Washington and Lee Wine Law Society Presents Richard Mendelson

Lexington, VA • Thursday, February 04, 2010

UPDATED: The talk by Attorney and law professor Richard P. Mendelson has been cancelled. The wine tasting will go on, beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Faculty Lounge.


Richard P. Mendelson
Attorney and law professor Richard P. Mendelson, an internationally-recognized expert on vineyard and wine law and related land use, will speak Feb. 8 at the Washington and Lee School of Law. His talk is titled "21st Century Jurisprudence: Selling Wine in the Age of the Internet."

The talk, sponsored by the W&L Wine Law Society, will begin at 4:00 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room in Sydney Lewis Hall. A wine tasting and reception will follow. The event is free and open to the public. 

Mendelson is chair of the Wine Industry Group at Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty and also teaches a Wine Law course at University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law. He is a grower and wine proprietor himself, producing Mendelson Pinot Gris and Muscat Canelli Dessert Wines and Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. His first release, 1996 Pinot Gris Dessert Wine, scored 95 points in the Wine Spectator.

Mendelson is the author of From Demon To Darling:  A Legal History of Wine in America. In the book, Mendelson brings together his expertise as both a Napa Valley lawyer and a winemaker into this accessible overview of American wine law from colonial times to the present. From the country's early support for wine as a beverage to the moral and religious fervor that resulted in Prohibition and to the governmental controls that followed Repeal, Mendelson takes us to the present day—and to the emergence of an authentic and significant wine culture.

In addition, he explains how current laws shape the wine industry in such areas as pricing and taxation, licensing, appellations, health claims and warnings, labeling, and domestic and international commerce. As he explores these and other legal and policy issues, Mendelson highlights the concerns that have made wine alternatively the demon or the darling of American society—and at the same time illuminates the ways in which lives and livelihoods are affected by the rise and fall of social movements.

A new student organization at W&L, the Wine Law Society has several goals, including professional development through increasing knowledge of wine and promoting the appreciation of wine, education on how to responsibly consume wine and increasing awareness of issues involving wine and the law (as well as alcohol and the law in general), including regulatory issues, land use, appellations, and other domestic and international legal issues.

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