Cyber Terroir

“The battle to protect geographic typicity in the world of wine has spread to technological terroir with the news that new Top Level Domains (TLD) .vin and .wine will be made available for purchase on the Internet. And the immediate concern to arise is that anyone could register a site like or and not be affiliated with said regions. Under current ICANN guidelines (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is the organization that controls domain names), this could happen. So specifically, these regions and their representatives are seeking legal recourse against possible misuse of their Geographic Indicators such as Champagne, Bordeaux, Napa, etc. The issue becomes one of who bears the burden (read: cost) of validating every application on these new domains in the light of Geographic Indication protection. ICANN says it is essentially keeping to its longstanding policy of “regulate yourselves” while the trade groups are saying “you created this mess, you sort it out.” Due in no small part to the attention this issue has drawn, the threats of potential boycotts from people within the industry, and the legal costs associated with “evicting” cyber-squatters, ICANN is reviewing their practices concerning new domain registration before these domains become available for sale.”


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