Product origin law protection welcome

Wine producers in the region are ''overjoyed'' a law to help protect the Central Otago brand is a step closer to being implemented.

Central Otago Winegrowers Association president James Dicey said it was great news a Bill which enabled New Zealand wine and spirit makers to register the geographical origins of their products had been passed.

''This is something we're very keen to see implemented, so we're very happy the Bill has been passed - overjoyed, I'd say.''

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith said the law would probably take effect from early next year. Mr Dicey said it would give legal recognition that a wine or spirit came from a certain area.

''It's a very important piece of legislation in protecting what's important to us, our sense of place, our turangawaewae,'' he said.

It would protect the Central Otago ''brand''.

As well as legally recognising New Zealand wines generally as a brand, it would also recognise Marlborough sauvignon blanc and Central Otago pinot noir.

''We've still got some talking to do about the various subregions within Central Otago. The boundaries of some are easily defined but that's not the case in other subareas, which complicates things, but that's a discussion we'll continue to have,'' Mr Dicey said.

Mr Goldsmith said the law would make it easier for exporters to promote and protect wines in some overseas markets.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the organisation welcomed the Bill as a ''significant advance'' for this country's wine industry.

''Our 'geographical indications' - the names and places where our wines come from - are at the very heart of the New Zealand wine story and this new law provides an additional level of protection for them.''

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