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Australia Politics

Australia Adopts EU's Geographical Indicator System For Wine 302

Posted by timothy
from the all-official-like dept.
onreserve writes with an excerpt from a site dedicated to laws affecting wine: "[L]ast week, Australia signed an agreement with the European Union to comply with the geographical indicator (GI) system of the EU. The new agreement replaces an agreement signed in 1994 between the two wine powers and protects eleven of the EU drink labels and 112 of the Australian GI's. Specifically, this means that many of the wine products produced in Australia that were previously labeled according to European names, such as sherry and tokay, will no longer be labeled under these names. Wine producers in Australia will have three years to 'phase out' the use of such names on labels. Australian labels that will be discontinued include amontillado, Auslese, burgundy, chablis, champagne, claret, marsala, moselle, port, and sherry."
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Australia Adopts EU's Geographical Indicator System For Wine

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  • by asnelt (1837090) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @05:40AM (#33473690) Homepage
    I am against geolocation of wine. I think that GNU/Linux users should be able to keep their privacy. Why do I have the feeling that I am off-topic here...
  • Tokaji is mentioned in the Hungarian National Anthem, written in 1823. What are the Aussies doing with that name?

    • What are the FYROMians doing with Greece's name Macedonia? Theft is a worldwide pandemic.

      • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Saturday September 04, 2010 @06:22AM (#33473826) Homepage

        What are the FYROMians doing with Greece's name Macedonia?

        Continuing the name of that region? Almost no one disputes that the former Yugoslavian republic includes part of the historical region of Macedonia. It is simply a mere portion of that region, with the rest lying in Greece. What really started the beef between that region and Greece is the FYROM's appropriation of Alexander the Great and the traditional Macedonian sun symbol. Greeks say, "Hey, you're a bunch of Slavs. Slavs came in the 6th century AD, and this old stuff is all Ancient Greek, our heritage!". Inhabitants of the FYROM could say "Slavs came and imposed their language, but many of us are genetically descended from Alexander's people!"

      • by Freultwah (739055) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @06:27AM (#33473844) Homepage
        As it is, the Greeks really have no business telling any other country what name they should be using, especially when the ancient Macedonia is pretty much evenly divided between Greece and Macedonia. It's not as if Macedonia is calling itself Greece... Here's an idea: let's listen to North and South Korea bicker over who has a legitimate right to use the name Korea.
        • Now that's an idea. Let FYR Macedonia change name to North Macedonia, it's less of a mouthful and geographically accurate.

          Somehow, though, I have my doubts that the Greeks will take to it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by tokul (682258)

      Tokaji is mentioned in the Hungarian National Anthem, written in 1823. What are the Aussies doing with that name?

      It is Liqueur Tokay.

      Wine trees were imported to Australia. I am not wine expert, but if they use same sort of wines, mix of grapes used in Tokaji and wine fermentation process is not patented, patent is not expired and name is not trademarked, then Aussies are free to call their wine whatever they want. They do indicate that wine is made by Morris of Rutherglen.

      http://www.morriswines.com/tas [morriswines.com]

      • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Saturday September 04, 2010 @06:25AM (#33473834) Homepage
        Even if they are using the grapes from Tokay in Australia, the soil is different. The soil has a noticeable effect on the wine produced, even if the grapes and methods are the same, so restrictions on regional names make sense.
        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @07:28AM (#33474050)

          Go look up some of the double blind taste test studies done. People aren't nearly as good at telling wines apart when they don't know before hand. Wine snobs (and wine vinters even more especially) like to claim some extremely subtle differences base on the smallest thing, but the scientific evidence isn't there to support it.

          Hell if you like, conduct your own experiment. It isn't that hard or expensive. Here's what you do:

          1) Buy the wines to be compared. You can either buy a number of wines, or just buy two. If you buy many, you run a test where people rank them from best to worst numerically. If you buy two, buy two that are as similar as possible, but supposedly different, like same grape, same price, different region. You then do an ABX test where people get three glasses labeled A, B and X and are asked which of A or B is the same as X.

          2) Assemble a panel of people. You can be on it. Get whoever you think has good taste in wine, it is all up to you. You'll need at least 10 but more is better.

          3) Get two people to run the experiment for you.

          4) Have person #1 fill glasses with wine, and label them with A, B, C, etc or A, B, X. They randomize what goes in which glass (for best results use a computer for randomization), and record the wine that was placed in each glass on a sheet of paper. You don't get to see it, nobody does. They write down the results only, nobody talks to them. They need to be in a room all by themselves, no peeking.

