Labelling law change: Australian ‘sherry’ and ‘port’ forbidden

  • November 30, 2011
  • Matt Paish

A change to the Wine Australia Corporation Act 1980 means that from now on, ‘Sherry’ produced in Australia must no longer be called “sherry” but can be called ‘Cream, crusted/crusting and solera fortified’; and ‘Port’ is now called ‘Vintage, ruby and tawny fortified’. It is also possible for Australian wine-makers to invent their own descriptor or trademark as another option.

The change in law was included in an Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) report released last week, titled ‘Shipments of Wine and Brandy in Australia by Australian Winemakers and Importers, September 2011’.

The law change was made by amendments to the Wine Australia Corporation Act, which prescribes labelling conditions relating to geographical indications. Australia is a party to a treaty signed during the 1990s implemented by the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation under commitments made by Australian and the EU. Geographical indications and national traditional terms of winemaking were originally intended to have been protected by 1997. However, the legislative processes in Australia and in the EU have been proceeding slowly.

The word ‘sherry’ is an anglicisation of Jerez, a municipality in Spain where the white grapes traditionally used to make the drink are grown. ‘Port’ is a drink defined by its origin in the northern provinces of Portugal, near Porto.

Other examples of geographical indications include the term ‘Champagne’, which famously refers to wine produced exclusively within the Champagne region of France.


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4 Responses to “Labelling law change: Australian ‘sherry’ and ‘port’ forbidden”

  1. Trevor Ranford on November 30th, 2011 5:06 pm

    Does this mean that Port Melbourne will now be known as Vintage fortefied Melbourne and Port Adelaide will be known as Ruby fortefied Adelaide.

    What a joke. If the product comes from ‘Porto’ how can that stop the use of the term Port.

    Australia should stand up to the European countries who are dictating this rubbish

  2. Mrs. Glen Ireland on December 6th, 2011 11:06 am

    We made the decision some time ago to use the word “trop” – we have actually just reversed the letters – looks Greek, and gets a lot of attention.

  3. Phil on January 8th, 2012 2:08 pm

    I think they have every right to protect their industry. If the Spanish started labelling wines as “Barossa Valley Shiraz” The Australian wine industry would be kicking up a huge stick about it. It may only be only be a name to some but to others that name is an identity

  4. Robert Dancer on July 5th, 2013 12:29 pm

    Many novel schemes – in this case (npi) just and non-misleading labelling – take outsiders time for considered maturation (npi). In this example Australian legislators and negotiators have, in my view done their job well. This is not an example of PC, such as the renaming of a Queanbeyan area as “Freebody Park” instead of the original “Freeman Park”!

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