Geographical Indications Committee

Geographical Indications Committee

The Wine Australia Act 2013 (Act) establishes a GIC with its primary role being to consider applications for the registration and omission of new Australian and foreign GIs having regard to the criteria set out in the Act, and in accordance with the administrative processes prescribed under the Act and the accompanying regulations. 

The GIC is an independent decision making body that is separate to Wine Australia.

In accordance with the Act, the GIC consists of three members:

  • a Presiding Member appointed by the Chair of Wine Australia in accordance with a resolution of the Board, and
  • two members nominated by Australian Grape and Wine (AG&W) in its capacity as both the declared winemakers’ organisation and the declared grapegrowers’ organisation and appointed by the Chair of Wine Australia. 

The current members are Dennis Mutton (Presiding Member), Peter Hayes (nominee of AG&W) and Phillip Laffer (nominee of AG&W). They were each appointed for a three year term on 17 November 2016 and for a further three year term on 17 November 2019.

The GIC is provided with administrative support from the Registrar of Geographical Indications and Other Terms. That position is currently held by Rachel Triggs, Wine Australia’s General Counsel and General Manager – Market Access.

Applications for the determination of new geographical indications

Applications for new geographical indications (GIs) are made to the GIC. Applications may be made by a declared organisation representing winemakers and/or grape growers, an individual winemaker or wine grape grower.

To be eligible for determination as a GI, a grape growing area must:

  • usually produce at least 500 tonnes of grape per year;
  • include at least five wine grape vineyards of at least five hectares each (that do not have common ownership;
  • be a single tract of land.

There is no standard application form for applying for a new GI, however, the application must address each of the criteria set out in section 57 of the Wine Australia Regulations 2018. The criteria that must be addressed are outlined in the guidance document below.

The application fee is $27,500 (inc GST) and must be paid before an application is accepted. Additional fees may be charged as necessary on a cost-recovery basis.

An application cannot be considered until trade mark owners (or those with applications pending) or other persons have been invited to object, through the Registrar of Trade Marks. Oppositions can be made to the Registrar of Trade Marks on the grounds that determination of the proposed GI is likely to cause confusion with an existing trade mark, or that  the proposed GI is used in Australia as the common name of a type or style of wine or as a name of a variety of grapes. The grounds of objection to the determination of a GI based on pre-existing trade mark rights are set out in section 40RB of the Wine Australia Act 2013. Decisions by the Registrar of Trade Marks can be appealed in the Federal Court.

When assessing an application for a GI, the GIC must consider the relevant criteria (see section 57 of the Wine Australia Regulations 2018) and must consult with any declared wine growers’ or winemakers organisations (Australian GI applications only). It may also consult any other organisation or individual.

The GIC will make an interim determination which is published , in a national newspaper, on the Wine Australia website, and in the relevant region’s local newspaper. Comments/submissions from interested parties must be considered by the GIC prior to making a final determination.

To allow public comment, applications made to the GIC, including any supporting documents, will be made public by the GIC during the period following an interim determination.

Applications for the review of a final determination may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) within 28 days. Appeals against an AAT decision can be lodged with the Federal Court.

If no appeals are lodged, or if appeals are not successful,  the GI is entered into the Register of Protected Geographical Indications and Other Terms.

Once a GI is entered onto the Register of Protected Geographical Indications and Other Terms, the blending rules apply to it. This means that if the single GI is used, at least 85 per cent of the fruit used to make the wine must have been sourced from within the boundary of the GI. Use of registered GIs is regulated by Wine Australia through its Label Integrity Program.

A guidance document on submitting applications for new Australian geographical indications is available here.

For information about label claims and blending regulations with respect to GIs see Labelling.

Further information is available from: 

Rachel Triggs
General Counsel and Registrar of Protected Geographical Indications and Other Terms
(08) 8228 2003
rachel.triggs@wineaustralia.com


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