          5) Have person #2 come and serve the wine to the testers, one at a time. They don't talk to person #1, just come and get the wine. They write down the results from the people's tests. Either the numerical rank of each letter, or which of A or B matched X. They can't tell the results to anyone doing the tasting, or to person #1.

          6) When all people have finished testing, come and get the two papers. Match up the results to the wine on a spreadsheet.

          Doing this, provided it is done properly (as in nobody looks at the papers and the two testers don't communicate) you'll get valid results. There will be no chance knowledge of what was going on could bias the results.

          However, don't get mad if the result is "Nobody could tell the difference to a statistically significant amount."

          • by hardburn (141468) <(hardburn) (at) (wumpus-cave.net)> on Saturday September 04, 2010 @12:40PM (#33475646)

            To be a Certified Sommelier [mastersommeliers.org], you must be able to tell not only vintage and country, but acidity and alcohol levels, all under blind conditions.

            Yes, a lot of "wine snobs" aren't as good as they say, but it is entirely possible for people to have taste buds trained to that level.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by aliquis (678370)

          Even if they are using the grapes from Tokay in Australia, the soil is different. The soil has a noticeable effect on the wine produced, even if the grapes and methods are the same, so restrictions on regional names make sense.

          Except that last time I read about this just a few weeks ago it seemed like the wine "experts" couldn't notice that it was the same white wine when they compared the same white wine to the same one with added color making it look red ... Personally I want to add that I somewhat doubt the taste of the actual color is 100% out of the equation.

          Also the same wine in old/beautiful bottles also tasted better than when it wasn't in the same bottles ..

          And there was some comparision of French and Californian wines w

          • "Personally I want to add that I somewhat doubt the taste of the actual color is 100% out of the equation."

            That would be quite easy to test: you just blind-test (both in the sense that they don't get to know which wine is which and in that they don't get to see its color) against a slightly different one and you see if they can significantly tell appart the colored/uncolored as being the same against the third one.

      • by Sique (173459) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @06:54AM (#33473920) Homepage

        The australians are free to name their wine after the grapes. The grapes used to ferment the Tokay wine are Furmint, Muscat lunel, Zéta and Hárslevel. Of them, Furmint and Hárslevel are authochtone, that means only cultivated in Hungary and in the south of Slovakia.

        If an australian vineyard is cultivating e.g. Furmint grapes and fermenting them into wine, they are free to call them Furmint, and even Furmint szamorodni (meaning "Furmint as it grows itself", made from both dry and non dry berries). But for what reason they should call it "Tokay"? There is nothing in it that justifies the name. A Tokay wine is not called "Tokay" itself, it is called "Tokay Furmint szamorodni" for instance or "Tokay Eszencia", if they are made from dry berries only.

        • by Sique (173459)

          Oops... Slashdot is eating non-ASCII-letters. The grape is called Hárslevelü, with the ü having something that looks like two accents and not the umlaut-dots.

        • by Sique (173459) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @07:02AM (#33473938) Homepage

          Or to clarify: If an australian vineyard is fermenting a "Tokay" wine, they should clearly label what they are doing.

          Are they fermenting an Aszú? An Aszúeszencia? A Forditás?

          Tokay is really only the place where the wine was fermented, it tells you nothing about the actual type of wine you are drinking. Labelling something "Tokay" is thus misleading, if it doesn't come from Tokay. That would be like a chinese toymaker selling stuff under the label "Made in U.S.".

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by AHuxley (892839)
            Mb the winemaker can learn from the toymaker ... Designed in Hungary, Made in Australia?
      • by Starayo (989319)
        All the Rutherglen wineries are fantastic. I think I've tried that Tokay, I remember the guy who I talked to when I was tasting it told me about the situation with the naming, I don't recall what the replacement name was but I know it was stupid.

        I'm also disappointed at the ban on the name "port". I rarely drink but when I do it's usually port. Next time I feel like a bottle I won't know what to buy!
        • by pthisis (27352) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @07:48AM (#33474102) Homepage Journal

          I'm also disappointed at the ban on the name "port". I rarely drink but when I do it's usually port. Next time I feel like a bottle I won't know what to buy!

          This is spot-on. The move to restrict names that originated as place names but have become style descriptors is ridiculous, IMO, and the decisions about what is protected and what isn't are purely political with no regard as to actual genericization.

          It makes no sense that "Parmesan", "Sangria", and "Champagne" are geographically restricted but "Cheddar" and "Philadelphia cream cheese" aren't.

