The Grape variety GI debate – Montepulciano War Erupts

In previous updates we have provided information on Australian Grape & Wine’s extensive efforts to retain Australian wine producers rights to continue to produce and label the Prosecco grape variety. This includes both the domestic market as part of the EU – Australia FTA and internationally in markets like Singapore, the United States and elsewhere around the world.

While the outcomes of 2023 have provided a level of certainty for now around the rights of the Prosecco grape variety, there remains an ever-looming threat in this battle which, this month, we were again reminded of. Last week the headline Montepulciano War Erupts in Italy began to hit our inbox as the battle between neighboring Italian regions around the use of the term Montepulciano (both a GI and a grape variety) ramped up. Its not all that unfamiliar a dispute, protectionist attitudes, disputed designations of origin, authorities getting involved, historical references and the rules changing while the world watches on with interest.

The debate around GIs and Grape Varieties will continue in 2024 and while the Montepulciano debate is currently one between Italian regions it reminds us of the ongoing international risk that is posed to the use of grape varieties. In 2022 we posed the question “First Prosecco, now Vermentino. What’s next…?” well maybe we now have the answer.

The conflict between GIs that contain grape variety terms is a topic high on the agenda at the OIV as it reviews it new Vine Variety Database. The topic will be debated in the Spring technical meetings in April 2024 and Australian Grape and Wine will be there as experts representing Australia and the interests of the Australian wine sector.

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