Australian Winemakers Say Prosecco Ban Would ‘Devastate Us’

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Australian Prosecco producers yesterday met with federal politicians in Canberra yesterday to brief them on the outstanding prospects for domestic and international market growth.

Winemakers expect the European Union (EU) to try to prevent Australian producers from marketing wine with the grape variety Prosecco on the label as part of the upcoming Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations.

Ross Brown (Brown Brothers), Michael Dal Zotto (Dal Zotto Wines) and Eliza Brown (All Saints Estate) said this would be devastating, wiping out millions of dollars of marketing and brand building investment by regional businesses, and cutting off the growth prospects of the Australian Prosecco industry at its knees.

Ross Brown, executive director of Brown Brothers, the largest Australian producer of Prosecco, noted that Prosecco is a globally recognised grape variety and that this would be akin to losing the right to use the term chardonnay or sauvignon blanc.

Michael Dal Zotto’s family were the first to commercially grow Prosecco in Australia. He said, “This is a cynical move by the Italians to prevent other countries participating in the huge growth opportunities in the domestic and international Prosecco markets.”

Eliza Brown, CEO of All Saints Estate said, “The quality and unique offerings of Australian Prosecco match any premium Prosecco in the world, including Italian Prosecco.”

Tony Battaglene, chief executive of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) said that the industry was looking to work cooperatively with Australian Government trade negotiators to develop a strategic approach to the negotiations that would allow Australian prosecco to trade throughout the world.

“We need the Government and Opposition representatives to understand that there are real jobs and investment at stake. We fought off an EU claim on this same issue in 2013 and the industry will be fighting hard to again defend its right to use the term Prosecco as a grape variety,” he said.

“In the past, FTAs have delivered significant benefits to the Australian wine industry, and we are strong supporters of these agreements. However, the right to use Prosecco is key to the Australian wine sector’s future success.”

Photo: Brown Brothers winery.

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