          Champagne, Switzerland has been producing wine since before Dom Perignon came up with his method of making sparkling wine, but they're not allowed to label it as "Champagne"--that's because everyone knows "Champagne" is a word indicating a particular style, and calling the Swiss (non-sparkling) wine "Champagne" would confuse consumers.

          Once you've recognized that, restricting the name by geography is ludicrous.

          These laws actually serve to confuse consumers, not to help them--things like "port" are style descriptors in the English language. The right thing to do is to require actual claims of geography to be accurate (already the case) and let Duoro label their port as "Made in Duoro", Jerez label their Sherry as "Made in Jerez", etc.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by u38cg (607297)
            I'd agree up to a point; conversely though, in parts of the world where names are unrestricted - like the US - it is possible to buy parmesan cheese (for example) that bears no relationship whatsoever to what we know as Parmesan cheese. It's simply a hard cheddar which is nothing like its namesake, and that to my mind is verging on fraud. There are plenty other examples as well.
          • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

            by jimicus (737525)

            These laws aren't there to help consumers.

            They're there to help the artisan vintners, cheesemakers and other food manufacturers. It's to prevent the giant companies spotting a product is becoming popular and make their own version for half the price (and a quarter the quality) and giving it the same name. I promise you that real Parmesan bears absolutely no resemblance to the bits removed from a verruca scraper that are put in tubs and used to be sold as Parmesan but are now usually called italian-style

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by pthisis (27352)

              They're there to help the artisan vintners, cheesemakers and other food manufacturers. It's to prevent the giant companies spotting a product is becoming popular and make their own version for half the price (and a quarter the quality) and giving it the same name.

              Artisan vintners like Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton?

              Artisan vintners can easily trademark whatever name they're selling under as long as it hasn't already become genericized. This isn't about spotting new products on the rise, it's about redefining

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                Champagne and port have been in the dictionary as generic terms for centuries. Just from the standpoint of IP law, pulling them out of the public domain where they've safely landed and re-protecting them is even dumber than retroactive copyright extensions--and even worse (IMO) is the attempt to legally redefine words that have widely used English meanings.

                During most of that time, port has been produced only in Portugal, and within europe, the term was already restricted and not in the public domain (due to the european PDO system).

                I'm from Portugal. We're a small country whose economy is in a terrible state (much worse than the global economy). One of the few exports we depend on is port wine. If the name of the wine is usurped freely, uninformed consumers merely looking for "port wine" will buy the fake, more widely marketed stuff produced by wealthier com

      • Wine trees were imported to Australia.

        Hungarian wine grows on trees? I did not know that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mangu (126918)

      The following words are mentioned in the USA national anthem, written in 1815, Please do not use them anywhere else:

      a, air, and, as, at, band, banner, battle, be, beam, between, blest, blood, blows, bombs, brave, breeze, bright, broad, bursting, by, can, catches, cause, conceals, confusion, conquer, could, country, dawn, deep, desolation, dimly, discloses, does, doth, draped, dread, early, ever, fight, first, fitfully, flag, flight, foe, footsteps, foul, free, freemen, from, full, gallantly, gave, glare, gl

  • by commlinx (1068272) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @05:43AM (#33473700) Journal
    I don't like the idea much anyway of wine names tied to region names, the grape varietie(s) are more informative and universal. And for novelty wines there are plenty of other names us Aussies can use like "Alice Springs Leg Opener".
    Anyway back to my beer...
    • by grantek (979387) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @05:50AM (#33473720)

      In reality you could just label everything "Plonk", have the grapes/location/year(s) in small text for those interested, and people would still buy it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 16K Ram Pack (690082)
      It's mostly an attempt to con people with that whole "terroir" nonsense. I drink Loire sparkling wine because it's made with the same technique as Champagne, with the same grapes, in an area that isn't that different in climate. And most people I serve it to wouldn't know the difference (it's actually slightly fruitier).
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jeremy Erwin (2054)

        "Terroir" is going to be shot to hell by climate change. Sure, you'll still have soil--Chablis is described as flinty, for instance--, but those notes will play second fiddle to temperature and rainfall.

    • by seasunset (469481) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:07AM (#33474172) Homepage

      This is not a nationalistic/rationalistic thing. Have you tried to take Furmint grapes and plant them say, in Norway? [For the less knowledgeable, it is too far North for this plant]

      I am being extreme but illustrating the main point: a wine is not only the grapes: it is the weather and the soil (and many other factors, actually). This is why most wine is also known by the year: "good" or "bad" years mostly influenced by that years's climate on a specific place.

