Australia is fighting with European trade officials over the use of the name prosecco. Picture: Jenny Evans
Australia is fighting with European trade officials over the use of the name prosecco. Picture: Jenny Evans

Aussies may lose right to ‘prosecco’

AUSTRALIANS have been making prosecco for years, but may lose the right to use the name on bottles of the sparking wine.

European Union officials are reportedly standing firm in their opposition to Australian producers labelling products as prosecco, feta or parmesan, the Sydney Morning Heraldreports.

As part of the negotiations for a $100 billion agreement with the European Union, locally made products could instead be labelled "Australian prosecco".

One of the sticking points has been whether Australian producers should be forced to rebrand products such as Italian-French inspired Australian-made wines like moscato and cheeses including feta, parmesan, mozzarella, pecorino, gruyere and roquefort.

Our cheeses may be renamed as well. Picture: John Appleyard
Our cheeses may be renamed as well. Picture: John Appleyard

Local producers are worried the changes may impact their sales in the international market.

Ironically, Australian producers are finding that their own argument for protecting the names of products like King Island Dairy and Bega Cheese - which use their location in their branding - is being used against them.

It's the same argument European producers in the region of Prosecco are using to restrict the use of name of the popular sparkling wine.

The grapes used to make the wine used to be called prosecco, named after the region they originated in. But the name of the grapes was changed to glera in 2009 to restrict the use of the name prosecco. Now wines made using glera grapes in Europe cannot be called prosecco.

Australian producers have been able to continue using the name as the Registrar of Trademarks rejected an application in 2013 to have prosecco registered in Australia as an Italian geographical indication region.

So wines made from glera grapes can be called prosecco in Australia but have to be relabelled if they are sold in Europe.

Australian winemakers like Brown Brothers don't believe the use of the prosecco branding should be restricted as they first brought glera grapes to Australia 20 years ago.

The sale of prosecco in Australia generates about $100 million a year.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham is handling negotiations with European trade officials taking place in Brussels. An agreement isn't expected until 2021.

 

Brown Brothers prosecco.
Brown Brothers prosecco.

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