Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

WSTA calls UKVA's application for English fizz PGI a "side-show"

Published:  19 January, 2017

The UK Vineyards Association (UKVA) has revealed plans to apply for Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for English sparkling wine, using the term "British Fizz".

For the the years, there has been much discussion about whether there should be a generic name for English sparkling in order to make the product instantly recognisable to a global audience in the same vein as Champagne and Prosecco.

Reportedly coined by a New York bar, the UKVA - the body for English wine producers - is planning to seek official international recognition for the term "British Fizz", partly because it is already being used on international wine lists.

If the PGI is given authorisation, it would mean that only winemakers growing grapes in the UK and making sparkling wine using the traditional bottle-fermentation method would be able to use the description on their labels.

While the Wine and Spirit Trade Association agrees that a shorter, catchier name could help to boost exports, it said the focus could be a distraction from more pressing issues.

"The WSTA would like to see English sparkling wine makers taking a decision to get behind an agreed generic name," The WSTA's chief executive, Miles Beale, said. "There's no need for a PGI application in order to do this. Any application for a 'British Fizz' PGI is a side show right now - especially while it does not have the full support of the English sparkling wine industry and when we are just weeks away from triggering Article 50.

"With the UK wine industry facing a tough time ahead as we exit the EU what's much more important is for the World's biggest wine industry to unite behind the WSTA's effort to persuade Government to end its punishing treatment for wine and to cut duty at the Budget in March, including a level playing field for English wine makers."

Some have raised concerns that the name could cause confusion among consumers with the term 'British wine' which has long denoted cheaper wine made from imported grape must.

Sam Linter, winemaker at Bolney Wine Estate, however, thinks the industry has moved on, and that the proposed PGI term could help to drive the image of English sparkling wine and sales overseas.

"British wine has historically meant wine made from imported grape juice, but our industry has changed and it's got a good reputation now. We're very much a premium product. Certainly using the term 'British' for the export market makes sense as we are British and proud to be so."

English wine is increasingly gaining status globally and efforts continue to further protect domestic products.

Towards the end of 2016, wine produced in Sussex took one step closer to gaining protected status on a par with Champagne and Bordeaux, when the application for Sussex to gain protected designated origin (PDO) status was given the green light by DEFRA.

If approved, Sussex Wine would be given EU-wide name rights under the European Union's Geographic Indication (GI) scheme, which would give a Sussex appellation the same status as that of Europe's preeminent winemaking regions.