An Order in Council, the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act Commencement Order 2017, will bring the remaining provisions of the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act 2006 into force on 27 July 2017.
The Act received the Royal assent on 21 November 2006, but most of the provisions have not been brought into force until now. Like good wine, legislation setting up New Zealand geographical indications has had a long gestation. Legislation passed in 1995, the Geographical Indications Act 1994, was never brought into force and was repealed on 14 April 2008. An amendment to the 2006 Act, the Geographical Indications (Wines and Spirits) Registration Amendment Act 2016 received the Royal assent on 25 November 2016, making significant changes to the 2006 legislation.
The current legislation allows New Zealand wine and spirit makers to formally register their geographical indications. A geographical indication shows that a wine or spirit comes from a specific region and possesses particular qualities or characteristics as a result.
A Registrar of Geographical Indications is required to be appointed and to register geographical indications. These may not be registered until six months after the date of the application for registration. The registration is effective for five years from the date of registration, and may be renewed.
A number of companies and organisations have indicated that they will be applying for registration under the Act. The Central Otago Winegrowers Association told the Otago Daily Times in early June that it was getting ready to lodge an application to designate Central Otago as a formal wine region.
Regulations which set out the mandatory requirements and process for registration were made on 26 June 2017. The Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Regulations 2017 will also come into force on 27 July 2017 and set the application fee for registering a geographical indication at $5,000.