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Julian D. A. Wiseman
Contents: The Contract (contract wording); Enforceability (as a theoretical question of law); Afterword.
On Monday 27th September 2010, travelling with friends in Douro valley, we met Oscar Quevedo for lunch and then for a tasting (blind, as Oscar always does) at the Quevedo winery. We discussed large-format bottles, and the author, mischievously, suggested that the back label be a contract ensuring Oscar’s invitation to the opening. Oscar Quevedo asked the author to write words.
Almost all wine is sold absolute: the purchaser may do as the purchaser pleases. This is not so for Quinta Vale D’Agodinho 2008 Vintage Port in 600cl Imperials and in 300cl double magnums. For these the owner must invite Oscar Quevedo to the opening, giving reasonable notice, and allow him to taste the Port. If the bottle should have a new owner, whether through sale or inheritance or otherwise, the same condition binds the new owner.
If Oscar Quevedo dies and is survived by living descendants, this ‘right to be invited’ passes to his legal heirs. If he should die without living descendants, this right passes to Julian Wiseman, the author of this contract.
… Visit our blog www.quevedoportwine.com
Oscar Quevedo and the author agreed that other port producers would be allowed to copy the contract, or to use it as inspiration for their own labels.
Is the contract really enforceable? It is a formal agreement: you agree to this by buying the bottle. If you don’t, don’t.
Nonetheless, it is acknowledged that, in some lower quality jurisdictions, it might be difficult to make this happen. So there is a certain presumption of good faith. Come on team—everybody play nice! Port is rarely bottled in really large formats, and those who make it want to know how it has evolved. Of course, if you are having a very decadent celebration on the far side of the moon, there just might not be another seat on the spaceship. So write a charming letter to the person who should be invited, apologising, and asking that the ‘right to be invited’ is set aside. Perhaps even promise to transfer a sample to a small bottle, and to send that.
The author is not Oscar Quevedo, so cannot promise agreement to such a request, but can observe that being nice to customers is generally acknowledged to be a good thing.
Considering enforceability as a theoretical question of law, so ignoring its practical improbability, Jacob Head has suggested that the relevant precedent in England & Wales might be Parker v South Eastern Railway Company  2 CPD 416. He added: “My fees for this work are a double magnum of the Quinta Vale D’Agodinho 2008 Vintage Port”. But I didn’t ask for legal advice, and he did not forewarn that fees would be charged: he should consult Parker v South Eastern Railway Company  2 CPD 416.
— Julian D. A. Wiseman
Paris, November 2010
This was also mentioned in a thread on ThePortForum.com.
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