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Wine News

Italian dispute leaves wine nameless

What do you put on the label of a bottle of wine that doesn’t have a name? That’s the problem right now for producers in Friuli Venezia Giulia in Northern Italy who are ready to bottle the 2007 vintage of what they used to call Tocai.

The issue has come about because under Hungary’s accession to the EU, it was agreed that the country would have sole use of the name Tokaji and winemakers in Italy and Alsace would relinquish the name. The Italians were given until last March to find another and most agreed the wine should be called Friulano abroad as Tocai is grown in Friuli Venezia Giulia, while the regional government passed a law allowing it to marketed under its old name in Italy.

However, a band of producers from Trieste took legal action to block the use of the name Friulano and twice won their case.

‘You can imagine how serious this question is for all the Friuli Venezia Giulia winemakers who do not know how to mark their wine,’ Livia Nocenti of the FederDoc regional trade body, Federazione dei Consorzi Tutela Vini del Friuli Venezia Giulia, told ThirtyFifty.

Livia added that producing a wine with no name means that about 70,000 hectolitres of DOC wine will become just vin de pays or vino da tavola, which requires less commitment from producers to make a quality wine, so there is concern that the reputation of Tocai/Friulano will be diminished. Not only that but wines graded vins de pays or vino da tavola rather than DOC also fetch a lower price.

The decision on the nameless wine now goes to the European Court, but Livia said that it ‘quite surely will not allow using Tocai’, adding, ‘We really hope that this huge problem will be solved as soon as possible.’