Chinese authorities have agreed to protect the legal status of nearly 50 Bordeaux wine appellations in what could prove a landmark deal in the country.

China appears increasingly willing to recognise the concept of geographical indications (GI), which restrict rights to certain names for specific products.

Chinese authorities recognised Bordeaux as a protected GI in June 2015 recognition and Beijing this week officially recognised all still wine appellations within the Bordeaux region.

Bordeaux is the first wine region to receive recognition of such a large number of names – almost 50 appellations in total, including less well-known ones such as Bordeaux Haut Benauge and Graves de Vayres.

Currently only five other international wine and spirits names have been accorded the same protection – Cognac, Champagne, Napa Valley, Scotch Whisky and Tequila.

Bordeaux’s wine bureau (CIVB) said the move would make it easier to combat forgeries and brand squatting in China.

It has been working with the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) since 2011 to achieve this recognition. Certain appellations, such as St-Julien and St-Estèphe, are also separately registered as trademarks in China.

CIVB president Bernard Farges said, ‘I salute the hugely impressive work of the AQSIQ, that has explored every detail of this complex subject. Both France and China are in full agreement on the importance of this geographic recognition.’

China remains the highest value and volume export destination for Bordeaux wines, with over 63 million bottles heading there in 2015, with a value of €277 million – over one quarter of all exports from the region.

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