      Australia has lots of wine variety. It can stand on its own merits. There is no need to hijack names for other places, that actually mean (and taste) different.

      • by arb phd slp (1144717) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:38AM (#33474296) Homepage Journal

        The problem is that I, as a casual consumer, cannot know the dozens of varieties available on the market. I might think that Australian port is my favorite, but how am I supposed to find that product on a shelf after the name change? The product is "port," I've never thought of that as a Brand name. The industry has done a fairly good job communicating to the public that "sparkling wine" and "champagne" are analogous, but what's their strategy for teaching me new names for all these--"Auslese, burgundy, chablis, claret, marsala, moselle, port, and sherry"? I don't know if I have the spare bandwidth in my brain to absorb all that, especially since I don't go to a liquor store for wines more than three or four times per year and thus don't have a lot of exposure to this information.

  • kepsev (Score:4, Funny)

    by photonic (584757) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @05:45AM (#33473702)
    While they're at it, could those EU guys please teach the Ozzies how to properly pronounce the different types of grapes. While I was down there, it took me a while to understand that kepsev (pronounced with nasal Texan accent) means Cabernet Sauvignon ...
    • Re:kepsev (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 04, 2010 @05:57AM (#33473738)

      hahah, welcometo'straya, ya dickhead!

      ffs, honestly. We're a country founded on (probably your) criminals, and we have a habit of making words our own. It's a crim thing. Try it one day. It's no big deal really. We're not changing for you faeries up North, except maybe if we wanna make some money out of ya'.

      Having said that, time to pass the grammar buck and have a whinge of me own; Can you please tell citizens of the USA English by default is not from the US, it from England. Funny that. When I download software with English, I expect it to default to use words like 'centre', 'colour', 'armour', 'aluminium' et al. Fix it arsehats, or I'll find another Slashdot article to bemoan my muelings until my beer runs out and then I'll whine about that, to. Hell, even my browser and linux install are set to UK English and are still telling me I just misspeeled all that.

      And soccer is a valid word. English made it same time as football. Probably because they, like us, have other kinds of footy. So shut up Euro-trash.

      P.S. I bet you're a Pom. And yeah me grammar sucks wewt!

      • Re:kepsev (Score:5, Funny)

        by photonic (584757) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @06:43AM (#33473894)

        P.S. I bet you're a Pom.

        Wrong guess. It was my ancestors that first spotted [wikipedia.org] and mapped [wikipedia.org] Australia, but saw that it was such a godforsaken place that they happily left it for the Brits.

      • Re:kepsev (Score:5, Informative)

        by pthisis (27352) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:01AM (#33474156) Homepage Journal

        Funny that. When I download software with English, I expect it to default to use words like 'centre', 'colour', 'armour', 'aluminium' et al.

        Humphrey Davy, the Englishman who discovered it, named it aluminum. It's not our fault the Brits screwed up the spelling on that one later on.

      • Re:kepsev (Score:5, Funny)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:54AM (#33474350) Journal

        You can have those things when your country gets together as a whole and apologizes to the USA for Yahoo Serious and Paul Hogan! I mean, we save your asses from the Japs in WWII, you give us one of the most iconic car movies of all time with "Mad Max" so we think you're friends and then for NO REASON WHATSOEVER you release that nightmare plague of unfunny upon us. What did we ever do to you? Hell it was bad enough when you gave us Olivia Newton-John, but we were willing to let that slide because she was cute, but Young Einstein? Or Crocodile Dundee II? That should have been declared an act of war!

        So you Aussies get together and say you're sorry, and go back to Imperial Units like God and the Queen intended, and then we'll talk. Its bad enough we have to deal with those pasty Brits getting infected by the metric system by cheese eating surrender monkeys,but at least they try to make up for that by giving us shows like AbFab and The Vicar of Dibly. But releasing Yahoo Serious and Paul Hogan from whatever hellhole you kept them in upon us poor unsuspecting Americans? That was....that was just wrong, and you KNOW it!

    • Re:kepsev (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JohnnyKlunk (568221) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @06:01AM (#33473750)
      Please, learn to spell Aussie before telling us how we should pronounce things. Oh, and if anyone was pronouncing 'Cab Sav' as 'kepsev' it's most likely you were in South Africa, rather than Australia.
      We make some of the worlds best red wines, we are quite comfortable with our pronunciation.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Please, learn to spell Aussie before telling us how we should pronounce things. Oh, and if anyone was pronouncing 'Cab Sav' as 'kepsev' it's most likely you were in South Africa, rather than Australia.

