Australia will stop using famous European wine names like Champagne, Port and Chablis as part of an updated trade deal that should smooth the path of Australian wine exports to Europe, officials said.
The agreement, negotiated to replace existing arrangements that date from 1994, will see Australia phase out the use of several important European wine names—also including Burgundy and Marsala—within a year of the deal entering force.
“It’s a very short phasing-out period. This will also affect how they market products like port inside Australia,” said one official at the European Commission, which negotiated the revised wine deal on behalf of the EU’s 27 member countries.
The name Tokaj, used in the EU for wine produced in Hungary, will be abandoned in Australia within 10 years. The longer phase-out period is due to Hungary only joining the EU in 2004.
Australia has also agreed to restrict its use of recognized European wine expressions to just six terms, such as “tawny” and “cream”, and stop using names like Lumbrusco (rpt Lumbrusco) and Hermitage for some of its vine varieties.
“A very important step forward is that we get protection for our traditional expressions, like labeling indications, and that’s an important marketing tool,” the official said.
Europe is a key export market for the Australian wine industry. While EU wine exports to Australia were worth some 62 million euros ($83.9 million) last year, imports from Australia were worth far more at 868 million euros, Commission data shows.
In return, the European Commission will expand its list of accepted winemaking practices used in Australia, like adding woodchips—employed by many New World producers to give wine an oaky flavor rather than by storing it in wooden barrels.
Australia will also get more of its own protected wine names recognized in Europe and a simplified EU system for certifying its wine exports.
The EU-Australia wine agreement now has to be endorsed by the bloc’s 27 farm ministers before it can enter into force. (Reuters)