Wine Law

36 WINE LAW to delve into the concerns and legal challenges arising from these designations of origin. Much local produce has been inextricably associated with the place they originated from 3 . Accordingly, legislation – in instituting this rather distinct legal status which is the designation of origin, linking the origin of the product and its distinctive characteristics, these being, theoretically, indicative of a certain quality – is fashioning an existing reality and regulating it aiming to foster production, quality and fair competition. Arguably, it has been claimed that, in protecting names associated with local produce, we are contributing to “the shaping of the cultural identity of a nation or municipality” 4 . Incidentally, is Porto not a wine that has become the core element of the cultural identity of said Portuguese city? Lately, DOs have attracted increasingly keen eyes – particularly, the wine industry – as “the constellation of assorted interests” 5 that revolve around this legal construct brighten up. Interestingly, designations of origin bring together farmers’ interests: those of local economies – seeing them as a catalyst of the prosperity of the region – and those of consumers – who, today, scrutinise products more diligently for quality and safety issues. These are collective interests that transcend those of individuals. Furthermore, the mounting keenness for open competition in markets and quality and health and safety issues in the food industry is prompting the seemingly incessant granting, announced by the Official Journal of the European Union, of new Protected Designations of Origin and Geographical Indications (GI) within the EU. It might be worth noting that, in the mid-1980s, the European agricultural policy changed its tact. Since those behind the drawing up of the Treaty that instituted the then European Economic Community prioritised, in its agricultural policy, “increasing agricultural productivity”, food supply came to be, at some stage, fully guaranteed (there was even some disruption caused by surplus). This led to what we could describe as the quality-oriented approach to agro-food farming , focused on health and safety, as well as quality issues. This shift 3 Consider the example of the pronouncements made by Advocate General Dámaso RUIZ-JARABO COLOMER, in his Opinion presented on 10 May 2005, in the Joined Cases C-465/02 y C-466/02, heard at the European Court of Justice, an opinion being a vital judicial/doctrinal reference concerning designations: “The first reference to a designation of origin can be found in the Bible”, he claimed, pointing out the allusion of the telling of the “cedars from Lebanon” when recounting the building of the Temple of Jerusalem. He adds other quotes from the Antiquity, from Greek and Roman authors such as Herodotus, Aristotle, Plato, Vergil or Horace. 4 ERRÁZURIZ TORTORELLI, C. (2010). “Indicaciones geográficas y denominaciones de origen. Propiedad intelectual en progreso”, Revista Chilena de Derecho , vol. 37, no. 2, p. 234. 5 BOTANA AGRA, M. J. (2001). Las denominaciones de origen [monograph], in OLIVENCIA, M., FERNÁNDEZ-NOVOA, C. & JIMÉNEZ DE PARGA, R. (eds.), JIMÉNEZ SÁNCHEZ, G. (coord.), Tratado de Derecho Mercantil (book XX, vol. 2), Marcial Pons, Madrid-Barcelona, p. 42.