Wine labeling rules relaxed

PORTLAND — Oregon has relaxed its wine-labeling rules for the first time in 30 years — a move that gladdens some, but not all, winemakers.

Most of Oregon's wines, such as pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay and riesling, will be unaffected — still having to meet the rule that requires 90 percent of the contents to come from the grape on the label. But the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has approved a request by the state winemakers, who now are allowed to blend 18 of the 72 grape varieties grown in Oregon with up 25 percent of other grape varieties but still sell it under the label of the primary grape. Some Oregon wineries said the state's labeling regulations were some of the strictest in the nation and limited their ability to compete with winemakers in states with looser laws.

But winemaker critics argued that the loosening of the standards will lower Oregon wines' reputations. Other changes by the Oregon liquor regulators include allowing Oregon producers to use list their wine as either pinot gris or pinot grigio, made from the same grape, on wine labels. Previously, regulations allowed only the use of pinot gris.

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