Australian fortified wine makers are to change the generic names of their products.

The country's Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran said late last week that A$500,000 (US$413,452) has been provided to the industry to assist in finding alternate names after Government negotiations with the European Union.

The EU has been pressing for the dropping of the names and a formal agreement will be signed next year.

It is expected to be illegal to use the word 'Sherry' on Australian labels by mid-2009. Other names covered by the agreement are 'Port', 'Vermouth' and 'masala'. Up to A$1.4m, including the grant, will be spent on global re-branding by Australian companies.