Nevada Jury Ruling Upholds Liquor Laws and Protects State’s Wine Consumers, Customers and Suppliers from Illegal Gray-Market Merchandise
July 8, 2013, Las Vegas, NV—Maisons Marques & Domaines USA, Inc. (MMD USA), a leading US wine importer and marketer of luxury brands such as Louis Roederer Cristal, along with Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern), the country’s leading wine and spirits distributor, responded today to the recent decision of the eight-person Clark County District Court jury. The jury found that two Los Angeles-based import companies had improperly imported, marketed and sold counterfeit and distressed—i.e., “gray-market”—versions of luxury imported wine brands owned by MMD and represented by Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada (SWS-NV). The recent ruling addressed the improper actions of the two Los Angeles companies dating back to 2002—and included economic-loss and punitive-damage awards to MMD and SWS-NV.

Commenting on behalf of MMD USA, Gregory Balogh, President & Chief Executive Officer, said, “This is a significant victory against gray marketers who are opportunists and have little interest in preserving the image or quality of the brand. I am humbled and pleased by the court’s well-thought-out decision of this decade-long journey of perseverance on behalf of the integrity of our brands marketed, sold and consumed in Nevada.” Balogh continued, “First and foremost, I want to acknowledge the wisdom of the eight-member jury in applying Nevada law in a thoughtful and fair manner that accounts for the impacts across Nevada’s consumers, retailers and suppliers alike.”

SWS-NV Senior Managing Director Larry Ruvo added, “This judgment will reassure retail customers and consumers that they are serving and enjoying, respectively, legitimate branded merchandise produced and distributed for this marketplace. It will also provide MMD USA—and our other imported luxury-brand suppliers such as Moët Hennessy USA—with the peace of mind that their brand quality, equity and image are being stewarded properly across Nevada. Last, and importantly, the positive impact of this judgment on the legitimate, local Nevada hospitality economy—which provides jobs for the thousands of workers who welcome and serve 40 million tourists per year—is a critical, ongoing effect of this landmark judgment.”

Balogh concluded by saying, “I couldn’t be prouder of the dogged perseverance of our company and our distributor partners over the past decade on this case. At its most fundamental level, this effort has been about the rule of law on behalf of consumers and all members of the supply chain. It illustrates that there is a reason laws are in place to regulate the wine and spirits industry—ensuring that everyone can be confident about the authenticity of the merchandise they are receiving at any step along the hospitality value chain, especially at the point of consumption.”

In the near future, there will be hearings to address the payment—by the two companies found to violate Nevada liquor laws in the jury’s judgment—of legal fees incurred by MMD USA and Southern.

About Maisons Marques & Domaines USA, Inc.
Maisons Marques & Domaines USA Inc. was founded in 1987 as the U.S. sales and marketing arm for Champagne Louis Roederer and its California winery, Roederer Estate. The key objectives were to manage the complex U.S. distribution system to ensure quality product as well as to build each individual brand’s equity. Today, the company has grown into a well-respected marketer and importer of family-owned, prestigious producers. From France to Portugal, Italy to Spain, and California to South Africa; Maisons Marques & Domaines represents some of the most highly esteemed properties in the world. For more information about Maisons Marques & Domaines, see:

About Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.
Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor and broker with operations in 35 markets. The multi-state distributor currently operates in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. In addition, Southern operates in Minnesota through a joint venture with J.J. Taylor Distributing Company. Southern also holds operating licenses and permits in Nebraska and Texas. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs nearly 14,500 team members. Southern urges all retail customers and adult consumers to market, sell, serve and enjoy its products responsibly. For more information about Southern and its responsible consumption program, see:

Contact; Xavier Barlier
Senior VP Marketing & Communication
Maisons Marques & Domaines USA, Inc.
Telephone: (510) 587-2009

Contact: Lee Schrager
Vice President, Corporate Communications
Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.
Telephone: (305) 625-4171

Posted on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 (Archive on Friday, August 09, 2013)
Posted by cdilucia  Contributed by cdilucia