David and Goliath all over again

I regret I can’t afford Chateau Mouton Rothschild wines any longer. If I could, then I could have boycotted them.

At first we thought it was an April fool’s joke. But it was not published on the first of April, and it was not just one magazine that wrote about it, but several. So we do not think it is joke though we can hardly believe that it is true. Prestigious Château Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux is suing a small estate called Domaine Mouton in Givry in the Côte Chalonnaise for trademark infringement. Mouton-Rothschild is said to have asked for 410,000 euros in damages.

This is so bizarre. Domaine Mouton in Givry has 15 hectares, makes a Burgundy wine that retails for around 16 euro and the name of the family has always been Mouton. How can anyone in their wildest imagination believe that a consumer would confuse this Burgundy with world-renowned Château Mouton-Rothschild that makes a Bordeaux wine that retails for around 400 euro a bottle? And how can they accuse Laurent Mouton for wanting to take advantage of Mouton-Rothschild’s notoriety?

Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1924, 1925, 1926, from Pauillac

Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1924, 1925, 1926, from Pauillac, copyright BKWine Photography

We think it is a scandal, the way some of the big houses of Bordeaux and Champagne behave. They go too far in their quest to protect their brands. They might have resources and money in abundance to spend on lawyers. But a small producer like Domaine Mouton has not. Even if he is not forced to pay the damages, he cannot avoid attorney fees and we all know what lawyers cost. And if he would have to pay the 410 000 euro, God forbid, well, then that is probably the end of Domaine Mouton.

Dear reader, I regret that I can no longer afford the wines of Chateau Mouton Rothschild (and the other estates who bully others in similar ways), and perhaps neither can you, because if we could then we could at least boycott them.


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