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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Michele Shah

An EU regulation that protects the use of some of Europe's oldest and most culturally rooted historical and traditional names, including wine labels, has come under threat by its own member countries. On 29 January, members of the EU outvoted member countries, including France, Greece, Italy and Portugal, in a proposal to amend the above regulation. The reason for this turnaround is a political one, in response to WTO's pressure and accusation of EU's over protectionism,' said Giuseppe Martelli, president of Assenologi. More than 100 territorial viticultural names, including 17 Italian names, are now in danger of being subjected to wine-piracy'. The situation is very serious. We risk losing our cultural and territorial heritage by falling right into the hands of "wine-piracy" whereby non-EU countries will legally be able to sell Brunello from Argentina, Amarone from South Africa, Morellino from New Zealand, Recioto from Australia or Vin Santo from Chile,' said Martelli. Wine producer and technical associations including Coldiretti, Confagricoltura, Federvini, Unione Italiana Vini, Conf.Cooperative, Lega Cooperative, Assenologi and Federdoc have decided to unite and attend a meeting at the Ministry of Agriculture on 5 February to contest the regulation, which is scheduled to be ratified in the next three weeks.