Australia's peak wine industry organisation has begun a round of consultations to drop the terms port and sherry from labels and find alternative terminology. The discussions anticipate agreement in government to government negotiations with the European Union which bars the use of such terms outside their geographic places of origin.

After strident protests from the French in the last decade, use of the word "Champagne" for Australian sparkling wine was dropped.

Stephen Strachan, chief executive of the Winemakers Federation of Australia, which is conducting the consultations, described a change in terminology as an "invigorating factor."

Kevin McLintockm chief executive of McWilliams Wines, a leading fortified producer, said it was a great opportunity, a chance to highlight Australian points of difference.

While a full terminology is being prepared some changes are simple, tawny port would become plain tawny and medium dry sherry just medium dry. As well as the term Sherry itself, use of such style words as fino, amontillado and oloroso would be ruled out.