Australian winemakers now have under ten months until the transition period for use of ‘Tokay’ comes to an end. Here we provide a refresher about the rules governing use of protected terms.
1 September 2020 marks the end of the transition period for use of ‘Tokay’, making it an offence under the Wine Australia Act 2013 (the Act) to describe or present an Australian wine using this term.
When the Australia–European Community Agreement on Trade in Wine (the Agreement) commenced on September 2010, Australia relinquished use of numerous protected terms in exchange for enhanced European market access. For ‘Tokay’, a ten-year transition period was negotiated to allow winemakers to rebrand and exhaust stock.
‘Description and presentation’ includes (but isn’t limited to) wine packaging, commercial documents, tasting notes, and advertisements such as websites or cellar door signage. Accordingly, if you advertise ‘bulk Tokay’ at cellar door after 1 September 2010 (or have continued to sell ‘Port’ since September 2015), it’s an offence under the Act.
After consultation with the Australian wine community, ‘Topaque’ was nominated as the new name for products formally known as Tokay. Similarly, ‘Apera’ was selected to replace ‘Sherry’, with this term protected since 1 September 2011. These new terms were trademarked in June 2012. Describing wines as Apera and Topaque is encouraged when Australian fortifieds fit the definitions for use and the brand owner is a licensee of these marks.
Our sector’s commitment to the Agreement has heavily aided to Australia’s wine export success in Europe over the past decade. It’s Australia’s top export destination by volume, with 336 million litres exported (42 per cent of all wine exports) last financial year.
We’ve answered some frequently asked questions about using protected terms here, including an outline of what Australia gained as a result of the Agreement. For further information, including on use of Apera and Topaque, get in touch.