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Saturday 4 August 2018

Angry Italian winemakers up the ante

First Italian winemakers were unhappy with Australians calling sparkling wines Prosecco. Now they want to stop anyone other than Italians from using the name Nero d'Avola.

That's a little like the French demanding everyone else in the world stop using the words Pinot Noir to describe their wines, but the Italians are threatening legal action. 

The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) has hit back at the Italian claims, 
providing the following response signed by chief executive Tony Battaglene.

Australian Nero d'Avola. Pic: VinoDiversity
"WFA fully supports the notion that Australian wine should not be marketed as “Sicilian” or from “Sicily”," the organisation said in its statement. "To draw the conclusion, however, that UK merchants should 'block the selling of Australian wines bearing the name of the variety Nero d’Avola on their wine labels' is completely ludicrous."

While the Nero d’Avola grape variety may be native to Sicily, according to the International Organisation of Vine and Wines International List Of Vine Varieties And Their Synonyms, Nero d’Avola is a recognised grape variety for use in Australia since 2011 and is also recognised in Argentina, Bulgaria, Portugal, France and Italy. 

In Australia, it is produced in South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales across at least 20 Australian Geographical Indication (GI) regions.

"It is apparent that this is yet another thinly vailed (I think they mean veiled) attempt to restrict the use of grape varieties indigenous to Italy to Italian producers," the WFA said. "Whether it is Prosecco, Nero d’Avola, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, or others, the fact remains that these are all internationally recognised grape varieties, which are produced outside of Italy.

"This protectionist behaviour, which seeks to utilise GI protection to restrict trade of the varieties, is harmful to the whole wine sector and does a great disservice to our great industry. 

"Italian producers make great wine and should be proud of what they do. Rather than seeking to restrict trade, we fully support the ability to present and describe our wines with the grape variety name to fully inform consumers, within an open and free trading environment.

"Above all else, the rights of international wine producers to grow, produce and label grape varieties must be maintained in all markets and WFA will continue to fight for these rights." 

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