The European Union (EU) is stepping up its efforts to have Prosecco registered as a Geographical Indicator (GI), which would mean Australia’s Prosecco producers could not use the name, and key producer Brown Family Wine Group is urging Australian’s to join the fight and #SaveAussieProsecco.
The EU has been fighting for over a decade to claim Prosecco as a GI in global markets, including Australia. The proposal to use Prosecco as a GI in Australia would restrict the use of the name to only wines produced in certain regions of Italy, effectively preventing Australian producers from using the name to market their own sparkling wines made from the same grape variety.
Brown Brothers Winemaker and Ambassador Katherine Brown says that restricting the use of Prosecco as a GI would have a significant impact on the Australian wine industry.
“It would be a huge blow to Australian winemakers and producing regions, such as The King Valley, who have been growing and investing in Prosecco grapes and making sparkling wines from them for many years,” Brown said.
“Around 95 per cent of Australia’s Prosecco is currently sold domestically. If Australian wine producers aren’t able to use the name ‘Prosecco’ on their bottles, it would also be confusing for consumers, who understand the Prosecco grape variety and the quality it produces in Australia.
“It’s important that we look at grape varieties as the primary means of identifying and marketing Australian wines. This would not only support the Australian wine industry but also ensure that consumers have access to a diverse range of high-quality wines from around the world.”
This is a fight the Brown family and other Prosecco producers in Australia have been fighting for some time. In 2019, Ross Brown told The Shout, it would be catastrophic if the EU’s GI bid was successful.
“Prosecco is a grape variety and that is really where our argument starts and finishes. The whole Italian argument of changing the name to Glera is a fraud,” Ross said.
“It’s critical that we keep the Prosecco name, it’s just like telling someone they can’t use Cabernet or Shiraz. It’s the handle that people refer to the grape variety as, it’s also the wine name and if Australia even contemplated giving that away on such a fragile basis you’d have to say there is no European name that’s got any integrity in terms of commercial usage.
“It runs beyond wine then, it goes through cheese, salamis and a huge multitude of produce and the precedent of this would be catastrophic for Australia’s naming.
“This has no relevance to Champagne; Champagne is a region it’s been acknowledged as a region and the whole industry understands the Champagne argument. But the Prosecco argument is quite different, it’s an arbitrary claim dug out of nowhere.”
Michael Dal Zotto told The Shout: “It’s really, really important that we are able to keep using the Prosecco name. It’s critical.
“For one we don’t want to set an unhealthy precedent around succumbing to pressure and saying, ‘OK it’s not Prosecco any more it’s Glera.’ It’s been known as Prosecco since the beginning of time, so why all of a sudden should that change and why should we allow it to be changed?”
Now all Australians can join the fight to #SaveAussieProsecco, as the Australian Government has opened a public objections process to give interested stakeholders the opportunity to have their say on the proposed new and updated EU GIs. You can lodge an objection via the following link (before 12pm on April 21, 2023) : https://haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/public-objections-process.