Northeast Italy's Valpolicella Consorzio is fighting the alleged pirating of two of the region's most famous names in China and Australia.

In the first case, the Gold Hope Winery, based in Hong Kong and with outlets in mainland China, sells Gold Valpolicella and Yu-lin Valpolicella, Valpolicella dry red and Valpolicella dry white. The wines are made in China and have nothing in common with the red Corvina-based Valpolicella produced in Veneto.

A letter of protest has been sent to Italy’s Ministry of Agriculture, as well as the export and commerce bureau, Emilio Fasoletti, director of Valpolicella’s Consorzio Tutela della Valpolicella, the region’s main trade body, told decanter.com.

This follows the recent use of the term ‘Moda Amarone’, on the back label of a bottle of Joseph Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, produced by the Australian winery Primo Estate and exported to Italy by Teatro del Vino Srl, in Florence. The Consorzio feels this is fraudulent use of the term Amarone, one of Italy’s most prestigious wines.

The label says, ‘The 2000 Joseph Moda Amarone was produced using northern Italy’s unique ‘Amarone’ method. Cabernet fruit from South Australia’s Fleurieu region carefully dried for a couple of weeks before being crushed. This was then blended with 10% Merlot picked from Limestone Coast vineyards.’

‘This case is even more serious,’ Fasoletti said, ‘“Amarone” is a term registered by the Italian State and protected by EU law.’ He said action is being taken by the Ministry of Agriculture, the fraud squad and the EU to force the Australian producer to drop the wording.

Written by Michele Shah8 January 2003