Organic winemaker's claim against rival ruled 'not false'
An organic winemaker who was ordered to apologise for claiming one of her competitors was no longer certified organic has won her appeal, says a TimesLIVE report.
Marion Smith, of Elgin Ridge Wines, went to the SCA after a Western Cape High Court judge ordered her to retract a ‘false statement’ about wine made by Mark Stevens at Eikenbosch farm in Wellington.
A full Bench of five appeal judges yesterday ordered Eikenbosch and its Mountain Oaks Winery to pay her costs.
Judge Fikile Mokgholoa said Stevens’ complaint about Smith’s claim on her website, biodynamicorganicwine.co.za, was ‘contrived’ because it failed to take account of a European rule change for organic wines.
‘Prior to August 2012, wines could be labelled as 'made from organic grapes’, whatever the subsequent wine-making process might have entailed, because that was the acceptable standard set by the EU,’ he said in his judgment.
After that date, ‘organic wine’ could be used only if the entire process was organic, and Smith’s website claim that Mountain Oaks wine was ‘no longer organic’ was not false because there was no proof or acceptable certification that it met the new standard.
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