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Monday, August 24, 2009

GOSH: Iceland seeks entry to EU, claims name "Icewine"

TRAWNA - (GOSH Wine News Services) - In a dramatic announcement today,
Iceland is laying claim to the term Icewine. As a condition of entry in to
the European Union, Iceland has asked the EU to control the word. All wines
from Iceland are to be named Icewine.

Apparently, the country of Iceland wants into the wine action. With global
warming, their vines should propagate quite nicely, and they want name
protection. Bjork has agreed to be the national spokesperson; she will be
prominently featured on billboards and TV videos, touting the wonders of an
elixir Icewine.

The country is claiming PDO status: Protected Designation of Origin. The
protection of geographical indications was extended to foodstuffs and other
agricultural products in 1992. Given the widely different national
provisions, power has been given to the European Commission to ensure a
harmonized protection across the European Union. It is currently governed by
the Regulation on the protection of geographical indications and
designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs (No

In Canada, a 2003 agreement made with the EU provides for protection of the
names of wine and spirits. The new classification of names will be done in
phases. By the end of 2013, all of the affected names will be protected,
including Chablis, Champagne, Port, and Sherry. Now, with the projected
entry of Iceland into the EU, the name Icewine has been added to that list.

Both the Wine Council of Ontario and the Vintner's Quality Alliance are
furious; many individual wineries and grape growers are terrified, dazed and

"This could not have happened at a worse time," says Jim Warren, currently
president of the majority of Ontario wineries. "We know that there is an
oversupply of Icewine in this country and we are doing our level best to
move the product. The 200 mL bottle should help, especially if Icewine is
displayed on the perfume counters. We're even playing with atomizers.

"We know that we've got to move by 2013. We're spending a lot of time and
money on marketing, such as cross-promoting icewine martinis, icewine
chocolates, icewine yogurt, and double-double ices (wine and cream). We'll
just have to do better."

It had been proposed that all interested parties in Canada brainstorm to
come up with a new name for Icewine post-2013, such as "Frostwine",
"Frostbite", "Frostbyte", "Permawine", Permafrostwine", "Hoarfrost Wine",
and others.

Focus groups have apparently liked the shortened "Hoarwine", finding it more
appropriate (Hoar is the Norse God of Revenge), and even naughty. One wine
blogger commented, "Can you just imagine the label "Strut Hoarwine"? Or
"Girls Night Out Hoarwine"? It'll revolutionize marketing in Canada."

Key protagonists in this issue are pointing fingers, playing the blame game:
it is all the fault of the LCBO for not listing more Icewine; wine writers
should given more copy space to Icewine; the Conservative government has too
many enemies in the EU; and the tree huggers didn't believe in Icewine
anyway since the climate will be too warm after 2013.

The European Union's new wine regulations came into force as of August 1,
2009, ushering in a new era for the European wine industry. The hotly
debated plans - agreed by agriculture ministers in December 2007 - aim to
modernise the European wine trade and improve its competitiveness in the
face of a growing challenge from the New World.

The reform will also bring in new simpler labelling laws. All wine labels
are now allowed to mention grape variety and vintage on the label. The
French AOC becomes AOP (Appellation d'Origin Protegée) and the equivalent of
vin de pays wines will now be known as IGPs (Indication Geographique
Protegée). Iceland would have control of "Icewine" as an AOP, IGP, and

But Mariann Fischer Boel, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural
Development, said: "Member States and producers have a great opportunity to
make the best use of the new wine regime to build on Europe's international
reputation for excellence. I truly believe this marks a turning point in our
wine sector's history."

The money that used to fund distillation subsidies will now be redirected to
wine promotion and the modernisation of vineyards and cellars. Iceland has
applied for a larger "newest member" share of these funds, claiming that its
vineyards are an emerging agribusiness.

The New World has seen its share of global wine sales rise from 3% in 1990
to 30% in 2008, according to the OIV.

More from Brett Grimsby, our top investigative wine reporter, as this
dramatic story unfolds over the NEXT FOUR YEARS.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

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