As Australia and the European Union negotiate their trade pact, Prosecco may be on the table.
Australia is one of the biggest markets for Prosecco in the world. But it’s also one of the biggest producers of homegrown Prosecco as well. And because the country isn’t subject to European Union law regulating the production and labeling of wine, many growers and bottlers there produce a wine that they liberally label “Prosecco.”
That might change now that the country has entered into a new round of trade talks with the European Union.
Last week the Brisbane Times published an article entitled “Bubbles and trouble ahead for Australian makers of Prosecco.”
The author Alison Brown writes:
“Queensland University of Technology professor in intellectual property and innovation law, Matthew Rimmer, says the light, dry, sparkling wine will be a major test for ‘geographical indications,’ or GIs, for food and wine under the proposed new Australia-European Free Trade Agreement.”
The country “has provided special protection for champagne and other European wine regions in the past. But with Italian Prosecco producers shifting the wine’s name from one of a grape variety to one of geographical location, the future of the Prosecco label on Australia wines is uncertain.”
“‘Italy has indicated it wants a geographical indication for prosecco during the Australia-EU negotiation,’ Professor Rimmer said.”
Again, quoting Professor Rimmer, Brown reports:
“‘What’s very controversial about Prosecco is that it’s a recent development in terms of its use of geographical location – it previously had the name of a grape variety.'”
“‘So, the Australian winemakers are very upset about that. They see it as a sleight of hand; a commercial claw-back to try to monopolise a very common name.'”
Veneto producers of Prosecco have complained for years about the market confusion that Australian Prosecco has created for them. But there was nothing they could do about it.
That might change now that Prosecco labeling is on the negotiating table. We will be following the story closely and will post updates here on the blog.