Prosecco names worth fighting for
King Valley winemakers rallied to protect the Australian government’s use of the name Prosecco, and last week the Minister for Trade discussed a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Italian government.
People like Prosecco-growing pioneer Otto Dal Zotto emigrated from his home country and started producing the Prosecco grape variety in 1999.
It was ten years ago that Italy changed the name of the town to Prosecco, and now it is trying to claim the name as a geographical marker.
However, Dal Zott said it is not the same as a geographical indicator of Champagne because it is named after the Champagne region rather than a variety such as Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.
“I grew up in this area and like my father and grandfather, Prosecco is in my blood.
“This situation has never been an issue for hundreds of years, but things changed when politicians tried to change Prosecco from varietal to regional for greed and money.”
Dal Zott warned that if the Australian government yielded, they would set the precedent for hundreds more products around the world.
Geographic indicator claims are also made in agricultural products such as feta and parmesan cheese.
“When I started growing Prosecco, I never took anything away from Italians because I wanted to eat here something that reminded me of my hometown,” said Dal Zotto.
“I believe there is room for everyone to benefit from a product like this.”
Assistant Trade Minister Tim Ayers wants to make it clear to the Italian government that Australia wants an early deal with the European Union (EU).
He said he wanted to make sure they heard a strong case for Australia’s high quality agricultural products and against protectionism and agricultural market liberalization.
Indy MP Helen Haynes traveled to Canberra with prominent King Valley winemakers to secure Australian government support.
“I have prosecuted this case fairly harshly, but the King Valley winemakers have clearly demonstrated that this is not the legitimate claim of the Italians,” said Dr. Haynes.
“Our government is very keen to finalize this FTA as soon as possible, and in the process Australia aims to increase the amount of beef and dairy products sent to the European Union, but the Prosecco There is a problem with the naming of feta.
“I am indeed very adamant and as a local member strongly argue that the Australian government should not give in to this.”
Getting results with an FTA will require compromises from both sides of the table, but it would cost the industry hundreds of millions of dollars if Australia were to lose its right to name these particular products.
“The branding and tourism element of Prosecco Road, as well as the wine sales ($205 million a year), are very important to the region,” said Dr Haynes.
‘We don’t want to lose the ability to call our wines by their proper names. I have tried to resolve this issue.
“This is not a legitimate case of historical names. It’s a very different scenario from France or Champagne.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade reported that “the talks were positive and both sides expressed their hope for an early settlement of the negotiations.”
“Australia aims to reach a comprehensive and ambitious trade agreement with the EU as soon as possible,” a spokesperson said.
“A trade agreement with the EU will help diversify our trade ties and expand opportunities for Australian exporters.”
To protect Australia’s interests, the Government continues to lobby the EU on its negotiating priorities, including on geographical indications.
“However, the Government will protect certain EU GI terms unless the overall transaction is in Australia’s interest, including providing Australian exporters with access to new and commercially meaningful agricultural markets. I do not agree with that,” said a spokesperson.
“The EU continues to seek protection for EU wine GIs, including Prosecco, in trade agreements.
“The Australian Government is fully aware of the importance of Prosecco to the Australian wine industry.
“Australia should continue to respect the provisions of the existing Australia-EU Wine Agreement and maintains the position that the Australian industry can continue to use grape varietal names such as Prosecco.”