RINGOES, N.J. - A winery in New Jersey is tangling with the state's turnpike authority and it's all over a logo.
The winery has already changed its logo once because it didn't want to get into a fight with the government.
Now the state has asked to change the logo again, but this time the small business says it will fight.
"We figured we're a New Jersey winery, nobody knows you make wine in New Jersey, we wanted a wine that would celebrate it," said David Wolin, owner of Old York Cellars in Ringoes, Hunterdon County.
All part of the ‘What exit wine"' series, developed in 2015.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority is trying to put a stop to the logo on the bottle. The NJTA says it looks too much like the Garden State Parkway logo, a logo in use by the state since 1956, and a logo the state uses to sell products online and at retail shops.
"After six months we decided we would just change the logo and not try to fight the bureaucracy," said Wolin.
But the authority says it's still too similar, and threatened to sue again.
In a statement, Thomas Feeney, a NJTA spokesperson says, "We appreciate that adults all over the world enjoy alcoholic beverages responsibly, and we wish Old York Cellars nothing but success in their business. But given the number of people who die every year as a result of drunk drivers, the Turnpike Authority chooses not to participate in the promotion of alcoholic products. That means we won't allow Old York Cellars to appropriate the legally registered mark of the Garden State Parkway in order to sell their wine.
The authority's attorneys have been negotiating with Old York Cellars to resolve the dispute over the logo. Old York opted to quit negotiating and file a lawsuit.
"They said they don't approve of our new logo," said Wolin. "Which to me was shocking that a government entity would have the right to, or think they have the right to approve our logo."
So instead of changing the logo again, the company served up a lawsuit of its own.
"I have to run a business here," added Wolin.
The argument seems silly according Wolin. He's been collecting items from retail stores authorized by the NJTA, beer koozies, wine glasses and other items connected to alcohol.
"No one has ever come down our driveway looking to get off and go to Atlantic City," said Wolin. "And as far as I know, no one stopped off at a toll booth on the parkway and tried to buy wine."
“Anyone that violates the public trust must be held accountable,” said Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III.Read More »
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