France Objects to .Wine Domain Names

French ministers want more control over the Internet

Winemakers in France say domain names ending in .vin and .wine could undermine trade agreements.

A new set of top-level domain names ending in .vin and .wine would seem like great news for winemakers, but France is pushing to stop them on the grounds that the new domains could undermine trade agreements.

According to the Wall Street Journal, French government ministers say allowing the .wine and .vin domain names to be purchased by just anyone means that shady companies could fool consumers about the provenance of their beverages. Under international trade agreements, only sparkling wines from France can technically be called Champagne. But ministers say without further oversight, there’s nothing stopping a seller of non-French sparkling wines from buying and selling non-French products to unsuspecting customers, which could potentially hurt sales of actual Champagne.

French ministers argue that domain names like should only be available to sellers who can prove they’re selling the real stuff. Wine producers in U.K., Spain, Australia, and California’s Napa Valley have joined in to back the appeal.

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"The importance of protecting winegrowing place names is critical to all winegrowing regions of quality; it is not solely a European issue," said Linda Reiff, president of the Napa Valley Vintners.