Wine regions such as Marlborough or Hawke’s Bay could enjoy greater international protection under New Zealand government plans to implement a legal system of Geographical Indications (GIs).
Greystone vineyards in New Zealand
Ministers said this week that they would put into practice the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act – first passed as long ago as 2006 but yet to enter into force.
GIs offer a guarantee that a product comes from a specific region and enjoys the qualities and reputation specific to that region – examples being Champagne and Chianti.
‘The act will set up a registration scheme for wine and spirit geographical indications, similar to the trademark registration scheme,’ said New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser.
‘Being able to register wines and spirits geographical indications here will make it easier for their users to enforce them in New Zealand.
‘It will also make it easier for our exporters to protect their geographical indications in some overseas markets.’
New Zealand wine is now the country’s sixth largest export earner, with overseas revenues up 9% to NZ$1.37bn in the year to January – and plans to increase this figure to NZ$2bn by 2020.
The move was ‘warmly welcomed’ by generic body New Zealand Winegrowers, whose CEO Philip Gregan said: ‘It will equip the industry with the tools to protect its premium brand from misappropriation or misuse, as well as help secure market access in some regions.
‘It’s a big step forward for the industry.’
A Bill to amend the Act will be introduced to New Zealand’s Parliament later this year, and the Act is expected to be passed by the end of 2015.
Written by Richard Woodard