EU protects Prosecco name

EU protects Prosecco name

Australia has failed to overturn a ban on its wineries using the term 'Prosecco' for wines on sale in the EU.

Australian winemakers have begun relabelling their Prosecco wines in the EU, after failing to repeal the ban.

The news is a further blow to Australia's troubled wine industry following evidence of renewed consumer demand for Prosecco in Australia's biggest wine export market, the UK.

Prosecco became a protected name under EU from April this year, ensuring that only wine producers abiding by set standards in a designated region of northern Italy can use the term on their labels.

Australian producers have turned to 'Gera', the main grape variety used in Prosecco production, as an alternative name for their sparkling wines in the EU, the Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation (AWBC) said this week. 

They can continue to use the name Prosecco for the same wine if it is sold in Australia, AWBC said.

Its failure to repeal the EU rule comes as Prosecco has experienced a resurgence in export markets.

In the UK, leading independent retailer Majestic Wine last month highlighted strong Prosecco sales as a key driver of a 15.6% rise in full-year sales.   

In December last year, Italian farmers' union Coldiretti said that exports of Italian sparkling wine would exceed domestic consumption for the first time. It said Prosecco was showing "dynamic" growth in foreign markets and it singled out the UK as a key growth country.

Around 340m bottles of sparkling wine were produced in Italy in 2009, compared to 339m in 2008, with around 160m bottles covered by the new Prosecco DOC and DOCG denominations.

For the AWBC's updated list of wine names banned for use in the EU, click here.