EU-Australia wine trade agreement takes effect

On 1st September 2010 a new agreement governing the wine trade between Australia and the European Union enters into force. This agreement replaces the one signed in 1994.

According to the announce made by the European Official Journal, on 1st September 2010 will take effect the new agreement that safeguards the wine of EU labelling regime, gives full protection to EU geographical indications, including for wines intended for export to third countries, and includes a clear Australian commitment to protect EU traditional expressions. It also provides for the phasing out of the use of a number of important EU names such as Champagne and Port on Australian wines within a year of the agreement coming into force.

The new agreement provides for the immediate protection of other EU Geographical Indications for wines. For the use of some terms, phase out periods have been agreed. Specifically, Australian producers will not be able to continue the use of important EU names such as "Champagne", "Port", "Sherry" and other European geographical indications, along with some traditional expressions such as, "Amontillado", "Claret", and "Auslese" from 1 September 2011 onwards, i.e. one year after the entry into force of the agreement.

The new agreement safeguards the EU wine labelling regime, by listing optional particulars which may be used by Australian wines (i.e. an indication of vine varieties, an indication relating to an award, medal or competition, an indication relating to a specific colours, etc.) and by regulating the indication of vine varieties on wine labels.

Such agreement also outlines the conditions for Australian wine producers to continue to use a number of quality wine terms, such as “vintage”, “cream” and “tawny” to describe Australian wines exported to Europe and sold domestically.

This agreement was signed in Brussels on 1st December 2008. The Australian authorities informed the European Union that they had completed their ratification procedures on 27th July 2010.

In 2009, EU wine exports to Australia were worth € 68 million and Australian exports to the EU were worth € 643 million.