Labelling wines and spirits with European Union (EU) geographic indications (GIs) adds value to the products, a study has found.

Analysis of the EU name protection scheme for food and agricultural products found that, on average, GI designated ones were estimated to be sold at 2.23 times the value of non-GI products. The findings came in research published by the European Commission today (4 March).

For the period 2005 to 2010, wines accounted for 56% (US$39.5bn) of all sales ($70.6bn) of agri-food products with a protected name produced in the EU. Spirits made up 15% ($10.5bn) and aromatised wines 0.1% ($40.7m).

Paul Skehan, the DG of industry association SpiritsEurope, said: “We are very supportive of the specific legislative framework for spirits GIs, which, according to this report, brings added value and growth to the European economy. The spirits industry is the biggest EU exporter in the agri-food sector with $11.1bn exports in 2011 – in part because of the strong history of spirits development in Europe, leading to many internationally renowned Gis.

“We want the Commission to maintain this specific legislation for our products which is fully compliant with the (World Trade Organization’s) TRIPS agreement (on intellectual property rights).”

Dacian Ciolos, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development added: “GIs … make farming in rural areas viable and the new Quality Regulation, which recently entered into force, will further reinforce this.”