Now labeled “Friulano” instead of “Tocai,” sales of Tocai Friulano have increased by 10% in Germany and the U.S., according to Coldiretti Friuli-Venezia Giulia’s new president Dario Ermacora. “The ‘Friulano’ label will be good for Tocai,” said Ermacora. “More Friulano is being sold already, especially in the U.S. and Germany.”
Defeat in the legal battle with Hungarian Tokaj has “turned [the course of] history in our favor,” said Ermacora in an interview with the Italian daily newspaper Il Piccolo. “It may not be the best possible name from a marketing perspective but it certainly helps to identify our region with our products.”
Approximately 1.2 million hectoliters are produced each year in Friuli, representing 14% of the region’s total production. “The new name eliminates confusion with the sweet Hungarian wine,” said Ermacora, “and has a clear connection with our region.” The new labeling, he added, “has helped to pave the way for other locally produced white wines.”
In a 2007 decision in a complaint filed by Hungary (where the homonymous Tokaj is produced), the European Union’s Constitutional Court ordered Friuli to stop labeling the wine as “Tocai,” allowing to be labeled as “Tocai Friulano” only in Italy.