4 Nov 2015

Wine industry toasts new law

3:45 pm on 4 November 2015

Soon-to-be introduced geographic indicators will give New Zealand wines greater security, the wine industry says.

Vineyard with mid-summer growth on grape vines, Awatere Valley near Seddon, Marlborough, New Zealand.

A vineyard in Marlborough Photo: AFP

The Government is introducing a geographical indications registration system for wine and spirits.

They are common overseas and guarantee consumers that a product comes from a specific area and therefore possesses particular qualities, such as champagne from the Champagne region, or Scottish whisky.

New Zealand Wine Growers chairman Steve Green said specific regions where wine was grown, such as Marlborough, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa, were used in the sale and marketing of wine but there has never been legal recognition of those areas.

"The importance of the bill and the act, hopefully, is that they will have recognition and that they will then be able to be protected both in New Zealand and overseas," he said.

"From time to time there are growers or wineries in various countries that will capitalise on a name from New Zealand. We've even had things like the use of the South Island and really this [legislation] will give us greater protection to ensure that doesn't happen in the future."

It would provide a solid platform for New Zealand wine producers to promote wines and regions in international markets, Mr Green said.

"It's important internationally. For instance, in the USA we need to have geographic indicators if we want our wines to have a degree of protection there and essentially it's sort of like a trade mark...it gives us a lot more security."

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