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A Geographical Indication (GI) is an official description of an Australian wine zone, region or sub-region. It takes the form of a textual description (i.e. a list of grid references, map coordinates, roads and natural landmarks which can be traced to outline the regional boundary) along with a map. Its main purpose is to protect the use of the regional name under international law, limiting its use to describe wines produced from winegrape fruit grown within that GI.
A Geographical Indication can be likened to the appellation naming system used in Europe (e.g. Bordeaux, Burgundy) but is much less restrictive in terms of viticultural and winemaking practices. In fact the only restriction is that wine which carries the regional name must consist of a minimum of 85% of fruit from that region. This protects the integrity of the label and safeguards the consumer.
The use of Geographical Indications in Australia commenced in 1993 when the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation Act (1980) was updated to enable Australia to fulfil its Agreements with the European Community on Trade in Wine and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The Act serves to 'provide the legal means for interested parties to prevent use of a geographical indication identifying wines for wines not originating in the place indicated by the geographical indication in question'.
The hierarchy of GIs commences with a zone known as South Eastern Australia which is the area south east of a line from North Queensland to Ceduna in South Australia. States have been declared as GIs as well as 28 zones with contiguous boundaries within each state. About 65 regions have been identified; most have been entered in the Register of Protected names, while others are still in the interim or proposal stage. A Geographical Indication does not have legal status under the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation Act until it has been defined and entered onto the Register of Protected Names. For details on GIs, please refer to the Wine Australia website at wineaustralia.com.
|South Eastern Australia 1|
|Adelaide (Super Zone, includes Mount Lofty Ranges, Fleurieu and Barossa|
|Eden Valley||High Eden|
|Far North||Southern Flinders Ranges|
|Mount Lofty Ranges||Adelaide Hills||Lenswood|
|New South Wales|
|Big Rivers||Murray Darling2|
|Hunter Valley||Hunter||Broke Fordwich|
|Upper Hunter Valley|
|Northern Rivers||Hastings River|
|Northern Slopes||New England Australia|
|South Coast||Shoalhaven Coast|
|Southern New South Wales||Canberra District|
|Central Western Australia|
|Eastern Plains, Inland and North of Western Australia|
|Swan District||Swan Valley|
|South West Australia||Blackwood Valley|
|West Australian South East Coastal|
|Goulburn Valley||Nagambie Lakes|
|North East Victoria||Alpine Valleys|
|North West Victoria||Murray Darling2|
|Western Victoria||Grampians||Great Western3|
|Australian Capital Territory|
|1The zone South Eastern Australia incorporates the whole of NSW, VIC and TAS and only part of QLD and SA.|
|2Murray Darling and Swan Hill are contained within the zones of Big Rivers (NSW) and North West Victoria (VIC).|
|3The use of Great Western is subject to legally enforceable conditions of use.|