Pro­mot­ing and pro­tect­ing winer­ies

Central Otago Mirror - - CONVERSATIONS - JAC­QUI DEAN

Cen­tral Otago is the world’s south­ern-most com­mer­cial wine grow­ing re­gion and the sev­enth largest in New Zealand.

It’s a unique and spe­cial area and one that con­tin­ues to have huge po­ten­tial.

From Cromwell and Ban­nock­burn, to Wanaka and Queen­stown, the wines that are be­ing pro­duced by vine­yards in this re­gion are top class.

Around the world wines from the Cen­tral Otago area are cel­e­brated and en­joyed and as the rep­u­ta­tion of this area con­tin­ues to grow I be­lieve it’s im­por­tant that this brand is pro­tected.

I am proud to have been in­volved in pro­mot­ing new leg­is­la­tion to give le­gal recog­ni­tion to Cen­tral Otago as a wine pro­duc­ing re­gion.

From next month, leg­is­la­tion al­low­ing wine­mak­ers to reg­is­ter the geo­graph­i­cal ori­gin of their prod­uct will come into force.

The re­gional name Cen­tral Otago is a key part of the New Zealand wine story and an im­por­tant mar­ket­ing plat­form which needs to be pro­tected.

The new leg­is­la­tion amends the Geo­graph­i­cal In­di­ca­tions (Wines and Spir­its) Reg­is­tra­tion Act, which was passed in 2006, but never brought into force.

The Cen­tral Otago Wine­grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion is well ad­vanced in draft­ing its geo­graph­i­cal in­di­ca­tions ap­pli­ca­tion. Once the ap­pli­ca­tion is ap­proved, in­di­vid­ual winer­ies will be able to use the Cen­tral Otago re­gion in their brand­ing, as long as 85 per­cent of the grapes used are grown in the area.

I see it as a ma­jor step for­ward for the wine in­dus­try, al­low­ing lo­cal vine­yards the op­por­tu­nity to ac­knowl­edge and safe­guard what is spe­cial about the area. It will also make it eas­ier for ex­porters to pro­mote and pro­tect their wines in some over­seas mar­kets.

Once ap­pli­ca­tions have been lodged it will take about six to nine months to process them.

As well as ap­pli­ca­tions for re­gions, in­di­vid­ual or groups of winer­ies could also ap­ply for geo­graph­i­cal recog­ni­tion for smaller ar­eas, such as Cromwell, Wanaka or the Gibb­ston Val­ley.

I was in Cromwell re­cently and was de­lighted to visit the new tast­ing room of lo­cal win­ery Misha’s Vine­yard. Misha and Andy Wilkin­son shared the amaz­ing story of the devel­op­ment of their vine­yard and how in just over a decade they have achieved amaz­ing suc­cess, ex­port­ing to 20 coun­tries in­ter­na­tion­ally.

The re­cent open­ing of their lo­cal tast­ing room, which is be­lieved to be one of the big­gest in Cen­tral Otago, re­flects a move to re­spond to the grow­ing vis­i­tor and tourist mar­ket in the area.

Misha’s Vine­yard was also cel­e­brat­ing af­ter their ‘‘Lime­light Ries­ling’’ was named in this year’s Air New Zealand Fine Wines of New Zealand list. In fact Cen­tral Otago vine­yards should take a bow, with 12 of the 60 wines se­lected com­ing from the re­gion.

❚ Jac­qui Dean is the Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for Waitaki. This is her fi­nal Mir­ror col­umn be­fore Septem­ber’s gen­eral elec­tion.

SUP­PLIED

Jac­qui Dean, MP for Waitaki

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