20 August 2018

Peru targets Australian winery over brandy GI

Peru has said it will take “all appropriate steps” to protect its geographical indication (GI) Pisco in a cease-and-desist letter sent to an Australian winery.

ABC News, a national news service in Australia, shared the news on Saturday, August 18.

Harmans Estate, based in Margaret River in Western Australia, claims to have been producing “gold medal wines, liquors, and wine-based spirits” since 1999.

According to ABC, the director of Harmans was experimenting with distillation techniques when he developed a beverage similar to Pisco.

Pisco, a city in Peru, historically prospered because of its vineyards, and it became noted for its grape brandy.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, Peru declared the Pisco denomination as an appellation of origin in 1990.

After Harmans started to sell versions of Pisco, the winery received a cease-and-desist letter from the Embassy of Peru in Australia.

The Embassy claimed that the word Pisco is protected by a GI, so it can only be produced in Peru.

“You can avoid legal action by immediately ceasing and desisting from any and all infringing activity including the use of the name Pisco in your products and their promotion in your Facebook page,” the Embassy said.

Earlier today, August 20, Harmans took to Facebook to respond to the letter. The winery said that protecting a geographic name only makes sense if the product is from one location, but Pisco is made in Peru and Chile.

ABC reported that Harmans will continue to use the Pisco name even if the dispute goes to court.

Certain countries have recognised the international classification of Pisco as a Peruvian appellation of origin, such as Bolivia, Columbia, and Cuba.

However, Pisco is also a Chilean GI for the same drink, recognised by signatories to the Lisbon Agreement. For this reason Peru’s appellation of origin for Pisco has been refused by a number of Lisbon Agreement signatories, according to GI network oriGIn.

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3 December 2018   Negotiators at the European Council and the European Parliament have agreed on new rules covering the registration and protection of geographical indications covering spirits.