        We make some of the worlds best red wines, we are quite comfortable with our pronunciation.

        I'm Australian of French origin and have seen both spellings frequently. Also props on Sham pain and his cousin sham pagnee, that was a true example of butchering at its finest.

    • by caluml (551744)

      please teach the Ozzies

      ...

      (pronounced with nasal Texan accent)

      Go on. I give up. What am I missing here?

    • Re:kepsev (Score:5, Funny)

      by TapeCutter (624760) * on Saturday September 04, 2010 @07:01AM (#33473934) Journal
      kepsev? - It's "cabsav". /Bloody tourists.
  • As a college student currently study abroad in Australia (Where all kinds of alcohol *except* wine are ridiculously expensive!) this change doesn't mean much to me. I'm hardly a wine connoisseur though, and while labels like "port", "champagne" and "burgundy" make it easier to identify exactly what a specific kind of wine is, its really just brand recognition. Sounds like both parties stand to benefit financially from this deal, so have at it! ...While the rest of you argue about countries and branding I'll

    • (apparently I can't speak english very well either... must be trollyed! s/study/studying)

    • No, it's not brand recognition, it's type recognition. Port and Champagne and Burgundy tell you what kind of taste to expect... will it have bubbles, will it be red, and how strong. This is an attempt to reclaim the use of words that stopped having a brand or regional meaning a very long time ago. Expect to see the same with Feta and Parmesan cheese, for example.

      It's not quite like Chrysler reclaiming the Jeep trademark because that was an actual brand (even if they were late to the party in reclaiming it),

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Both Feta and the proper name of Parmesan enjoy "protected designation of origin" status within the EU already, as well as plenty of other foods such as Parma Ham.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          Both Feta and the proper name of Parmesan enjoy "protected designation of origin" status within the EU already, as well as plenty of other foods such as Parma Ham.

          Sure, but it's BS because they were in common use worldwide to describe the kind of product as opposed to the origin, well before the EU became the EU.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        That's absurd, considering the large portion of the population that things it's red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat, you'll have to forgive me for being somewhat skeptical. Given the degree of change year to year within the same vineyard, or even in the same year across the same vineyard, it's somewhat fanciful to suggest that you really get that much information out of it. I mean there's a reason why they do wine tastings, and it isn't about free wine and socializing.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by ultranova (717540)

          That's absurd, considering the large portion of the population that things it's red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat, you'll have to forgive me for being somewhat skeptical.

          Yeah. It's beer with food and vodka otherwise. Why would anyone want to gulp down rotten fruit juice?

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      Champagne is only allowed to be called champagne if it comes from a very small and specific region in France. If it's not from there, it's just sparkling wine.

      France has a lot of protected labels like this: you may only call your product by a certain name if it is made in the right region, with the right ingredients, and the right processes.

  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @06:15AM (#33473798)

    This is ridiculous. If I buy a Chablis or a Burgundy I want a particular type of wine. So what that these wines originated in certain regions in France? I don't give a damn where it was made. I would say most people who drink them don't know or care either. The end result is that if I buy a Chablis in Australia they will need to call it "dry white". This doesn't help consumers, but it does help some wine producers in France trying to get a monopoly. I'm told by a French friend who is a wine buff that the Aussie wines he can buy are superior to French wines (seriously), so this makes the whole thing sound like a ploy to recapture an ailing market.

    Banning moselle, port, and sherry? What idiot agreed to this? (BTW I thank OP for not capitalising the first letter of these very generic names.)

    I suggest Aussie wine makers label their bottles "Not moselle", "Not port", "Not sherry". Nice way to thumb their noses at certain diary product-eating pacifist primates and the bureaucrats who agreed to this.

    • by KozmoStevnNaut (630146) <henrikstevn@gm a i l .com> on Saturday September 04, 2010 @06:31AM (#33473858)

      I'm told by a French friend who is a wine buff that the Aussie wines he can buy are superior to French wines (seriously)

      I'm not a wine buff, but I've found that Australian, Chilean, South African and Californian wines are generally both better and cheaper than French wines. There are some really great French wines, but 99% of them are overrated.

      When it comes to European wine, I prefer Italian anyway.

      • by loufoque (1400831)

        I'm not a wine buff, but I've found that Australian, Chilean, South African and Californian wines are generally both better and cheaper than French wines.

