Wine & Spirits

LBMW has a specialist wine and spirits practice dating back more than a century. We cater for a range of clients, broadly falling into three categories:

  1. SMEs which are wine agencies and distributors interested in long-term relations with a law firm.
  2. Bodies of producers and government-sponsored agencies aware of our expertise in the protection of geographical names.
  3. Producers of products entitled to the protection of geographical names and brands.

IP & Brand protections

Protection in England of such well known names depends both on the English law of passing off and on the EU regulations regarding Protected Designations of Origin ("PDOs") and Protected Geographical Indications ("PGIs"). In the last 60+ years, LBMW and its predecessors may have been involved in more leading cases relating to "extended passing off" than any other firm on behalf of household names, starting with the celebrated case of J. Bollinger & Others –v- Costa Brava Wine Company Ltd in 1960.

Extended Passing Off

Extended passing off recognises that groups of producers of products, which consumers recognise under the well known name, are entitled to stop competitors, who do not make or grow the product in the established region, from marketing under their name. As the leading case regarding Advocaat establishes, the law is flexible and protection is not even limited to production from a particular region. An essential part of protection against passing off is showing that the defendant makes a misrepresentation of a connection in the course of trade to the complaining producers' goodwill.

We also provide advice to the sector in the following discreet areas:


We act for clients in mergers and acquisitions, drafting/negotiating commercial agency and distribution agreements, and in agency/distribution termination disputes.

Employment Law

We advise on contracts of employment (to include equity incentive schemes), staff handbooks (to include all relevant policies and procedures) disciplinary matters and Employment Tribunal claims.

Commercial Property

We provide commercial property advice to our clients and act for them in relation to leases, sales and purchases.


Well known names for which we have taken steps to protect their names or stop infringers misusing their names in the last few years include Calvados, Champagne, Cognac, Epoisse and Port.

As well as assisting producer clients with brand protection, we act for specialist funds and ultra-high net worth individuals investing in drinks businesses.


In addition, for the past 60 years, we have acted for, and provided 3 successive generations of Clerks to, The Worshipful Company of Distillers, one of the ancient Livery Companies of the City of London. The Distillers' membership is more than 80% spirits and wine trade related and thus our association enables us to keep in close touch with, and be apprised of any major developments within, the industry.


  • Ed Henderson
      • 0207 960 7169
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  • Nigel Urwin
      • 0207 960 7123
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