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1/04/2015

NZ wine industry takes huge step forward

The Government has announced it will pass legislation to set up a geographical indications registration system for wines and spirits which will operate in a similar way to trademark registration.

The Geographical Indications Registration Act will identify wines as originating in a specific region and the distinct qualities or reputation it has due to that; examples in the wine world are French Champagne and Burgundy.

Philip Gregan, New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive officer, said the move will equip the wine industry with the tools to protect its premium brands from misappropriation or misuse, as well as help secure market access in some regions.

"Governments could say unless there is a system of registration of geographic indications in New Zealand, then you can't export wine to our market using those geographic indications on the label,” Gregan said.

"Now if that was to occur, that would stop us using Marlborough on the label or Central Otago or Waiheke Island and that would be a major, major issue for us."

Gregan said the wine industry expected legislation for geographical indications to take effect next year.

“It’s a big step forward for the industry,” Gregan said.

Wine exports stand at $1.37 billion to the year January 2015, up 9 per cent, propelling wine to New Zealand’s 6th biggest export good.

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