        Australian, Chilean, South African and Californian wines are better value for money than French ones.
        No need to be a be a wine buff to realize that.

        It is because the French cannot compete in terms of value for money that they want to protect their appellations.
        What they can compete in is in terms of quality, and their Appellations d'Origine Contrôl

      • by hedwards (940851)
        That's largely because French Vineyards have been coasting for sometime on their previous reputation. In Germany for instance it wouldn't be considered acceptable to mix grapes from different portions of the vineyard because of subtle changes in the soil depending upon where precisely it is. Even here in the US, the wine industry has been getting extremely serious about it in recent years. And IIRC that's not just California either, other parts of the US as well. Then there's the other nations you mention,
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      well, Port is the name of the city from where Port wine comes from. And the same goes for many of those names. Of course it is wrong to call a wine Port when it doesn't come from where it says! It's the same as if someone started labelling their products "proudly made in the US" when they weren't, as long it still "felt like a u.s. product" (which is basically your argument).

      The generic name for Port-like wines is "fortified wine" and not "Port". "Scotch whiskey" is whiskey that comes from Scotland, and not

      • by pthisis (27352) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:34AM (#33474282) Homepage Journal

        well, Port is the name of the city from where Port wine comes from. And the same goes for many of those names. Of course it is wrong to call a wine Port when it doesn't come from where it says!

        This is wrong. There is no city named "Port". Strict EU-controlled port comes from all over the Douro region of Portugal.

        It's the same as if someone started labelling their products "proudly made in the US" when they weren't, as long it still "felt like a u.s. product" (which is basically your argument).

        Do you refuse to eat sandwiches unless they're made in Sandwich, cheddar cheese that's not from Cheddar, or Belgian waffles that aren't from Belgium? Do you get really confused when your Russian or Italian dressing is made in the USA, or your Roman candles and Venetian blinds are made in China?

        Are you outraged that most Brazil nuts come from Bolivia and confused about how a salon can offer a French manicure and a Brazilian wax when none of the employees are from France or Brazil?

        Port, champagne, parmesan, and many other words that originated as geographic monikers have long since become English words with stylistic (rather than geographic) meanings.

        • by blueg3 (192743) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @12:40PM (#33475648)

          You're splitting hairs. The city is properly written "Porto" or "Oporto" today. The name of the wine, "Port", is actually named after that city. The wine does in fact come from the region that includes that city, but the city exists and the wine is named after it.

          The practice of using the name of a well-known wine to describe your product has two problems. One, it's actually much more recent that you suggest. Two, it was almost exclusively done to confuse consumers and get a higher price for your wine by suggesting that your wine is similar to this other, well-known style. Except that this was primarily done by early New World purveyors of crap wine (e.g., certain makers of jug wine).

          In fact, the stigma caused by low-quality wine producers of a few decade ago using European place-names as false descriptors is bad enough that most good wine makers in all the New World countries do not label their wines in this fashion. This includes Australia, as a matter of fact. Good exported Australian wines all follow the grape-name convention and don't piggyback on European place-names. (One of the examples given, Tokay, is a weird exception. It's become common to refer to one of the grapes used for this wine as "Tokay", or variants. But then, there are a bunch of those old grapes that they're still trying to figure out the genetic history of.)

          One of the major problems of borrowing European descriptors is that, outside of Europe, they're uncontrolled descriptors. That is, they have no legally-enforced restrictions on their use. I know you and other people here like to claim that they're useful to consumers, but that's simply not true. For wine, all uncontrolled descriptors are absolutely worthless, because they are widely abused. If you're in the U.S. and a wine calls itself "Burgundy", all you really know is that it'll probably be red. (You can also guess, because of the aforementioned stigma, that it'll suck.) If you want to make helpful comparisons, you can do it in the descriptive text, in which it's perfectly acceptable to say that the wine is made "in the style of X". The wine "name" and other front-label data should almost entirely use legally-controlled terms, because they're actually reliable and thus useful to the consumer.

      • The generic name for Port-like wines is "fortified wine" and not "Port".

        That's untrue. Port is a fortified wine, but not the only one by far. Amontillado, vermouth, madeira... are fortified wines too.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Melkhior (169823)

      If I buy a Chablis or a Burgundy I want a particular type of wine. So what that these wines originated in certain regions in France?

      They didn't "originate". If it's a burgundy, then it hast to come from the region of Burgundy. It's that simple. Also, for the record: if you buy a Chablis, you also buy a Burgundy. Chablis is a sub-region of Burgundy.

