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Additional Transnational Wine Trade Agreements

Montalcino, Italy.

Montalcino, Italy.

In the past, with respect to transnational wine trade agreements, many of On Reserve’s entries discuss the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (“TRIPS”), the Agreement Between the European Community and the United States of American on Trade in Wine, and the Agreement Between the European Community and Australia on Trade in Wine. It is noteworthy, however, to recognize that many other nations throughout the world have trade agreements with the European Union. Additional wine trade agreements with the European Union, or agreements encompassing wine trade, are summarized as follows:

  • Canada—Canada presently maintains a wine trade agreement with the European Union that is the product of three years of negotiations between the two powers. The Agreement, The Agreement Between the European Community and Canada on Trade in Wines and Spirit Drinks, contains provisions related to trademarks and geographical indications, production and quality standards for wines and spirits, and the role of independent audits and provincial authorities in Canada to ensure regulations are enforced properly. One of the major contentions in forming the updated trade agreement between Canada and the EU entailed recognizing certain wines and spirits as non-generic. Similar to the United States, Canada recognized many European wine and spirits as generic—such as Champagne, Port/Porto, Sherry,  Chablis, Burgundy, Sauterne, Grappa, Marc, and Ouzo—that the EU acknowledged as warranting heightened protection. The EU’s aim in this agreement was to induce heightened protection for some of the wines and spirits names that Canada categorized as generic and classify these names as geographical indications. The EU-Canada Agreement recognized three “phase out” stages for a number of wines and spirits Canada previously recognized as generic, including (but not limited to) Chablis, Champagne, Port/Porto, Sherry, Burgundy, Rhin/Rhine, Grappa, Ouzo, and Pacharan. In exchange for Canada’s recognition of European wines and spirits names, the EU agreed to protect Canadian Rye Whisky as a distinctive product from Canada.
  • Chile—In November 2002, Chile and the European Union entered an agreement titled the Agreement on Establishing Association Between the European Community and its Member States, Of the One Part, and the Republic of Chile, Of the Other Part. Section 6 of the Agreement, titled “Wines and Spirits,” refers to Annexes V and VI of the Agreement, which are formally known as the Agreement on Trade in Wine and the Agreement on Trade in Spirit Drinks and Aromatised Drinks. The entire EU-Chile Agreement contains provisions relating to geographical indications, but Annexes V and VI specifically regulate wine trade between the two parties. Annexes V and VI function “on the basis of non-discrimination and reciprocity, to facilitate and promote trade in wine produced in Chile and in the Community . . . .” (Agreement on Establishing Association Between the European Community and its Member States, Of the One Part, and the Republic of Chile, Of the Other Part, Annex 5.) The core of the EU-Chile Wine Trade Agreement defines geographical indications and traditional expressions and the terms and conditions for registering and using a trademark.
  • Mexico—In 1997, Mexico and the EU signed an Agreement titled the Agreement Between the European Community and the United Mexican States on the Mutual Recognition and Protection of Designations for Spirit Drinks. Under the EU-Mexico Agreement, both parties agreed to protect the denominations of origin of certain spirits products, such as Tequila, Mezcal, Whisky, Grappa, and Cognac. Article 4 of the Agreement reserved use of these geographical indications exclusively by their places of origin indicated by the designations. Article 4 extends to phrases that imply a product is similar to the original geographical indication, including “type,” “style,” “kind,” and “method,” but not produced in the area reserved to the designation of origin. Like many of its predecessors, the EU-Mexico Agreement contains provisions governing homonymous names, administrative measures and legal proceedings, and two annexes listing the protected geographical indications for wines and spirits in the EU and the appellations of origins for spirits in Mexico.
  • South Africa—In 2002, South African signed an agreement with the EU that warrants heightened protection for many geographical indications originating in the EU. The agreement, Agreement Between the European Community and the Republic of South Africa on Trade in Wine, is the product of many negotiations and struggles between the two wine powers; the EU, in its traditional fashion, sought heightened protection for a list of its wine names, including Port and Sherry. As is a continual pattern in many of the negotiations between the EU and other wine powers, obtaining this protection was a struggle with South Africa, whose global influence as a wine producer continually expands. However, the final EU-South Africa Agreement grants stronger protection to geographical indications and appellations of origins than regulations outlined in the TRIPS Agreement, as South African agreed to phase out the use of Port and Sherry on its wine products. Additional provisions under the EU-South Africa Agreement include recognizing oenological processes (including accepting future practices developed by either party). The two powers also signed an agreement regulating spirits in 2002, Agreement Between the European Community and the Republic of South Africa on Trade in Spirits, which requires increased protection for a list of geographical indications for spirits, including Grappa, Ouzo, and Pacharan, after a transitional period.
There are additional agreements between the EU and other bodies, including Switzerland and Croatia, which are available for review at European Commission: Bilateral Agreements.
Quinta Nova, Ferrão; Oporto, Porto, Portugal.

Quinta Nova, Ferrão; Oporto, Porto, Portugal.


For more information on wine or alcohol law, international trade, or distribution, please contact Lindsey Zahn.

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is for general information purposes only, is not intended to constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice.

Lindsey A. Zahn


Lindsey is the founder and author of On Reserve: A Wine Law Blog. She is an alcohol beverage and food attorney and is admitted to the New York State Bar.

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