Sussex wine is a step closer to achieving PDO status after its application was submitted to the EU by Defra – but it could take several years for the formal certification to be agreed, the English wine industry has warned.
The Rathfinny Estate in Sussex (Photo: Rathfinny)
It follows reports in the Times, Telegraph and Daily Mail this week regarding the region gaining protected regional status within the UK and that this could take only six months to push through.
Defra this morning clarified that it had now formally submitted the application to Brussels, and as such it was a step in the process that could take several years to be agreed and finalised, but added that there was “no timeframe in mind” for how long the PDO process would take, now that it was “out of Defra’s hands”.
PDO status would allow producers to label their wines as Sussex wine guaranteeing a product’s authenticity and origin in the same way as Champagne.
However, English Wine Producers confirmed the move does afford Sussex wine temporary protected status while its’ application is considered by the European Commission.
‘The Sussex PDO has now been submitted to Brussels, but not yet awarded – this takes quite a while to go through,” Julia Trustram-Eve of English Wine Producers told db. “During the process of submission and until the application has been ratified, the name ‘Sussex’ has been granted temporary national protection (by DEFRA).”
Both Defra and the English wine industry cautioned that the EU process if far from speedy – Camel Valley’s bid to get PDO status for its Darnibole Bacchus, wine, submitted an application in October 2012, and is still on the list of UK names being considered and is still awaiting a decision.
Wineries in Sussex started their bid for PDO status – which could result in the region’s wines receiving the same protection as Champagne or Prosecco – back in March 2015.
The move comes as the UK negotiates its withdrawal from the EU, but in a debate about the English wine industry in the House of Commons last week Farming Minister George Eustice indicated the UK would continue to use the existing EU system for protected food names even after Brexit.
“This will be one area of all those we have to discuss where it will be relatively straightforward to roll forward some kind of geographic recognition similar to what we have now,” he told MPs.
The newly appointed Rathfinny brand ambassador Rob Buckhaven described it as a “pivotal time” in the English sparkling wine story as the estate sought to drive forward the Sussex PDO application.