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Okanagan winemaker puts a cork in punny bottles after Dom Perignon complaint


The self-described scoundrels of Okanagan wine country have pulled one of their most popular sparkling wines after a warning from one of the world’s most famous and prestigious producers, Dom Perignon.

The cheekily-named “Dom and Dommerer” bottles produced by Crown and Thieves winery are now recalled and boxed up in a warehouse because the label sports the same three-pointed shield silhouette as the distinctive French champagne. 

“I was walking in the vineyard one day and in the snow I saw these cute little footprints and it had a really neat shape,” said winemaker Jason Parkes. “And the team’s favourite movie is ‘Dumb and Dumber.’”

But when he got a cease and desist letter from the lawyers for the legendary French producer, he knew the light-hearted joke with its duck-foot label had fizzled out.

“I didn't think we'd get away with it for six months, and it's been longer than that,” he said. “They're actually a very, very classy company, all kidding aside, and they’ve been very kind and I think they've seen some of the humour.”

A pricey joke

Parkes, who fronts a punk band in his downtime, eschews the many awards his wines have garnered and continues to grow his offerings with a cidery, a BBQ-themed restaurant, and multiple wine brands.

He’s glad he diversified considering that he wrote off this year’s grape harvest, having seen how small and questionable it would be after a cold snap that has decimated the entire industry. That means he’s under extra pressure to re-brand and re-label the Dom and Dommerer bottles and get them back on the market. 

“We’ll just have to come up with something clever and maybe an homage to someone else in some fun way,” Parkes said. “It's valuable, we'll fix it, we'll make it work and be creative.”

An outlier in the industry

It’s typically the craft beer industry that gets in hot water over brewers’ puckish penchant for plays on words and puns that land them in court or pulling products from shelves.

Parkes is clearly a fan of tongue-in-cheek humour as well, with his popular, award-winning network of wineries sporting irreverent names including Pinky Blinders, Auxerrois that Endserrois, and The Greatest Love of Mal, often sporting whimsical watercolour paintings or artwork by his children on the labels.

While a large number of wineries are up for sale in the region given the challenges of repeated droughts, wildfires, and this year’s cold snap, Parkes is intent on sticking it out and hoping for better harvests in the years ahead. Top Stories

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