EU compromise put forward in Australian Prosecco debate

As part of trade deal negotiations between the EU and Australia over product labelling, a compromise may have been reached in the on-going Australian Prosecco debate.

Glass of champagne against vineyard background

Italian and Greek food and drinks producers are urging Australian companies to rebrand their wines and cheeses, under a new EU proposal.

Products could now be named ‘Australian Prosecco,’ in a possible compromise, after the initial suggestion was that Australian companies had to label their products ‘Prosecco-like,’ or ‘feta-like.’

The initial proposal made by the EU suggested that any new trade deal would have to guarantee exclusive naming rights to certain local products.

Simon Birmingham, Australian trade minister, is in negotiations with the EU over how more than 1,500 Australian products could be affected in the trade deal.

Senator Birmingham said. “We will work for the best possible outcomes in net terms for Australia. That means you have to look at what you may need to agree to that you would not entirely wish to do, just as we expect the EU to provide the type of access that they may not wish to provide.”

Australian wine producers fear that the new labelling agreement will put them at a disadvantage against European producers.

Australian-produced Prosecco earns AUS$100 million annually. Brown Brothers wines has seen a 50% growth in Prosecco sales year-on-year, and has described this new move as “sneaky.”

Executive director of the Australian wine company, Ross Brown, told the Brisbane Times: “Twenty years ago we brought the grape variety to Australia. It’s just so happened that style has had its day in the sunshine and now become quite fashionable.”

Though Prosecco has been produced in Italy for centuries, Italian winemakers only registered the grape as a protected “geographic indicator” when it started gaining popularity in the last decade.

And while the wine gets its name from the town of Prosecco, a suburb of Trieste, it is also the former name of the grape that is used to produce it, now named Glera.

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