What does "père et fils" indicate on a wine label?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

When I read a French wine label, I sometimes see the word “fils” next to the winery name, for example, Bouchard Père & Fils. What does the word “fils” indicate on a French wine label?

—Chris, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Dear Chris,

Père et fils” means “father and son” in French (in the example you shared, the ampersand is doing the work of the word “et”). As with businesses here in the United States that have “and son” (or daughter) appended to their names, it’s a way of conveying that the company is a family business, which many people find appealing.

You might also see the French words “frères” (brothers) or “soeurs” (sisters) on some wine labels, again suggesting that the business has a familial element. Family businesses can get pretty complicated, of course, especially in France, where Napoleonic inheritance laws have forever changed the vineyard and winery landscape.

—Dr. Vinny

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