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Croatia fights for right to use Teran on labels

Published:  02 May, 2013

Croatian winemakers have said they will continue to fight a European Union ruling preventing them from using grape variety Teran on wine labels, but their fate lies in the hand of Slovenian politicians.

From July 1, Croatia's accession to the EU means it must stop referring to "Teran" on wines for sale within the 28-nation bloc. EU rules state Teran is a protected designation of origin belonging solely to Slovenia's Kras region.

The rule is a blow to Croatian winemakers looking to raise their profile in key European markets, including the UK. Croatia argues that Teran, or Terrano in Italian, is a generic grape variety and cannot be subject to a PDO.

"Imagine if people started applying for PDOs for Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon," said Marino Gerzinic of family-owned Gerzinic winery, which produces wine from Teran grapes in Istria.

"We have all of the proof, all the details," he added, referring to a winemaker-led campaign to continue using Teran.

"The first thing we will try to do is solve this problem between our Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry in Slovenia, but if we can't do that we'll have to go to the EU," he told Harpers.

Privately, EU sources have told Harpers a cross-border PDO on Teran is theoretically possible. But the sources said all parties would have to sign a formal application and any deal rests on securing the agreement of the Slovenian government.
Gerzinic was previously part of a deal between Italian, Slovenian and Croatian winemakers to share the Teran name. Another proposed solution has been to print "Istrian Teran" on labels.