New geographical indicators for wine

  • 04/11/2015

The Government is getting the ball rolling on law changes to allow wine producers to register the fact their drop comes from a certain location.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith has introduced a Bill to Parliament to enable geographical indicators for wines and spirits to be registered in New Zealand.

A geographical indication shows that a wine or spirit comes from a specific region and possesses particular qualities or characteristics as a result.

The Bill amends the Geographical Indications (Wines and Spirits) Registration Act, which was passed in 2006 but never brought into force.

"The Bill sets up a geographical indications registration regime for wines and spirits, similar to the trade mark registration regime," Mr Goldsmith said.

"Being able to register regional names for our wine and spirits, such as Marlborough or Martinborough, will reinforce the qualities and reputation of those products."

It will also make it easier for exporters to promote and protect their wine and spirits in some overseas markets, Mr Goldsmith said.

New Zealand's largest wine exporter has previously expressed support for the move, which was announced earlier this year.

"Up until now there's been no legislation to prevent rogue operators from anywhere in the world from filling a bottle with their wine and labelling it 'Marlborough'," Sam Glaetzer, managing director of Constellation Brands New Zealand said at the time.

"Geographical indicators provide consumers with the reassurance that what they're drinking really is a quality wine from one of the best regions in the world. This is a great move and will ensure that quality New Zealand wine continues to drive international trade and economic growth."

The wine industry is now New Zealand's sixth largest export earner, with export earnings totalling $1.37 billion in the year to January.

Close to 80 percent of New Zealand's wine is exported.