Italy takes Slovenia to court docket over balsamic vinegar title row


The Italian authorities is launching infringement proceedings in opposition to Slovenia in an try and defend the authenticity of its famed, geographically protected balsamic vinegar.

Relations between the 2 international locations turned bitter final yr when Slovenia notified the European Fee of its plans to “standardise” its vinegar manufacturing, basically searching for to market any wine vinegar blended with concentrated fruit juice or should as “balsamic vinegar”.

The time period aceto balsamico di Modena (balsamic vinegar of Modena) has been in place since 2009 and can be utilized solely by producers in Modena and the Emilia-Romagna area.

Italy deems Slovenia’s transfer a menace to the custom of its Modena balsamic vinegar excellence and to a market price about €1bn.

The balsamic vinegar battle grew to become a precedence for the federal government led by the prime minister, Mario Draghi, which has given the inexperienced gentle for the state lawyer to start out proceedings. Step one requires a session with the fee earlier than, if obligatory, taking the case to the court docket of justice of the European Union (CJEU).

“After months of ready and worrying, we lastly see a glimmer of sunshine,” mentioned Mariangela Grosoli, the president of the consortium for the safety of balsamic vinegar of Modena.

Italy’s agriculture minister, Stefano Patuanelli, mentioned final yr that the safety of Italian wine and meals was a precedence and the federal government would do all the things to defend the nation’s produce from “illicit assaults”.

Nevertheless, it stays to be seen how profitable the transfer in opposition to Slovenia shall be. In 2019, Italian balsamic vinegar producers misplaced a authorized probleme to forestall a German firm from utilizing the names aceto or aceto balsamico to market its vinegar merchandise. The German enterprise had been labelling its merchandise with the phrases balsamico and Deutscher balsamico (German balsamico).

However the CJEU dominated that the protected time period aceto balsamico di Modena “doesn’t lengthen to the usage of non-geographical particular person phrases”. The court docket decided that the title aceto is frequent and that balsamico is an adjective generally used as a reference to a vinegar with a bittersweet flavour. Due to this fact, whereas the trademark aceto balsamico di Modena can solely be utilized by producers inside a particular geographical space, there have been no such restrictions on aceto balsamico alone.

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