Recently, Napa Valley Vintners Association (“NVVA”) announced that Brazil has formerly recognized that Napa Valley is of Geographical Indication (“GI”) status. Brazil will now protect Napa Valley from misuse of the wine region’s name within Brazil’s borders. (See Napa Valley Vintners Announce GI Status Approval in Brazil.)
The news was announced at this year’s International Wine Law Association conference in Bento Goncalves, Brazil. Brazil is a new world wine region, but the country is among one of the top wine producers worldwide. Currently, Brazil ranks as the thirteenth greatest wine producing country, ranking higher than New Zealand and Greece. Currently, the Napa Valley GI is recognized in areas including the EU, Thailand, India, and Canada. (See Napa Deal Bolsters US and Brazilian Ties.)
The new agreement extends from an agreement between the United Stated and Brazil from earlier this year. In the previous agreement, the United States agreed to recognize cachaça as an exclusive product of Brazil while Brazil agreed to restrict the use of the name bourbon and Tennessee whiskey to whiskeys distilled only in Kentucky and Tennessee. (Under previous regulations, the United States required cachaça to be labeled, “Brazilian rum,” without any restrictions on the use of cachaça on products from other countries or even within the United States.) (See, e.g., Brazil, U.S. Move to Boost Cachaca, Tennessee Whiskey, Trade.) The prior agreement between the two countries received favorable responses from many, specifically noting that “[t]his exchange of letters represents a very positive development for both of our industries, and reflects our Governments’ commitment to stronger bilateral trade ties.” (Id. quoting U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.)
The recognition of Napa Valley’s geographical significance throughout the world helps promote the brand identity of the wine region, and will continue to enforce the region’s significance as additional countries recognize Napa. The recent developments between the two world wine regions maintains the importance of geographical significance and identification between different wine regions and enforces the idea that geographical identity is of continuing significance.