By Natasa Radic – Zagreb
Starting from July 1st, the traditional Croatian dessert wine «prosek» will appear on the market with its new name and new etiquette – Croatian agriculture minister Tihomir Jakovina confirmed, explaining that Italy has already protected and branded the name «prosecco.» Minister Jakovina also confirmed that the stocks of the dessert wine already produced can not be sold in the future under the same name.
It provoked the outrage among winemakers in Croatia, as they fear this change will endanger their production and businesses. Some of them even consider filing a lawsuit against the Croatian negotiation team as they did not, during the EU accession and negotiations, react and have not protected the traditional Croatian brands. Those who are not that radical in their claims think that it would be much wiser to calm the situation down and find a solution that would prevent and change this unpleasent surprise that the agriculture minister announced.
Still, they all agree that the famous traditional product has ceased to exist due to the administrative failure.
-It is a huge omission and because of this failure Croatia is left without its traditional dessert wine that has its roots in Middle Ages and without the brend of «Dalmatian Prosek» known globally – says Zelimir Basic who presides the Association of the Dalmatian Wine Makers.
He says that this entire procedure in the attempt to protect «Dalmatian Prosek» should be initiated by the Agriculture Ministry.
-I am sure that hte Intellectual Property Institute had know about this entire situation and I am sure all of this could have been prevented earlier. Now I am afraid that there is a long and complicated procedure ahead of us and it can be initiated by the state, that is, the Ministry – adds Basic. «When Croatia enters EU, instead of the privilege to show its uniqueness and differences, we will be forced to forget our tradition and history. And all of this happened because of someone’s stupidity», he says. It is not easy to promote a product under the new name as the name of «prosek» exists since the 16th century.
-We are now in the very difficult position. It is just like promoting the entire new product. Just like somebody has decided you can not call «water» by that name – «water» and you need to sell in under a different name – he concludes.
Wine making Association vicepresident Goran Batovanja says that the winemakers will find themselves in the very complicated and unnatural situation after 1st of July.
-Every nation has its right on its own terminology and names. The fact that the Italians call prosek «prosecco» does not mean that they invented this name, because I am sure the word existed before and was used by someone else. The fact that they protected «prosecco» does not mean that Croatia has to renounce its «prosek». But I am well aware that we need to respect the laws – says Batovanja, concluding that the producers of «prosek» will suffer the biggest loss in this situation.