Surprisingly, foreign sales of Tocai Friulano grow with compliance to labeling restrictions imposed by EU Constitutional Court

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.

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5 thoughts on “Surprisingly, foreign sales of Tocai Friulano grow with compliance to labeling restrictions imposed by EU Constitutional Court

  1. Good afternoon.
    It was about 20 years ago when Francesco Bonfio at his Enoteca Le Bollicine made me taste an extraordinary white wine. You have to focus on the terrible quality of italian white wines at the half of the Eighties: the coolest wine at the time was Galestro Capsula Viola……….. that name says it all……..
    Anyway, be back to the extraordinary Tacai Ronco della Chiesa, of course i can’ t remember the vintage. As I told you at the beginning , it has passed 20 years and still i remeber the incredible quality of that wine: i’ve met several times the owner and we always talk about how great it was his Tocai in that period and about the loss of time that the war on the name has been.
    The result is that nowadays in Italy noone produces such quality white wines anymore and the Hungarian will never……..
    Have a nice evening

  2. Difficult to find any Italian Tocai in most wine stores and when found are
    usually around $25-30. Livio Felluga in that range; Schiopetto Collio is higher. Do you know of good quality producers in the $20 range? In my opinion, Friulano is not an appealing name for a wine based on a traditional northern Italian varietal. Ask for a glass of wine in Friuli, someone brings you a Tocai.
    Will the EU ask Greco di Tufo to change its name?

  3. Peter: Regarding Tocai prices, the two producers you named are 2 of the greatest, easiest to find, and regrettably, most expensive.

    There are others out there worth seeking out that are very good and are very affordable. Dario Emacora’s is one. Ours (Bastianich) is another.

    It’s interesting to note that the Hungarians were NOT opposed to the use of the word Tocai on Tocai Friulano labels. It was France that held the largest objections.

    ALSO, wines produced outside the European Union with the same grape variety can still be labeled “Tocai Friulano”…

    Finally… the compromise that wines sold inside Italy can retain the “tocai” name is a recipe for consumer confusion. In fact, very few producers here in Friuli are considering keeping the Tocai for domestic market wines…

  4. Perhaps they should just label it with the varietal name which is Sauvignon Vert, and use the appelations such as Collio Orientale del Friuli, Collio Goriziano, Grave del Friuli and so on. They already do this with Pinot Grigio and these appelation have DOC status already for Tocai Friulano.

  5. Pingback: A killer Tocai (and a new system for wine ratings?) « Do Bianchi

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