Australia agrees Euro wine protection deal

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Mariann fischer boel, Terroir, European union

European and Australian wine makers will kick off the New Year potentially toasting each other’s health after agreeing a new deal to respect geographical indication (GI) like champagne and sherry alongside other trademarks.

As a result of the deal, which is the first update regarding the two countries import and export of wines in fourteen years, both markets are expected to provide certainty for strengthening the protection of product designations.

The proposals were initially put forward last year in attempts to cut down on the number of Australian producers using popular European GIs on their products as well as updating labelling standards.

The GI system was introduced in the EU in order to protect certain food and beverage products, by legally requiring them to be made in a certain geographic zone or manner in order to obtain use of the name. This could potentially restrict the sale of certain products being made in Australia.

However, the measures will now come to pass with both European agricultural minister Mariann Fischer Boel and Australian foreign affairs minister both signing on the dotted line last week.

Signing the deal

With the original 1994 agreement outlawing the use of registered EU names like champagne, port, claret and sherry on Australian products, dates will now be set to ‘phase-out’ such labels under the new deal, potentially by 2010.

Other additions to the legislation will include modifying wine labelling. This will help ensure wine can therefore include specific details relating to vine variety, colour, accolades and other specifics related to the product, officials claims.

This will bring the Australian products further inline with labelling on its European counterparts by allowing specific condition for terms such as ‘vintage’, ‘cream’ and ‘tawny’ on both exported and domestically sold wines.

Australian aims

From within a year of the regulations coming into force, which is expected to occur by the middle of next year, Australian producers will work to ensure there products do not infringe protected GIs.

The Australian department of agriculture says that this will apply particularly apply to 11 ‘sensitive’ European GIs that were previously being used in the country.

The protected GIs include, Burgundy, Chablis, Champagne, Graves, Manzanilla, Marsala, Moselle, Port, Sauterne, Sherry and White Burgundy.

Aside from protecting some of its own national trademarks, Australian authorities say that the country’s winemakers will also have to make fewer concessions to export to the EU.

Fischer Boel claimed the agreement ensures a balanced compromise for both European and Australian producers.

“Crucially, we have obtained protection for our Geographical Indications and traditional expressions, which was of the utmost importance for European producers,"​ she stated.

Related topics: Markets, Beer, Wine, Spirits, Cider

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