Eighteen New Zealand winemaking areas have raced to take advantage of a new regulation introduced by the country’s parliament that is designed to better protect winemakers against misuse of regional names.

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The Geographical Indications (GI) Registration Act, which came into force on 27 July, will allow for a collective registration of wine and spirits in New Zealand as intellectual property of a region.

It enshrines in law the principle that only wines produced within a particular region, such as Marlborough or Hawke’s Bay, will be able to use its name on the label.

Jeffrey Clarke, acting CEO of trade body New Zealand Winegrowers, said that GIs ‘are at the very heart of the New Zealand wine story and this new law provides an additional level of protection for them’.

On the day of introduction of the new legislation, the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand received 18 applications.

‘The registration of these GIs will provide a solid platform for New Zealand wine producers to promote our wines and regions in international markets and ensure investment in our regional identities are better protected,’ said Clarke.

The application process may last up to 6 months.

Once accepted the region will be added to the Geographical Indications Register created by the act. The registration is effective for five years and can be later renewed for another 10 years.

The regions which have applied for the GI so far:

  • Northland
  • Auckland
  • Matakana
  • Kumeu
  • Waiheke Island
  • Gisborne
  • Hawke’s Bay
  • Central Hawke’s Bay
  • Wairarapa
  • Gladstone
  • Martinborough
  • Nelson
  • Marlborough
  • Canterbury
  • North Canterbury
  • Waipara Valley
  • Waitaki Valley North Otago
  • Central Otago

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