How to apply to add the name of your wine to the EU protected wine register.
If you’re a wine producer, you can apply to the EU to have the name of your wine added to its protected wine register.
If your wine is added to the protected register, other producers can’t use the same name for their wine unless they both:
- produce it in the area the EU has agreed with you
- make it using the same methods the EU has agreed with you
You’ll also be allowed to put an EU symbol or wording on your wine that says it’s on the EU protected register.
Who can apply
You can apply as an individual wine producer or as a group of producers who all produce the wine you want to protect.
If you apply as an individual, your application must show that you’re the only producer of the wine you want to protect in the area you associate it with.
Protection marks you can apply for
There are 2 different types of protection mark that you can apply to the EU for:
- protected designation of origin (PDO)
- protected geographical indication (PGI)
Protected designation of origin
To get the PDO mark, you’ll need to prove to the EU that your wine has quality and characteristics that are a result of the environment it’s made in and the people who live there.
You’ll also need to show:
- the grapes you use to make the wine come exclusively from the area you want to associate it with and that you make the wine in that area
- you make the wine using vine varieties that come from the genus vitis vinifera
Protected geographical indication
To get the PGI mark, you’ll need to show:
- the wine you want to protect has a specific quality, reputation or other characteristics that are a result of the area you’re associating it with
- you produce the wine in this area
- at least 85% of the grapes that you use to make the wine come from this area
- the grapes you use to make the wine come from vine varieties belonging to vitis vinifera or a cross between the vitis vinifera species and other species of the genus vitis
Make an application
Provide applicant details
You must include:
- the names of everyone who is part of your application and their positions (eg owner of Vineyard X)
- a postal address, email address and phone number for you or your application group
Protection you’re applying for
You must state whether you’re applying for a PDO or PGI protection mark.
Name you want to protect
Include the name of the wine you or your group wants to add to the register
Use a name that nobody else is already using, and that nobody else has trademarked.
Make a draft product specification
As well as your application, you must describe your wine using a product specification.
Describe the wine
You must state the category of wine, eg white, red or rosé, and whether it’s still or sparkling.
You should describe the following analytical characteristics:
- total and actual alcoholic strength of the wine
- total sugars, expressed in terms of fructose and glucose (including any sucrose in semi-sparkling and sparkling wines)
- total acidity
- volatile acidity
- total sulphur dioxide
- carbon dioxide level, in the case of semi-sparkling and sparkling wines
- any other characteristic properties that are part of your product specification
If you’re applying for a PGI you should also describe the wine’s colour and taste.
If you’re applying for a PDO you should be more detailed and describe the:
- appearance, taste and smell
Avoid subjective terms - use the language of wine experts, chemists or agronomists.
Wine grape variety
Your product specification must include the wine grape varieties that the wine must be made from, by anyone wishing to use the protected name.
Describe oenological practices
You should describe:
- the techniques that must be used to make wine with the name you’re applying to have protected
- the cultural practices that must be used, eg vine training systems or how the grapes are harvested
- any other rules you want to create for how people must make the wine if they want to give it the name you’re applying to protect
State the volume of grapes that can be picked per year to make the wine in both:
- kilograms of grapes per hectare
- hectolitres of the final product per hectare
Define the area
You need to define the area you want to associate with your wine by citing:
- physical boundaries, eg rivers and roads
- administrative boundaries, eg provinces and cities
- geographical, environmental or geological characteristics
- human intervention in the process, eg distance from vineyard to the press, expertise, wine-making or bottle-making facilities
- maps - you can include these in your application or link to them online
If vineyards are on the boundary of an administrative area like a county, you should provide a detailed map showing the extent of the area.
Usually wine-makers will apply to associate their wine with one entire area, but you can pick several growing zones within a wider common area or region.
Describe the area for PDO
When you’re describing the geographical area, you should only cite features that have an influence on the individual characteristics of your wine.
