Australian Prosecco producers have met with federal politicians to discuss the future of the industry and raise some concerns over Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with the European Union (EU).
The winemakers told politicians that there are outstanding opportunities for Australian Prosecco to grow both domestically and internationally. But said that they expect the EU will try to prevent Australian producers from marketing wine with the grape variety Prosecco on the label as part of the upcoming FTA talks.
Ross Brown, Michael Dal Zotto and Eliza Brown said such a move would be devastating for the industry, wiping out millions of dollars of marketing and brand building investment by regional businesses, and cutting off the growth prospects of the Australian Prosecco industry at its knees.
Ross Brown, Executive Director of Brown Brothers, the largest Australian producer of Prosecco, noted that Prosecco is a globally recognised grape variety and that removing the right to use the term would be akin to losing the right to use chardonnay or sauvignon blanc.
Dal Zotto, whose family were the first to commercially grow Prosecco in Australia, said: “This is a cynical move by the Italians to prevent other countries participating in the huge growth opportunities in the domestic and international Prosecco markets.”
Eliza Brown, CEO of All Saints Estate added: “The quality and unique offerings of Australian Prosecco match any premium Prosecco in the world, including Italian Prosecco.”
Tony Battaglene, Chief Executive of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) said that the industry was looking to work cooperatively with Australian Government trade negotiators to develop a strategic approach to the negotiations that would allow Australian prosecco to trade throughout the world.
“We need the Government and Opposition representatives to understand that there are real jobs and investment at stake. We fought off an EU claim on this same issue in 2013 and the industry will be fighting hard to again defend its right to use the term Prosecco as a grape variety,” he said.
“In the past, FTAs have delivered significant benefits to the Australian wine industry, and we are strong supporters of these agreements. However, the right to use Prosecco is key to the Australian wine sector’s future success.”