INDUSTRIES, FOOD | The ECJ on the use of terms reserved to PDO and PGI wines by winegrowing holdings

Newsletter n. 91 – December 2023



The ECJ on the use of terms reserved to PDO and PGI wines by winegrowing holdings

On 23 November 2023, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued its judgment in case C-354/22 (Weingut A). The question raised by the German Federal Administrative Court concerned the possibility for a wine-grower to indicate its own winegrowing holding even if the wine is made on the premises of another wine-grower. Indeed, in order for certain indications which refer to an eponymous wine-growing holding (such as “Weingut”) to be used, Article 54 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No. 2019/33 of 17 October 2018 (on designations of origin, geographical indications and traditional terms in the wine sector) requires that the grapevine product be made exclusively from grapes harvested in the vineyards exploited by that holding and that the winemaking be entirely carried out on that holding. Therefore, the national Judge asked whether the fact that wine pressing takes place in a facility leased by the eponymous wine-growing holding prevents the use of the terms listed in Annex V of Delegated Regulation (EU) No. 2019/33, which are reserved for grapevine products with protected designations of origin (PDO) or protected geographical indications (PGI). The ECJ found that the concept of “holding”, and therefore the use of the terms at issue, are not restricted solely to land owned by the wine-grower or situated near it, but they may extend to vineyards under lease and situated elsewhere so long as that facility is exclusively at the disposal of the eponymous wine-growing holding for the period necessary for the pressing operation and that holding assumes actual management, close and continuous supervision and responsibility for the cultivation and harvesting of the grapes.