Colloquium at Bond University on Monday 12 February saw the Granite Belt weigh in to a Geographical Indications (GI) debate with EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan. Organised by the Centre for Commercial Law, the event investigated how the European experience can inform the local debate about more effective protection for local brands and rural communities and was attended by over 80 stakeholders.

Fourth generation vigneron Leeanne Puglisi-Gangemi represented Ballandean Estate and the Granite Belt with her insightful presentation on The experience with GIs: Benefits for wine and other industries in a declared GI region. “Wine drinkers want to know where their wine comes from, and wine producers want protection against competitors who take a free ride on the hard-earned reputation of their unique products. Australia has yet to adopt the EU’s twin GI model for food and wine—as it stands, only the wine industry has registered Geographic Indicators, around 109 at last count,” says Puglisi-Gangemi.

GIs, or geographical indications, identify a product that originates in a specific region where a particular characteristic is attributable to its geographical origin. In Australia, GIs are only applied to wine regions at the moment, 109 Australian wine GIs are already protected in Europe under a longstanding, mutually beneficial agreement sealed in 1994, The GI system is designed to protect the use of the regional name under international law and is governed by the Geographical Indications Committee, overseen by Wine Australia.

European Union Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan is visiting Australia to lay the groundwork for an EU-Australia free trade agreement. Find out more about the development online.

Readers also enjoyed this story about Drink Pink Wednesdays.