If you’re applying for the PDO mark, you should describe both the human and natural factors of the area and explain how these distinguish your wine.
Human factors are practices that you control or have established, for example:
- the wine grape variety(ies) allowed in the PDO/PGI area
- the maximum yields
- the specific oenological practices which are allowed or compulsory
- the relevant restrictions on making the wines
- the cultural practices which are allowed or compulsory
- the artisan knowledge of local producers - these must be skills specific to the area
Natural factors are the characteristics of the defined geographical area relevant to the link, for example:
- pedo-climatic features
- climate and rainfall
Use precise measurements when citing climate, for example give average rainfall in millimetres.
Describe the area for PGI
For PGI wines, you should describe the natural and human factors of the area.
Link your product to the area
You need to explain the factors that link your product to the area you want to associate it with, for example:
- how natural and human factors in the area provide its distinctive character
- why your wine can’t be made outside of the area
If you’re applying to protect different types of wine products, you need to explain the link to the area for each one.
Depending on the production or ageing method, the grape varieties, or the quality, colour, type of place, or a particular event linked to the history of the product, you might have to provide more than one description in this section.
For example, you might make one section for each traditional term related to the PDO or PGI you’re applying for.
Distinguishing your product
You need to explain what makes your PDO or PGI wine different from wines that use the same grape or grapes in other geographical areas.
You need to show that there are factors unique to the area that influence how you make the wine and distinguish it from other wines using the same grape or grapes in other areas.
Distinguishing your product for PDO
If you’re applying for PDO status, you need to list the analytical or organoleptic elements which are unique to the geographical area where you make the wine.
Each element you list needs to be linked to the geographical environment. Your application will be judged on the combination of these elements.
Distinguishing your product for PGI
If you’re applying for PGI status, you must either:
- show that the analytical or organoleptic elements are unique to the geographical area where you make the wine
- explain how the wine’s reputation is connected to the area you make it in
You can explain how the wine’s reputation is connected to the area you make it in by stating, for example:
- market share
- the length of time that people have marketed wine under the name you’re proposing to protect
- where you sell it
- the level of investment made in using and promoting the proposed PGI name
Describe why your wine can only be made in the area you’re linking it with.
Explain how the climate, the human factors, geology, grapevines and wine-making practices make your wine distinct from a wine produced in a nearby area.
You should provide more detail on this if you’re applying for a PDO.
Laboratory contact details
You need to give contact details for a laboratory that will test your product to make sure it meets your specification.
The laboratory you nominate must be European Standard EN45011 accredited.
All PDO and PGI wines will be tested annually - you won’t be able to put them on sale with the protection mark until they’ve passed the test.
Send your application and specification
To apply, email your application to email@example.com
You can also post it to:
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR
After you apply
Defra will examine your application and product specification and they’ll contact you or arrange meetings with you if they need more detail.
Your application can be rejected at this stage if it doesn’t meet key criteria, eg if you’re trying to protect a wine name that’s already protected or a widely used wine name.
After Defra decides that your application is completed to its full potential, they’ll open it to national consultation.
They’ll send details of your application to a list of interested bodies, eg the UK Vineyards Association (UKVA) and the Wine and Spirit Trades Association (WSTA)
These bodies can object to your application or comment on it.
You’ll have to address any queries or objections with the person or body that raised them - your application can’t go ahead until Defra agrees that these are resolved.
Submitting to the European Commission
After you’ve resolved any objections or comments, Defra will make a single document that sums up your application and send it to the European Commission.
The commission will examine the single document and make comments or ask for more information if they need it.
If they’re satisfied that your application can go ahead, they’ll publish the single document in the EU official journal.
People in other member states or non-EU countries have 2 months to lodge objections, after the document is published.
If your application is successful
If the EU Commission receives no objections, or after they’ve been resolved, your product will be added to the EU’s electronic register of protected wine names.
Published: 22 May 2015