title for Appellations note
home | about | site use | resources | publications | timeline   spacer graphic   Ketupa







related pages icon


related pages icon


& Fraud


section heading icon     Australia

This page considers appellations schemes in Australia and New Zealand.

It covers -


TRIPs does not specify the mechanism through which members implement their geographical indication obligations under that agreement.

The Australian scheme centres on the Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation Amendment Act 1993 (AWBCAA), Commonwealth legislation that gives effect to the Australian-EC Wine Accord on Appellations of Origin for Brandy & Wine.

The Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation Act 1980 characterises geographical indication as

  • a word or expression used in the description and presentation of the wine to indicate the country, region or locality in which the wine originated; or
  • a word or expression used in the description and presentation of the wine to suggest that a particular quality, reputation or characteristic of the wine is attributable to the wine having originated in the country, region or locality indicated by the word or expression.

The Accord fostered creation of Geographic Indications made up of zones, regions and subregions, documented in a national Register maintained by the Corporation. That demarcation was concerned with ensuring authenticity rather than a definitive assessment of quality.

By 1996 Australia had been subdivided into broad zones, albeit with little basis in geological or climactic particularities, and regions. A region must be discrete and homogenous in its growing attributes, contain at least five differently owned vineyards of at least five hectares each and produce at least 500 tonnes of grapes per year. Australia agreed to phase out use of generic names such as champagne, burgundy and sherry that had been used for wines produced and consumed within the country.

The Accord was complemented by a Label Integrity Program (LIP) under the auspices of the Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation (AWBC). Initially the LIP required that if a region or grape variety was named on a bottle, 80% of the what was in the bottle had to comply. (95% of the wine had to comply if a particular vintage was stated.) Those figures were later changed to 85%. The AWBC was in charge of keeping records and auditing claims.

Australia meets TRIPs obligations in relation to other geographical indications through common law (passing off), consumer protection and unfair competition law.

The salient legislation is the national

  • Trade Practices Act 1974, aimed at preventing misleading conduct, including representations concerning the place of origin of goods
  • Trade Marks Act 1995, which allows for registration of a geographical indication term, subject to meeting certain criteria.

underpinned by state/territory legislation (fair trading and food safety enactments) and codes such as the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) Labelling & Advertising Standard.

The Trade Marks Act 1995 characterises 'geographical indication' in relation to "goods originating in a particular country or in a region
or locality of that country" as a sign recognised in that country to indicate that the goods -

  • originated in that country, region or locality; and
  • have a quality, reputation or other characteristic attributable to their geographical origin.

     New Zealand

New Zealand instituted a voluntary Certified Origin system for wine in 1994, reflecting developments in Australia and pressure from the EU. A Geographical Indications Bill was passed in that year but not implemented. It was superseded by new legislation, the Geographical Indications (Wine & Spirits) Registration Act, in 2006. The legislation is underpinned by the common law offence of passing off and by Section 9 of the Fair Trading Act 1986, which provides that "no person shall, in trade, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive".

The New Zealand regime features a hierarchy of geographical indications -

  • New Zealand
  • North Island or South Island
  • sixteen regions
  • localities
  • vineyard.

As in other wine producing nations with appellation regimes, 85% of the grapes in each wine had to comply with claims regarding geographic area, vintage or vine variety. Wineries were required to
keep detailed records for auditing and enforcement of the Certified Origin system.

The 2004 Geographical Indications legislation provides

  • prohibition on using a geographical indication for wines and spirits that do not originate from the area indicated
  • use of a register, with a geographical indication indicating that a wine or spirit originates from a defined area and that the quality, reputation or other characteristic of the wine or spirit is essentially attributable to that geographical origin;
  • treatment of breaches of the prohibition as breaches of the Fair Trading Act
  • use of an expert committee to provide advice to the Registrar.


Cases in New Zealand have included -

Comite Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne v Wineworths Group Limited [1991] 2 NZLR 432. French wine interests argued a proprietary right in the name 'champagne', alleging that Wineworths, the defendant, was engaged in passing off by advertising and selling a sparkling wine under the names 'Australian Champagne' and 'Brut Champagne'. The court found that in New Zealand the name 'champagne' was distinctive for the French product and was not used generically to describe any white sparkling wine. It was accordingly deceptive for traders to seek to attach themselves to that product's reputation by using the name to describe sparkling wine made outside France's Champagne region.

Anheuser-Busch v Budweiser Budvar
[2001] 3 NZLR 666

In Australia, as Stephen Stern noted in 2001, litigation occurred between the Koppamurra Wine Company and other vignerons in the same area of south eastern South Australia wishing to register Koppamurra as the name of a region and a geographical indication. Litigation between the proprietor of the 'Port Phillip Estate' winery in Victoria's Mornington Peninsula and a party selling its wines using the registered geographical indication 'Port Phillip' was settled before a final court decision was made.

   next page  (Europe)

this site
the web




version of February 2006
© Caslon Analytics