Vinitaly 2018. The international wine fair begins again
The 52nd edition of Vinitaly, the traditional trade fair dedicated to the excellence of world wine production, has been held in Verona starting from April 15th.
The event opens under the best auspices. In fact, the previous edition recorded a significant increase in attendance, with over 30,000 top foreign accredited buyers (almost 10% more than in 2016).
Evidence of the constantly increasing prestige is the presence of numerous foreign operators, which in 2017 were even more numerous compared to the past edition. The presence of all European countries increased. There was also an increase in operators from Russia (+ 42%), Brazil (+ 29%) and China (+ 12%).
The Italian wine industry can then again take advantage of an international showcase and consolidate the already excellent reputation of the agri-food of Made in Italy. Consider that the production of Italian wine, in just 2016, amounted to over 50 million hectoliters, a record that places our country among the leaders in the sector.
A market which, according to EUIPO estimates, is worth 8 billion euros in Italy alone and employs 120,000 people in Europe.
Our wine industry, therefore, seems more solid than ever. In fact, the added value of advanced knowledge in oenological matters, as well as ancient wine-making traditions is added to the already impressive volume of production. Furthermore, because of this, we can boast many internationally renowned products.
Unfortunately, as in many highly competitive markets, counterfeiting industrial property rights can seriously damage businesses. Especially in a sector such as wine, where the prestige of a label is often synonymous with excellent quality.
Due to counterfeiting, the EUIPO estimates an average annual loss of 83 million euros in Italy due to the decline in sales with a consequent impact on the labor market in this sector (-2% in Italy).
Added to this are the indirect effects of counterfeiting, with less work for suppliers of products and services related to the wine industry. Translated into figures: an overall loss in Europe of 3 billion euros in the five-year period of 2008-2013.
Counterfeiting of trademarks linked to wine and alcohol also damages institutions. For example, the EUIPO calculates a decline in revenues for Italian excise duties of 18 million euros.
Protecting the trademark of wine excellence, therefore, does not just mean protecting one’s reputation or position on the market but it is also a gesture of responsibility.
Wine made in Italy and Europe, fortunately, has good weapons to protect their treasures from counterfeiting.
The registration of the trademark is the first defense against this event. Foreign markets are often sold products (especially agri-food) that have names, images and symbols that evoke our country — but that have nothing to do with Italy. This is the phenomenon known as “Italian Sounding“, one of the most common forms of unfair competition and fraud against consumers. According to an estimate by the UIBM, the global turnover due to Italian Sounding would amount to € 54 billion annually — twice as much as our country actually exports in agri-food products.
Further protection consists of quality regulatory regimes and quality labels recognized at the community level. The POD and PGI trademarks are the tools that the European community makes available to defend the most prestigious wines. These two trademarks provide many guarantees to the consumer.
PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) guarantees that the wine is produced in a specific geographic location: a region or a place that designates the product itself. For example, if we buy Amarone della Valpolicella — a wine that can boast this trademark — we have the certainty that it is produced exclusively in the same Veronese area, with grapes coming from that specific geographical location. The POD, therefore, protects the unique environmental characteristics and processing methods of a local agri-food tradition. For a careful consumer, this guarantees its quality.
With PGI (Protected Geographical Indication), we have the guarantee that the wine, in at least one of its production phases, has been produced in a specific geographical area. At least 85% of the grapes must come from the location and must possess precise organoleptic qualities.
Italian wines boast the highest number of PDO and PGI trademarks in Europe. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry lists 526 Italian names (33% of the European total). Our most direct competitor, France, has 432 (27% of the total).
It is evident that PDO and PGI can be of great help in protecting the greatest competitive advantage of our wines: quality. They can prevent the exclusive appropriation of the name by an individual producer. In fact, they may be used by anyone who markets a wine that complies with the relevant production regulations. They also prevent the use of the name for different products. Finally, they prohibit the improper use of the name, thus avoiding confusion among consumers.
The process of registering your trademark and obtaining recognition as a PDO or PGI is complex. Particularly, the request for PDO and PGI may be submitted only by membership organizations. It is also necessary to demonstrate that the production requirements comply with the relevant specification. Moreover, the procedure also includes an inspection phase, during which the producer receives periodic checks from the certifying bodies and the protection consortium — verifying compliance with the requirements obtained. It is clear PDO and PGI can help protect the competitive advantages of a winery.
However, in order to obtain these names, the support of professionals with specific skills and qualifications, who are keeping constant track of new regulations is necessary.
With almost 20,000 registered trademarks every year and experience dating back to 1878, Barzanò & Zanardo is the partner that can boast solid authority in the sector. Thanks to a team of dedicated consultants, we can assist wineries in planning a targeted and tailored protection strategy: to protect the excellence of agri-food and our local wine treasures.