Federal government gives $100k grant to protect Prosecco

The Federal Government is fighting to allow Australian winemakers to continue using the name Prosecco, with a A$100,000 grant given to Monash University to clarify the legal basis for protecting geographical indications in trade agreements.

Federal education minister Dan Tehan announced the grant for the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects and wants the university to present recommendations on geographical indication claims to Australia’s government and industry bodies.

Australia’s Prosecco exports are estimated at A$60 million every year annually and are expected to rise to $500 million in the next decade.

However, the EU wants wine producers to stop marketing wine labelled as Prosecco. It said that the word Prosecco is a geographical indication for a type of wine that are locally made in northern Italy and is not considered a grape variety.

“If Prosecco is the name of a grape variety and not a geographical indication, the prohibition of its use in trademarks on Australian Prosecco would be likely to contravene Article 20 of the TRIPS Agreement, and Article 2.1 of the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement,” professor Davison said.

“We’re grateful to the Federal Government for their financial support to help us develop a legal framework and associating guidelines for protecting geographical indications for wines, and to help Australia and its wine manufacturing industry deal with geographical claims.”

Since the early 2000s, Prosecco has been produced in Australia. Until 2009, the word has been used universally as a grape variety. But in the same year, Prosecco was recognised as a geographical indication by Italian law through the creation of a Denominazione di Origine Controllataacross the Veneto and Friuli regions. Prosecco is the name of a town just outside Trieste.

In 2013, the European Commission tried to register Prosecco as a GI in Australia but failed after the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (now Australian Grape and Wine Inc) argued successfully that it was the name of a grape variety.


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