A hearing at a EU court in Luxembourg involving Slovenia's lawsuit against the European Commission over its decision to allow Croatian wine producers to use the label "teran" grape variety started on Tuesday. Although Slovenia had protected the label as its own label of geographic origin prior to Croatia's EU accession in 2013, the EC later allowed Croatia's winemakers from the northern Adriatic Istria region to use the label as well.
Slovenia's lawsuit ensued after the European Commission adopted the delegated act in May 2017, specifying the conditions under which the name of the teran wine grape variety may appear on wine labels of the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) 'Hrvatska Istra', a Croatian wine, allowing its producers to use the name teran in the labelling of their wines under specific labelling conditions.
Slovenia insists on the revocation of that delegated act.
Croatia's representative Gordana Vidovic Mesarek said today that the delegated act actually rectified the injustice which had been done to Croatian wine producers in Istria.
The European Commission has authorized Croatia to use the protected name teran for its wine, although it is protected as Slovenian. The EC has allowed the use of the name teran on the wine label with the PDO 'Hrvatska Istra' (Croatian Istria).
In recent years, Slovenian winemakers and the Ministry of Agriculture strongly lobbied in Brussels to ensure that the European Commission withdraws the proposal that the wine produced in Istria from the teran grape variety can be sold under the label "Croatian Istria - Teran".
Before Croatia's accession to the EU, Slovenia protected teran as its own product at EU level, meaning that no one but Slovenian winemakers were allowed to sell wine under that name.
Croatia complained against this, saying that Slovenia did not have the right to protect teran because the wine produced in the Slovenian part of the region of Istria under that name was made from the Refosco grape variety, while in the Croatian part of Istria it was made from the Teran grape variety.
In this case before the General Court, Croatia is not a party and its representative only presented Zagreb's position on this matter.
Slovenia's representative said that the current solution could delude buyers who think that the wine is from Slovenia while they buy Croatian wines under that name.