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Marks and Spencer’s Italian pink fizz seized

Italian authorities have seized a shipment of sparkling rosé called Rosecco destined for UK retailer Marks and Spencer.

Taking exception to the name Rosecco, the government inspector for agricultural products and repression of fraud, the ICQRF di Conegliano, has confiscated 14,400 bottles of wine labelled ‘Rosecco Vino Spumante Brut Rosé’ – Marks and Spencer’s own-label brand.

‘Playing with the name and the colour of the label deceives customers,’ said Luca Zaia, Italy’s Minister for Agricultural Policy and gubernatorial candidate for the Veneto region, told the Corriere del Veneto newspaper.

He called the wine, whose label he said too closely resembled that of real Prosecco, ‘a clumsy attempt to sully our brand abroad’.

In August 2009, Prosecco was granted EU legal protection as a DOC and can only be made from at least 85% Glera grapes, with the rest local white varieties, grown in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions.

Glera is the historical name for the Prosecco grape.

The pink version, formerly called Prosecco Raboso, Prosecco Rosé or similar, must now go by another name.

According to the Consorzio Conegliano Valdobbiadene, it also is forbidden under Italian law to imitate any Italian product – including its name – in case it misleads the consumer.

Producers cannot call their wines Prosecco Rosé or indeed by any name that resembles Prosecco.

‘When new legislation was first published, both M&S and our suppliers took legal advice (in the UK and Italy) and we were both advised that our new trademark did not infringe the Consorzio’s or EU legislation,’ said Andrew Bird, Category Manager for Marks and Spencer, which sells the Rosecco for £6.99.

‘We are currently liaising with local authorities in Italy.’

As the wine is out of its jurisdiction, the Consorzio could not comment on what would become of the confiscated bottles or the legal implications for either the producer or Marks and Spencer.

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Written by Maggie Rosen

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