Government’s Australian Prosecco investment welcomed

15 January, 2020 by Andy Young

Australian Grape and Wine Incorporated (AGWI) has welcomed the Australian Government’s $100,000 investment in funding to Monash University to clarify the legal basis for protecting geographical indications (GI) for wine in trade agreements.

The funding investment was announced by Minister for Education Dan Tehan, and will help to strengthen the evidence-base for decision making in relation to GIs.

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Minister Tehan said: “Our research into geographic indications for wine will ensure local wine makers aren’t disadvantaged by foreign producers making spurious claims for the exclusive use of wine names, such as Prosecco.

“Our Government is investing in partnerships between universities, industry and government to drive the commercialisation of research. We are encouraging greater collaboration between universities and businesses on research innovation and workforce preparation.”

Monash University has already undertaken work on Prosecco and the funding will support the University in delving deeper into the legalities of GI protection for wine.

AGWI Chief Executive, Tony Battaglene, said: “This investment is important and timely, and we hope it will help ensure Australian producers can continue to use long-standing and internationally recognised grape variety names on their wines. It will enable Monash University to delve more deeply into the legalities of GI protection, and help establish rules and procedures that are evidence-based and transparent.

“Prosecco, like Chardonnay or Shiraz, is an internationally recognised grape variety. Australian Grape & Wine is working hard to ensure Australian wine businesses can continue to use it in the face of European objections.”

Battaglene continued “We hope this investment strengthens our argument that Australia’s grape and wine producers must be able to compete on a level playing field with other wine producing nations. Many businesses have made significant investments in Prosecco plantings, infrastructure and branding, and all are acutely aware of the European Union’s (EU) desire to stop them from using the name. Given this, and the widespread interest in GIs in the context of the proposed Australia – EU Free Trade Agreement, it is clear this research is in the national interest”.

“The Australian Government understands our position on Prosecco, its potential for future growth, and how important it is to regional communities across Australia. We have had great support so far from both the Minister for Trade Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, and the Minister for Agriculture Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, and Minister Tehan’s announcement is a further demonstration of the Government’s support for the sector. We look forward to working with Monash University and the outcomes this research project will deliver.”