The Willamette Valley has been awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status by the European Union!
The Willamette Valley is now one of just two American wine regions to hold this protection. The first American wine region to achieve PGI status was the Napa Valley back in 2007. So what does PGI status really mean?
According to oregonwine.org “It’s a major breakthrough in global brand awareness and a milestone for the Valley’s many hardworking winegrowers and winemakers. The PGI system protects iconic names of agricultural products, spirit drinks, and wines with a link to their geographical origin, including well-known products such as Champagne and Barolo. Only two American wine regions, Napa Valley and now the Willamette Valley, carry this distinction.”
The Willamette Valley name is now protected and secured throughout EU market, with 450 million consumers. The European Union Ambassador to the United States Stavros Lambrinidis says that for the European consumer “the PGI is the guarantee of authenticity: that every bottle meets the quality standard set by the Willamette producers. Geographical Indications are the cornerstone of EU quality wines and spirits and of agricultural products and foodstuffs.”
Harpers puts it this way: “PGI status ensures the legal protection of Willamette Valley wines from counterfeit or imitation products and attaches a cache for EU retailers and consumers, who recognize it as a stamp of quality and assurance of provenance.”
The Willamette Valley’s path to becoming PGI certified started back in 1982 and has been pioneered by winemaker Harry Peterson-Nedry of RR Winery/Ridgecrest Vineyards:
“Special places that makes special wines have special needs for protection, and that recognition is important… We need to prove ourselves to be as helpful to others as they have been to us, both helping others achieve protection, and raising awareness of place name importance. We have to do what we do well – make wine, and collaborate with others.”Harry Peterson-Nedry in winebusiness.com
The Willamette Valley Vineyards Association, Oregon Wine Board and Oregon Wineries Association were also involved in the long path to PGI certification, proving once again the force of our strong collaborative community. Cheers to a bright future for Willamette Valley Wines in the EU!