As you know, I'm in the process of trying to start up a new winery operation, and potentially resurrecting the GAN EDEN brand name. Since a couple of years after I sold the winery facility and stopped producing GAN EDEN, while I was still selling some real GAN EDEN branded wines, counterfeits cropped up, sold out of the trunk of at least 1 car by (an) obviously unscrupulous individual(s). Obviously so, because wines were being sold of types I never produced (2000 Cabernet mevushal, when I only produced a nonmevushal), and obviously not truly under the supervision of the OU. And now, I received a call from the RCC yesterday, checking on the wine found in Livonia Glatt Market, some of which had obviously questionable labels. These are badly done matte labels, labeled GAN EDEN 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon, with white-out covering what is probably the word "mevushal". I did make a nonmevushal 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon, but the labels were glossy, and there was no white-out on them. I don't know what kind of cork these counterfeits are corked with, but the true 2000 Cab is finished with synthetic corks. Also, sales of the 2000 Cab are all accounted for, so this could not possibly be it. Also, the true 2000 Cab, as is true with all of my 2000 vintage wines, are probably oxidized beyond use for anything other than a Sherry substitute in cooking. Livonia also has some wine labeled GAN EDEN 2000 Chardonnay, according to the RCC representative. I have no idea whether it is real or counterfeit- I don't even remember whether I put out a 2000 Chardonnay, or whether I only put out a nonvintage at that time, but I'm told the labels are glossy, so it could be real. In any case, if it is real, it would be brown and oxidized as per my preceding statement, so if it isn't, one cannot trust the kashrus of it, at the very least.
It is truly flattering to be targeted by counterfeiters, but it is flattery I don't need at this time. GAN EDEN produced some spectacular wines in its time, hopefully will again, but these counterfeits are certainly in the way at a time when I'm trying to justify the existence of the brand name. Is it hurting or helping the brand? Bad wine certainly dilutes the value of a name. On the other hand, there's something special about being the only kosher brand of wine considered worthy of counterfeiting, and to my knowledge, GAN EDEN is indeed the only kosher brand to have been targeted that way. That raises the value of the brand, no? Thoughts?