It's been a long wait, but the wine industry is finally going to get the legal backing it's been seeking to protect the geographical descriptions of New Zealand wines.
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.
A geographical indication defines the specific region that the product comes from and the special qualities or reputation it has due to that; examples in the wine world are French Champagne and Burgundy.
New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said having legislation to back a registration scheme would help to protect New Zealand wines from misappropriation and market access obstacles.
"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.
"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."
He said the wine industry expected legislation for geographical indications to take effect next year.