“New England Australia” was registered in January 2008, joining about 60 other Australian wine regions recognised under law by Australia’s Geographical Indications Committee.

The name is now protected under Australian wine law. The addition of the word “Australia” distinguishes the name, eg from the New England region in the United States.

There are several practical consequences for wine producers of New England. Here’s our overview.

  • Wine branded “New England Australia” must include at least 85% fruit from that region.
  • New England wine marketers should have a dialogue with enthusiasts for both New England wines and towns of the area (Armidale, Glen Innes, Inverell and Tenterfield). Together they can develop more effective promotion strategies for their wine shows and wines.
    • Relatively obscure regions in the ocean of Australian wine must be innovative to draw the crowds.
    • A good place to start would be to develop the online presence of the wineries of New England Australia. And please, don’t just have a bragging Web 1.0 brochureware site full of erotic pictures of grapes and vines. That’s useful, but usually it fails because the wineries are thinking of what turns on wine makers, not their target (the wine buyers and consumers)! Go further. For example, refresh your website with the zing of social media, it’s not just about blogging.
    • Think regional development, not just wine marketing. As inspiration go to the sites of Jim Belshaw, a colleague who is a mad keen enthusiast for all things New England. Go here, here and here.
  • Wine producers from the region can develop brand exclusivity around what it means to be “wine from New England Australia”. This involves the need for marketing creativity, label design and related wine label trade mark and copyright law considerations. A good place to start is to understand the history, climate, soils and other characteristics of the New England region that won it the useful wine region status. In 25 years of helping clients develop intellectual property I’ve learned that the more one understands the property, the better one can protect, develop and commercialise it in business and legal terms.
  • The wine producers can enhance their brand architecture. This too is a marketing challenge. Producers of “New England Australia” wine can feature that name on a wine label along with other branding information, such as the name of the wine producer, variety, and vintage. Brand architecture is best improved by brainstorming legal and marketing considerations.

Protecting wine names in New South Wales

We took great interest in the geographic indication good news for New England wine. Our firm does the domestic and international trade mark registration work for several wineries in New South Wales. We specialise in offline and online marketing law and trade mark law for wine producers.

Other registered wine region names in New South Wales include Riverina, Cowra, Mudgee, Orange, Hastings River and Hunter.

They all appear in the Register of Protected Names. It is vital to review this Register before any commercial use of a wine name or registration of a wine trade mark. The Register may list a name which cannot be used legally. Even remarkably obscure names and places are listed in the Register.

The La Provence case in 1995 illustrates the force of geographic indications law under the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation Act 1980 (Cth). It illustrates how Australian wine producers can be blocked from using geographic indications from elsewhere.

In that case public bodies from the French region of Provence brought legal action under the Act against the husband and wife owners of a Tasmanian vineyard who were selling wine under the name “La Provence”. The case is Comite Interprofessionnel Des Vines des Cotes de Provence and Another v Bryce and Another 35 IPR 1705 1995 (Cth). While the couple blocked an attempt to obtain an injunction, in practical terms they were prevented from using “La Provence” as a wine brand.

Noric Dilanchian