Slovenia to file lawsuit against European Commission over Teran grape trade dispute


Slovenia has plans to file a lawsuit against the European Commission (EC) for allowing Croatian wine producers to use the Slovenian-protected Teran wine name.

In 2013, the commission stated that Croatian wine producers could not sell wine under the Teran name. However, the commission commenced a process to enable Croatian producers to use the name under certain conditions in January this year.

Teran is a red grape that is widely produced on the Karst plateau of Slovenia. Although no Croatian wine that carried the label ‘Teran’ was allowed to be sold within the EU, the EC allowed Croatian producers in Istria to use the name as long as ‘Hrvatska Istra‘ or ‘Croatian Istria’ featured prominently on the pack.

In 2009, Slovenia sought a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) label before Croatia joined the EU in 2013, reported Thedrinksbusiness.com.

"Under existing EU rules, [the name] is protected against any commercial use of this name."

The EC stated: “The wine Teran is (and will remain) a Slovenian PDO registered in the EU, meaning that under existing EU rules, it is protected against any commercial use of this name by other wines that do not respect the rules provided for in the technical file of the PDO Teran of the Slovenian Karst region.

“Wines that do not respect these rules cannot be placed on the EU market. However, under EU rules, a limited exception can be established for the use of the name of a grape variety that coincides with a PDO for wines if justified by existing labelling practices, as is the case with teran/Teran.”

Slovenia claimed that this decision may lead to consumer misunderstanding and a revenue loss for its producers, as well as devaluing the PDO system itself. 

Slovenia plans to file the lawsuit in August or September.