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Wine Deal: Break Out The Bubbly

  • August 31st, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

champagne-resize.jpgIt’s been a long time coming but as of September this year Australia and Europe have a settled agreement on naming rights and descriptors for their wines.

See EUAustralia Online: “New deal to protect prestigious European wine”, 4.12.08; “Wine and sugar”, 20.7.07; “Wine agreement, regions listed”, 9.6.07; “Australia and Europe agree on wine!!”, 7.6.07.


wine-grange.jpgWhile they helped with the cultivation of a mass taste for wines, “champagnes” and “burgundies” from Down Under wineries have finally disappeared from the market; while Australian habits, (e.g. using the names of varieties) are recognised, and several newer regional names on the world scene (e.g. Hunter Valley, Rutherglen, Margaret River) have become a no-go for outside producers.

Now it is official, with the two parties to the agreement, Australia and the European Union, recognising the build-up of two-way trade in the pleasant commodity; lopsided these days, tilting 4-1 Australia’s way.

wine-grapes1.jpgThe following statement has been issued by Dacian CioloÅŸ, the EC Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development:-


The agreement is a win-win outcome and achieves a balanced result for European and Australian wine makers …

It replaces the one signed in 1994. The new agreement safeguards the EU’s wine labelling regime, gives full protection to EU geographical indications, including for wines intended for export to third countries, and includes a clear Australian commitment to protect EU traditional expressions. It also provides for the phasing out of the use of a number of important EU names such as Champagne and Port on Australian wines within a year of the agreement coming into force.

wine-glass1.jpgThe agreement provides for the immediate protection of other EU Geographical Indications for wines. For the use of some terms, phase out periods have been agreed. In particular, Australian producers will not be able to continue the use of important EU names such as “Champagne”, “Port”, “Sherry” and other European geographical indications, along with some traditional expressions such as, “Amontillado”, “Claret”, and “Auslese” from 1 September 2011 onwards, i.e. one year after the entry into force of the agreement.

The new agreement safeguards the EU wine labelling regime, by listing optional particulars which may be used by Australian wines (i.e. an indication of vine varieties, an indication relating to an award, medal or competition, an indication relating to a specific colours, etc.) and by regulating the indication of vine varieties on wine labels.

wine-pic-103.jpgThe new agreement also outlines the conditions for Australian wine producers to continue to use a number of quality wine terms, such as “vintage”, “cream” and “tawny” to describe Australian wines exported to Europe and sold domestically.


It is clear that trade in wine is an important aspect of the bilateral relationship:

•    Australian exports to the EU were worth just under $A1-billion in 2009 accounting for 40% of the value of all Australian wine exports and around 5.5% of total Australian exports to the EU;
•    viewed as a single entity, the EU is Australia’s largest export market for wine; and viewed from a European perspective, Australia is the largest supplier of wine from outside the EU, accounting for 27% of the value of all EU wine imports in 2009;
•    the EU is the second largest supplier of wines to Australia (after New Zealand) with a trade worth $A193-million in 2009, or 41% of total Australian wine imports.

The agreement was signed in Brussels on 1.12.08. The Australian authorities informed the European Union on 27.7.10 that they had completed their ratification procedures.

In 2009, EU wine exports to Australia were worth $A193-million (€134-million) and Australian exports to the EU were worth $A920-million (€643-million).

The text of the agreement and more information can be found at:


EU Delegation, Canberra, “EU-Australia wine trade agreement enters into force”, 31.8.10., (31.8.10).