Wine and Spirit geographical registration coming

  • Paul Goldsmith
  • Tim Groser
Trade Commerce and Consumer Affairs

Trade Minister Tim Groser and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith today announced that Government will implement the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act.

“The Act will set up a registration regime for wine and spirit geographical indications, similar to the trademark registration regime,” Mr Groser says.

A geographical indication shows that a product comes from a specific geographical region and has special qualities or a reputation due to that origin.  Well known products that are identified by geographical indications include Champagne, Scotch Whisky and Prosciutto de Parma.

The use of geographical indications by New Zealand producers is largely confined to the wine industry.

“Being able to register wines and spirits geographical indications here will make it easier for their users to enforce them in New Zealand. It will also make it easier for our exporters to protect their geographical indications in some overseas markets,” Mr Groser says.

The wine industry is now New Zealand’s sixth-largest export earner with total export earnings of $1.37 billion in the year to January 2015, and a goal of reaching $2 billion worth of exports by 2020.  Around 79% of wine is exported, primarily to Australia, Europe, North America and Asia, with China showing strong potential to become one of our biggest growth markets.

Mr Goldsmith says some consumers are prepared to pay a significant premium for wines from certain New Zealand geographic regions.

“The reputation of New Zealand wines must be jealously guarded if we are to continue growing our wine exports. 

“The ability to register geographical indications under the new Act will help our wine industry promote and protect its premium brand from misappropriation or misuse by overseas producers, as well as secure access in certain markets which require government-recognised geographical indications.”

The Act was passed in 2006, and before it can enter into force some amendments will be required to ensure that the process for registering geographical indicators runs smoothly.  A Bill to amend the Act will be introduced to Parliament later this year, and is expected to be passed by the end of 2015.