      I don't give a damn where it was made. I would say most people who drink them don't know or care either.

      Some of us haven't ruined their taste buds with bad beers and ketchup sauce, so we do care. Where the wine was produced makes a lot of difference to the taste. If you can't tell the difference, please go back to drinking Budweiser.

      I'm told by a French friend who is a wine buff that the Aussie wines he can buy are superior to French wines (seriously), so this makes the whole thing sound like a ploy to recapture an ailing market.

      There is no such thing as "superior", either way. There is suc

      • by bheer (633842) <rbheer@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Saturday September 04, 2010 @06:58AM (#33473928)

        > Some of us haven't ruined their taste buds with bad beers and ketchup sauce, so we do care.

        But would you be able to prove that you can detect geographic differences in a double-blind taste test [winetastingguy.com]?

      • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @07:34AM (#33474068)
        Wow, ketchup is a surprisingly complex taste. But I wouldn't expect you to know that. Besides, what about Champagne, Switzerland, under your theory it wasn't legitimate for them to call their sparkling wine champagne, even though they've been doing it for centuries prior to being told they had to stop recently. There must've been some confusion. But thank goodness that French said non, because now wine connoisseurs won't have to read the label closely, wait, this doesn't actually help that as different portions of that region aren't identical every year?
      • > Some of us haven't ruined their taste buds with bad beers ... If you can't tell the difference, please go back to drinking Budweiser.

        You mean the fake Budweiser sold in the US, or beer sold in eské Budjovice (German: Budweis) in the Czech Republic?

      • by ultranova (717540)

        Australia, California, Chile, Algeria all make very good wines. They just aren't Burgundy, or Champagne. Would you expect a "Scotch Whisky" to come from Polland? Obviously no. It doesn't preclude Japanese to make great Single Malt Whiskies.

        The problem with this argument is that more people associate Scotland with a geographic location than whisky, while more people associate Champagne with a type of wine than a geographic location. The very fact that you felt the need to qualify "Scotch" with "Whisky" is e

      • It's way too late to regard them as trademarks, they aren't. I don't think it's a good idea to start making another kind of intellectual property, which is what this really is.

        To me, it looks like wineries in certain parts of Europe can't take competition so they use their scheme to nose out competitors from other regions. They can't stand on their own legs with their own brands and own reputation, so they have to make this sort of odd geo-brand with the force of government. It's really another form of p

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by arb phd slp (1144717)

        Would you expect a "Scotch Whisky" to come from Polland? Obviously no. It doesn't preclude Japanese to make great Single Malt Whiskies. They just don't make Scotch Whiskies.

        Think of it as a trademark, shared by all the producers from one geographic region. You can't buy a Macintosh from Hewlett-Packard, can you? So why should you be able to buy a Burgundy from someone that isn't located in the region of Burgundy, and therefore doesn't share in the trademark?

        (Emphasis mine)

        But there's a system in place for establishing and protecting trademarks and the regional producers never used it. Generally, once you stop protecting a trademark, you lose it. Why are they able to fight this now so late in the game?

    • by aepervius (535155)
      Appelation Origin Controlled. It is a standard which emans that not only a specific recept was used, but the product come from a specific region. One can protest against such a label and standard but it is as they exists. When some people buy champagne they *expect* it to come from the region of champagne, and if it comes from california they feel themselves cheated. Personally I agree with you, I care only for the taste not the country it was made in, but some people do, expect AOC label to be respected. I
    • The US, Australia, and others have gotten really good at making wines. Good likes winning top awards at international festivals good. This pisses off the French. Wine was supposed to be THEIR thing. When the Americans first started making wine they were supportive because they thought it was cute. "Oh you go and make your cheap wine, it is much worse than ours but it is ok for cheap stuff." Then American wine started beating theirs and they got huffy.

      That is somethign that has always perplexed me about alco

      • by andersh (229403) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @12:49PM (#33475690)

        Sorry, but you really don't understand this. This has nothing to do with the French despite the number of wines and products from France involved.

        Did you notice the mention of Port and Tokay? Those are Portuguese and Hungarian products. They're every bit as interested in protecting their unique products and names.

        However the central issue here is trade within the European Union. The external markets are really just secondary to the internal trade within the EU.

        The EU is working hard to create a level playing field between the different EU nations [and companies within the region]. To ordinary consumers and citizens this might seem strange sometimes, however I can assure you that the reasoning is very sane.

        You might not care about where they come from, but as producers and consumers we certainly do care. What you call "common names" is in reality not that, a Port has it's origins in Portugal, you might not understand this but I can assure you many Europeans do.

