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EU proposes compromise on Australian “Prosecco” labeling rights

In August of last year, Italy’s agricultural ministry contacted its counterpart in Australia and expressed its interest in protecting naming rights for Prosecco DOCG and Prosecco DOC wines throughout the world.

For years now, Australia grape growers and winemakers have labeled sparkling wines as “Prosecco” despite the fact Prosecco originated in Italy and is protected by European Union trademark laws. But because Australia is not an EU member and because it’s not subject to EU regulation, there was no recourse for Italian Prosecco producers.

Last year, the Italian ministry argued that because the grape name has been officially changed to Glera (formerly known as Prosecco) and because Prosecco is a place name (a village in northeastern Italy not far from Valdobbiadene-Conegliano, the heart of Prosecco country), Italian wine growers should be entitled under international law to exclusive use of the trade mark.

The story was first reported by Queensland University of Technology.

According to a report published this week by Drinks Business, the EU has proposed a compromise whereby Austrlians could call their wines “Australian Prosecco,” thus differentiating it from Italian-grown Prosecco and eliminating confusion in the market place.

Prosecco isn’t the only EU food product that would be affected by the current proposal: According to Drinks Business, the Australian agricultural ministry is currently negotiating with the EU over more than 1,500 products (cheese labeled “feta” is one of them, for example).

It’s not clear what the Australian response will be to the EU proposed compromise.

But we will be following the story closely and reporting on it here on the Villa Sandi USA blog.

Image via the Villa Sandi Facebook.

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