Slovakia may again use Tokaj label

WINE-MAKERS from south eastern Slovakia may soon use the name ‘Tokaj’ again – resolving a long-standing dispute with neighbouring Hungary.

WINE-MAKERS from south eastern Slovakia may soon use the name ‘Tokaj’ again – resolving a long-standing dispute with neighbouring Hungary.

The Slovak parliament passed an amendment to the Act on Viniculture proposed by the Agriculture Ministry in a fast-tracked legislative procedure to allow Slovak vintners to again use the designation, the SITA newswire reported.

The bill, now awaiting the president’s signature, would take effect on June 1 and through it Slovakia would adopt the European format for labelling wines, which means there would no longer be a division of Slovak wines into the categories of table and vintage wines, SITA wrote.

The new categorisation emphasises geographical labelling.

According to the legislation, there will be six Slovak wine regions: Malokarpatská (Small Carpathian region), Južnoslovenská (southern Slovak), Stredoslovenská (central Slovak), Nitrianska (Nitra), Východoslovenská (eastern Slovak) and Tokaj.

The present dispute over use of precise term for the wine of this region arose in July 2009.

Despite an agreement that every change in legislation affecting the shared, bi-country wine region would first be consulted, Hungary unexpectedly changed its previously agreed-upon term ‘Tokaji’ to ‘Tokaj’ in its legislation.

Hungary also asked the European Commission (EC) for registration of its ‘Tokaj’ as a protected designation of origin. Slovakia had previously asked to register the term ‘Tokaj’ but the request was rejected by the EC.

The publication of the Hungarian proposal in its legislative journal triggered a two-month time limit within which Slovakia was permitted to comment on the Hungarian application.

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