Aussie winemakers appeal for gov't help in dispute with Italian competitors

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-31 10:43:52|Editor: Liangyu
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CANBERRA, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Australian winemakers have lobbied the Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud to intervene in a dispute with their Italian counterparts.

Italian producers of Prosecco, a sparkling wine, have obtained a geographical indication (GI) from the European Union (EU) on the variety of grapes used to make the popular wine, which means that anyone growing the grapes outside the Prosecco region in northeast Italy and selling the wine in Europe must call the product by a different name.

Tony Battaglene, chief executive of the Winemakers Federation of Australia (WFA), led a delegation of Australian Prosecco producers to Canberra where they appealed to Littleproud to raise the issue with his EU counterpart.

"The Europeans have been trying to pick off countries one by one, they have managed to get Prosecco protected in Japan for example, which means that we can no longer export our Prosecco to Japan -- we can export it, but we can't call it Prosecco," Battaglene told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Friday.

"There are applications in India, Malaysia, New Zealand and China."

A spokesperson from Littleproud's office said they were "working closely with the Australian wine industry on this issue" and would raise the issue at upcoming free-trade agreement negotiations with the EU.

Ross Brown, an Australian wine expert, said Australian Prosecco sales have increased 53 percent in last year, surpassing Italian Prosecco sales which would be damaged by a forced name change.

"People in Australia buy wine by grape and people know what Prosecco is," Brown said.