Marlborough producers take another step to fight the imitators

Tired of seeing their Sauvignon Blanc blended into other wines, a group of Marlborough producers created Appellation Marlborough Wine. Now it's been trademarked.

Marlborough/AMW
Marlborough/AMW

Appellation Marlborough Wine, established in 2018, has recently been trademarked in key global wine markets.

Established in 2018 by a group of Marlborough producers, the organisation is a European-style appellation, whose goal is to protect the integrity of wines produced in Marlborough, New Zealand. In recent years, Marlborough producers have watched with dismay as Sauvignon Blanc shipped in bulk has been blended with other wine, but badged as coming from their region.

“Appellation Marlborough Wine is about protecting the reputation this region has worked has to build,” said AMW Chair Ivan Sutherland, owner of Dog Point Vineyards. “It provides the wine buying public of the world with an assurance they can see and trust.” He said the brand is now trademarked in “all of the key global wine markets, which has been a huge undertaking. This is the first step in protecting a New Zealand wine that has now become a global icon.”

Yang Shen, estate director of Cloudy Bay, said the AMW brand was a necessity. “Our members know that it is vital to protect the integrity of our industry, recognising that Marlborough wine is globally unique, extraordinary and 100% worth protecting.”

When the AMW initiative was first launched in June 2018, New Zealand wine writer Raymond Chan called it “one of this country’s most important wine initiatives”.

“It has long been recognised that there is more wine sold as Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc than is actually produced,” he wrote. “This problem has been affecting the reputation not only of Sauvignon Blanc and Marlborough, but arguably all varieties of wines produced in New Zealand.”

Chan went on to write that “there are no standards to be met in any way in a global context. So, for example, bulk Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough can be shipped, blended and bottled with any other variety from any country out of the region of Marlborough.”

Membership of AMW is only available after a length application. Wines that bear the AMW stamp must be made from grapes grown entirely in the region, from grapes harvested from Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand certified vineyards, among other parameters. The group now has 49 members and more than 90 certified wines.

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