Fischer Boel: no more Aussie champagne but reverse osmosis OK

Fischer Boel, wine reform, EU Australia wine agreement, Stephen Smith, protectionism, reverse osmosis News Wine News
  • Thursday 18 December 2008

Australia has agreed to stop using terms such as Champagne, Sherry, Port and Chablis as part of a new EU-Australia Wine Agreement. In exchange, the EU will allow imports of reduced alcohol Australian wine made via reverse osmosis.

On 1 December, EU agricultural commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel and Australian foreign affairs minister Hon Stephen Smith signed an accord that protects ‘traditional European’ terms that define geography and geography-linked styles.

This replaces the previous agreement signed in 1994.

’The big prize which the EU has won here is rock-solid legal protection on the Australian market for our treasured European wine names,’ said Fischer Boel.

‘So any shoppers seeing labels like these on bottles in an Australian supermarket will know for sure that they’re getting the genuine article, not an imitation.’

Following a year-long grace period, Australian producers will cease labelling wine as Graves, Burgundy, Champagne or Sauternes, and using definitions like sur lie, clairet, cru artisan, clos and hors d'âge.

Exceptions exist where such expressions are part of a pre-existing trademarks or business name, or are used in translations. So words including ruby, tawny, vintage, crusted, cream and solera may be used if the products meet necessary criteria.

In exchange, the EU has agreed to simplify the certification procedure for Australian exporters.

The pact also allows imports of reduced alcohol wine made using processes involving reverse osmosis and spinning cones, previously verboten, and calls for simplified approval of winemaking techniques that may be developed in the future.

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