The name ‘Prosecco’ could be banned in Australia as the European wine feud boils over

Australian winemakers are struggling to keep the ‘Prosecco’ name in the country after Italy began pushing for exclusive rights to the varietal.

Sales of Prosecco made in Australia have grown from $60 million five years ago to $200 million today.

WATCH THE VIDEO: Aussie winemakers clash over the Prosecco name.

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However, the European Union (EU) is pushing for Prosecco to be added to the list of foods and drinks covered by geographical indication protection under the existing Wine Agreement.

The agreement aims to protect products from misuse or counterfeiting of the registered name by giving manufacturers collective rights to a product in a geographical area.

Under this existing wine agreement, which came into effect in 2010, local winemakers lost the right to call their sparkling wine “champagne”.

Now Italy wants the same for Prosecco, prompting Australian producers who specialize in this particular sparkling wine to change the name of their locally made counterparts to ‘Glera’ – the grape variety.

Australia’s wine industry is fighting back, and some winemakers are heading to Canberra on Tuesday to plead their case ahead of the next round of Australia-EU trade negotiations.

“Australia’s position remains that we should continue to respect the terms of the existing Australia-EU Wine Agreement, which includes the continued use by the industry of varietal names including Prosecco,” a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman told ouch

Industry leaders say a forced name change would be disastrous for wine producers. Recognition: Ippei Naoi/Getty Images

Australian producers are warning that having to rebrand their wine could be disastrous for the industry, saying it would result in job losses and knock-on effects on tourism.

Katherine Brown of the Brown Family Wine Group told 7NEWS that producers are very committed to the future of the industry.

“We’re not going to let them get through because it might be about Prosecco now, but it might put a foot on the brakes when it comes to bringing new varietals to Australia,” she said.

“We were told this was Prosecco — we’ve put millions of dollars into marketing, promoting and selling this wine.”

“People have invested in grapevines, they’ve invested in production facilities, they’ve invested in tourism and we think it’s only right that they can continue to use Prosecco,” Lee McLean, CEO of Australian Wine and Grape added. The name ‘Prosecco’ could be banned in Australia as the European wine feud boils over

James Brien

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