Europe recognises the ‘Amarone Families’ brand
To everyone’s surprise, the latest chapter of the Amarone affair sees the name of Amarone Families (Famiglie dell’Amarone d’Arte) back in the game. The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has in fact rejected the request to annul the European brand “Amarone Families – Famiglie dell’Amarone d’Arte” put forward by the Consorzio vini della Valpolicella. This decision is the total opposite of the sentence passed by the Court of Venice at the end of October, which decreed that it was not possible to use the term “Amarone” to distinguish the association of the Families.
The origin of the dispute
It all began when the Consorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella sued the 13 wineries who joined forces in 2009 to produce quality Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG with more restrictive rules (Allegrini, Begali, Brigaldara, Guerrieri Rizzardi, Masi Agricola, Musella, Speri, Tedeschi, Tenuta Sant’Antonio, Tommasi, Torre d’Orti, Venturini and Zenato). But while the Italian sentence made it impossible to register a protected designation of origin within the name of the private brand, the European outlook could overturn (or certainly redefine) the situation.
European Authorities back the Famiglie dell’Amarone d’Arte
The European Authorities have rejected all the Consorzio’s requests, both for the alleged illegal use of a registered trademark, and the use of the term “Arte”, because they consider it neither favourable nor misleading for the consumer. The Consorzio must also pay the legal costs. “The European brand and the seal of the Famiglie dell’Amarone d’Arte association are therefore perfectly valid. The European decision changes things,” explains Maria Sabrina Tedeschi, president of Famiglie dell’Amarone, “and backs the whole line of defence put forward by our lawyers.”
Common aim: peace in Amarone
Today the common desire is to end this quarrel. This can be inferred from the words of Andrea Sartori, president of the Consorzio, who in mid-November said to Corriere.it, “We must work together to promote Amarone. I hope the Families will come back to the Consorzio”. Just as positive is the response of the Families, “negotiations seem positive and promising. Our commitment will always be aimed at expanding the image of our wineries and, consequently, the whole territory.” Today, the president Maria Sabrina Tedeschi says, “We are also trying to go down the road of dialogue and conciliation with the Consorzio. This dispute has been bad for the whole territory, diverting attention from the real problems of the appellation.”