Geographic Indications at last!

Trinity Hill vineyards in Hawkes Bay (Photo: Trinity Hill Wines)

On 27 July 2017, the Geographic Indications (Wines and Spirits) Registration Act 2006 came into force. It has taken 11 years since the Act was passed for it to be finalised. That seems to be an indecent amount of time for an important piece of legislation that will protect local wine regions and help remove trade barriers against exports to the EU.

What are Geographic Indications (GI)?

“A sign used on wines and spirits from a specific geographic location which possess a quality, reputation or other characteristic linked to that location.”

Typically a GI is the place name from which the product originates. For example, the name Champagne properly refers to sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region in France.

Unlike most other intellectual property rights, GIs are collective rights – there is no “owner” as such, as there is with a trade mark. Any trader who complies with the provisions governing the use of the GI (including any registration conditions) is entitled to use it.

A GI reinforces the value of wines and spirits.

Producers must apply for a GI

It costs NZD $5,000 to apply to register a GI, NZD $2,000 to renew it for the first time (after five years) and NZD $500 for subsequent renewals.

A GI takes a minimum of six months to acquire.

18 GI applications were made just after midnight on 27th July 2017. They were for:

  • Northland
  • Auckland
  • Matakana
  • Kumeu
  • Waiheke Island
  • Gisborne
  • Hawke’s Bay
  • Central Hawke’s Bay
  • Wairarapa
  • Gladstone
  • Martinborough
  • Nelson
  • Marlborough
  • Canterbury
  • North Canterbury
  • Waipara Valley
  • Waitaki Valley North Otago
  • Central Otago

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