Evidence of quality, reputation or other characteristic
Applicants must explain (and provide reliable evidence of) the quality, reputation or other characteristic of the wine and/or spirit that is essentially attributable to the GI.
This evidence is of critical importance. It must be sufficiently credible and detailed to us that the indication that is the subject of the application meets the definition of a GI under section 6(1) of the GI Act.
Set out below are suggestions for the type of evidence that’s likely to assist us with our determination - bearing in mind, however, that the particular circumstances of each application will be unique.
History and background
The quality, reputation and other characteristics of wine or spirits from a particular area will often be linked to the history and background of the wine/spirit production in the area. In such cases, a brief narrative of the area’s history will be relevant.
Applicants should also provide evidence of the effect of the history and background on the quality, reputation and/or other characteristics of the wine or spirits produced in the region. For example, in an area that is associated historically with high quality wine or spirits, wines or spirits that are produced in that area may also be prized.
The geographic features of an area can affect the quality, reputation and other characteristics of wines or spirits from that area.
Geographic features may include, for instance, general topography, elevation, natural features that provide shelter or that alter wind direction, ridges, valleys, plains, underground waterways and water tables, proximity to the coast or other bodies of water, slope, aspect, and/or accessibility.
Geographic features need not be discrete and homogenous, so long as they relate to the quality, reputation or other characteristic of the wine or spirit.
It is essential, however, that evidence of the geographic features of an area is linked to the quality, reputation or other characteristic of the wine or spirits produced in the area.
Evidence relating to the nature and composition of the soil in the area will often be highly relevant. Such evidence may include, for example, the soil type or types (such as sandy, clay, silt or loamy soils), and the presence of particular rock (such as gravel, schist or slate). Soil characteristics may differ between strata.
The characteristics of the soil may influence or determine factors such as its temperature, pH, drainage, salinity, and nutrient/mineral profile.
Again, it is important that any evidence relating to soil composition includes a description of how the soil composition relates to the quality, reputation and/or other characteristics of wines or spirits from the relevant area.
To the extent that it is relevant, applicants should include climate data from the geographic area concerned. This may include, for example, data relating to rainfall, temperature, prevailing winds and/or hours of sunshine. Ideally, such evidence should comprise or be supported by research data from a reputable institution.
Importantly, applicants should link this data to the quality, reputation and other characteristics of the wine or spirit.
Methods of producing wines and spirits
Evidence of “human” factors, including viticulture and winemaking practices, may also be relevant. These factors are likely to be linked closely to “natural” factors. For example, steep, inaccessible terrain (a “natural” factor) can mean that less mechanisation is feasible (a “human” factor) – which in turn may mean that the wines or spirits from that area must be premium goods that are sold at a high price point in order to be profitable.
The qualities of a wine or spirit from a particular area may include, for example, its aroma, flavour profile, sweetness, acidity, tannin, fruit, colour, structure, body, texture and viscosity, alcohol by volume, cellaring potential, typicity of product, signature characteristics, and/or varietal(s).
Applicants should, where appropriate, file expert evidence regarding the particular quality or qualities of the wines or spirits from the relevant area.
Where relevant, applicants should provide evidence that demonstrates the extent of the reputation of the wines or spirits from the relevant geographical area.
This may include, for example:
- Evidence that wines or spirits are sold and/or promoted by reference to the GI.
- Statements from chambers of commerce and industry or other trade and professional associations that the wine or spirit has a reputation that is essentially attributable to its origin.
- Evidence that the GI influences consumer purchasing decisions.
- Evidence of tourism linked specifically to the wines or spirits from the relevant area, such as vineyard or distillery tours.
- Evidence of sales figures, export figures and/or market share (may be provided on a confidential basis).
- Evidence of marketing spend (may be provided on a confidential basis) and marketing activities such as advertising, tastings and other promotional events.
- Evidence of references to the GI in books, articles, blogs, social media, websites, and menus from restaurants and bars.
- Evidence of national and international awards won by wines and/or spirits from the relevant geographical area.