Australia gives up Champagne, Prosecco, Sherry, Port and more in EU deal

Australia gives up Champagne, Prosecco, Sherry, Port and more in EU deal

Australian winemakers can no longer use well-known names like Champagne, Prosecco, Port or Sherry on wines to be sold in the European Union, under a new deal that comes into force this week.

Australian authorities have agreed to trade in use of the names in exchange for EU recognition of all winemaking practices currently used in Australia. The deal comes into force today (1 September), although was originally signed in December 2008.

Wholesalers and distributors in the EU and Australia now have five years to clear stocks that breach the agreement. Australian producers will turn to alternative labels, such as 'sparkling wine' for Champagne and 'Gera' for Prosecco.

"This is of utmost importance for European producers," said Dacian Ciolos, European commissioner for agriculture. Many wine regions in the EU have geographical indications, which means that only producers in that region and operating to strict production rules can use the term.
The Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation (AWBC) said that the final deal with the EU contains "significant advantages" for Australian wineries. Alongside recognition of 16 winemaking techniques not previously allowed in the EU, the AWBC has also negotiated EU recognition of Australia's own 112 geographical indications on wine.

Australia can also continue to use descriptive terms such as “vintage”, “cream” and “tawny”.

In 2009, EU wine exports to Australia were worth EUR68m (US$86m) and Australian exports to the EU were worth EUR643m, according to European Commission figures.

Earlier this year, the AWBC failed in its attempt to overturn a ban on Australian producers using the term Prosecco on labels.

Click the following links for the full announcements on the EU side and Australian side.