What’s in a name? For Australian wine producers in northeast Victoria, it could mean their business.
Otto Dal Zotto, a winemaker in Victoria’s King Valley, started making Prosecco wine 18 years ago. Eventually, enough wine producers followed to create the region’s nickname, Prosecco Road.
However, Italy is fighting for its wine back. Like Champagne is to Champagne, France and Flemish Red is to Flanders, Belgium, Prosecco is a region of Italy and the country wants to claim the name under the terms of a European geographical indicator.
If that happens, Australian “Prosecco Road” wine producers will have to come up with a new name—and new marketing strategy—for their sweet wines. This could cost the Australian domestic Prosecco market up to an estimated $400 million.
The argument is happening via the Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement. At the very least, for Australia’s benefit, the government is on its side: The Victorian Government is ramping up production by giving King Valley $50,000 from the state’s Wine Growth Fund to develop the region, and recently announced it will work with King Valley to develop wine production, marketing and tourism initiatives with the “King Valley Prosecco Road Plan.”
We can see why Australia is upset. The wine industry in Victoria is responsible for an estimated $7.6 billion and a workforce of 13,000 people. Prosecco alone is a $60 million market in Australia. Wine can’t we all just get along?