A Geographical Indication (GI) is an official description of an Australian wine zone, region or sub-region designed (see definitions below) to protect the use of the regional name under international law. GI is similar to the Appellation naming system used in Europe but less restrictive in terms of viticultural and winemaking practices. In fact the only restriction is that wine which carries the GI must include at least 85% fruit from that region.
GIs are determined by the Geographical Indications Committee, a statutory authority of the AWBC, and listed on the Register of Protected Names, which is maintained by the AWBC.
The GI system was introduced in 1993 to allow Australia to fulfill its Agreements with the European Community on Trade in Wine and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. However, GIs cannot be used on exports to the EU or the US until they also are included on the list of Australian Geographical Applications approved for use in those markets.
A zone is an area of land, without any particular qualifying attributes.
A region must be a single tract of land, comprising at least five independently owned wine grape vineyards of at least five hectares each and usually produce five hundred tonnes of wine grapes in a year. A region is required to be measurably discrete from adjoining regions and have measurable homogeneity in grape growing attributes over its area.
A sub-region also must be a single tract of land, comprising at least five independently owned wine grape vineyards of at least five hectares each and usually produce five hundred tonnes of wine grapes in a year. However, a sub-region is required to be substantially discrete within the region and have substantial homogeneity in grape growing attributes over the area.
An application for a sub-region cannot be considered until the region of which it is part has been entered into the Register of Protected Names.