Australia’s Federal Court, in a unanimous verdict, has ended a seven year legal row over the boundaries of Coonawarra, one of the nation’s premier wine regions by including remaining vineyards and producers who were previously rejected.

The controversy which has split the community in the south east of South Australia and cost millions of dollars followed Australian acceptance of Europe Community requirements for defined, appellation boundaries.

When the case began after a mid-90s ruling, 46 wineries and grape growers were excluded on the grounds that they were not on the terra rossa soil for which the region is noted. Subsequent action reduced this number.

Today’s verdict included a prime vineyard and label Robertson’s Well of the Fosters winery and brewing group. David Gaszner, partner in the law firm representing most of the five appellants said the ruling had ramifications for the wine industry throughout Australia..

“Our case was built on (the proposition) that a wine region should be inclusive and welcome those winemakers and grape growers who met the general attributes of the region and had played a major role in the development of its international reputation,” Gaszner said.