        In many ways it's both a matter of national and regional pride, and a matter of preserving culture and jobs. It's especially interesting in the context of globalization but also within the increasingly unified European Union. In the face of ever increasing competition centuries old names suddenly need to go from merely respected names to actual legal trademarks.

        This has nothing to do with the freedom to create similar products, but you may not abuse the names in the European market. If you wish to sell your [for example Australian] product in Europe you must respect our laws on the matter.

        And in case you don't know this these laws have had a much greater effect in Europe where the competition has already been forced to stop using these names. One example is the huge Danish dairy products corporation, Arla, that had to rename all kinds of cheeses that were suddenly reserved for Greek and Italian regions.

    • by lakeland (218447) <lakeland@acm.org> on Saturday September 04, 2010 @07:18AM (#33473998) Homepage

      I think you've missed the point. The purpose of the names like Bordeaux, Burgundy, Chianti, etc. is not to tell you that it is good, though it does usally tell you that it is at least ok. It is to tell you that it is in the style that the area is famous for. An Australian Pinot Noir might be stunning, but you can't meaningfully call it Burgundy because it isn't that style. It might be better than every wine made in Burgundy, but it still _isn't_ burgundy.

      If Australia's winemakers ever cooperate enough to develop a distinct style that's consistent along say the Barossa valley say then by all means call it Barossa wine instead of Shiraz. But until then, I think it's much clearer to talk about the quality of Australian wine and use a generic name like Chardonnay rather than the name of a region in France that probably does not stylistically match the Australian wine anyway.

      Even the Europeans do this. If you are making wine in Chianti and want to do something differently then you _cannot_ call your wine Chianti - because it isn't wine made in the style of that region. What it means is that when you pick up a bottle of Chianti, you know what you're buying (though not the quality). Australian Chardonnay could be anything, from a subtle unoaked variety to a monster.

    • by cuby (832037)
      yeah right. So, imagine you are in Australia, you decide to produce, lets say... Port. From your point of view you obviously have the right to use the name Port even if its based in the name of a Portuguese city and is famous because 250 years of refinement made it that way... Your contribution to that? Earn money over generations of other peoples work and not giving anything back. Move to Portugal, Make Port over there.
    • by drsquare (530038) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @09:01AM (#33474394)

      What I don't get is if these new world wines are so great, why they don't have any pride in their own regions and have to name them after places in Europe.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Because people know wine styles by those regional names. Of course as they are more successful at getting others to stop using those region names, the less valuable those region names are. When I first started drinking wine, I often ordered a "burgundy" wine because I liked the style, I did not care where it came from (generally I preferred that it not be from France because the French wines that were in my budget were terrible). I moved on to other wines since then and only recently started drinking Pinot
  • I'm not sure what a 2L law student and wine law enthusiast is doing posting to Slashdot, but given the legendary inability of most Slashdotters to gain the attention of the fairer sex, I'd say Lindsey could be a hit!

    Move over NYCL, you've met your match. :-)

  • See this is why I stay with Mad Dog 20/20, never changed it's name, never will! (Considering a large portion of its customer base is illiterate and/or too drunk to read anyhow it wouldn't really matter but....)
    • What's the word? Thunderbird! What's the action? Satisfaction! What's the price? Fifty cents twice!

      Back in my university days, a lot of eating clubs and other student organizations were holding "French wine & Cheese" parties. My club countered with a "Wines of the Bowery Night." It featured amoung Mad Dog 20/20, other such favorites as Thunderbird and Night Train. They tasted very god-awful, but after a few swigs, you were too toasted to really give a damn.

      I think everyone there remembered havi

  • Pf, Wine (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GeniusDex (803759) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @07:09AM (#33473964) Homepage

    Decent people drink beer, not wine. And since all good beer comes from Belgium, there is no need for geolocation of names.

    P.S.: I know that good beer also comes from other countries, but accounting for that would require a different argument.

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      Even within Belgium, there are different areas specialized in different kind of beers.

      I don't know about Belgium, but I know that there are 57 different wine appellations in the region around the French city of Bordeaux alone.

  • I like the idea of Australia being a major wine power.

    Suppose the US, China or Russia tried to attack us, being superior military powers.

    We simply get their military drunk, and we win.

    He who rules the vine, rules the world! Bwahahaha!

  • by jd2112 (1535857) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @10:49AM (#33474928)
    Th next step is to re-label all Australian beer 'Fosters'

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