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The Associated Press reports that "Italy has pledged to defend the name of the popular sparkling wine Prosecco as Croatia petitions the European Union to allow its winemakers to call their sweet dessert wine Prosek. The decision not only is a threat to the carefully protected market for the world's top-selling wine but also the entire system of EU geographical designations created to guarantee the quality of artisanal food, wine and spirits."

The story says that "the Italian government has pledged to defend Prosecco’s name, and other makers of protected products with distinct geographic roots, from Italy's Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to France's Champagne, are mobilizing as the European Commission prepares to deliberate on Croatia’s petition to label its niche wine with the traditional Prosek name."

Winemaker Milos Skabar tells the AP, "Prosekar wine is the original, because it was born 300 years before Prosecco.  So, it is the father of Prosekar, Prosecco, Prosek and all the rest.”

The AP offers some context:

"The dispute, which will be decided in the coming months, is likely to turn on Prosecco’s origin story, emanating from the bilingual Italian village of Prosecco near the Slovenian border above Trieste, where winemaking once flourished.

"It is here, say the ethnic Slovene Italians who make Prosekar, that the grape known as Glera — the basis of both Prosecco and Prosekar — originated.  But besides common etymological roots, Prosekar, Prosecco and Prosek have little in common.

"Prosecco, made predominantly from the Glera grape, is produced by three consortia spanning nine Italian provinces in alpine foothills that curve along the Adriatic Sea. They put out more than 550 million bottles a year.

"Prosek is a sweet wine made in Dalmatia with dried native Croatian grapes, none of them Glera, and may be red or white.

"Prosekar, on the other hand, is an equal blend of Glera and two other grapes, made by fewer than a dozen micro-producers. In decades past, Prosekar was mainly produced at home and shared among friends, family and neighbors, often served from ad-hoc taverns in private houses."

KC's View:

I'm a big believer in protecting names that have both historical and commercial value … but the history, at least as described here, does seem to muddle the case.  I have no idea what's the right thing to do.