In 1998 a group of countries producing New World Wine met in Zurich to balance the overwhelming influence of Europe on international wine issues.  In 2002, the Wine Pact was formed, developing  regulatory and enforcement systems to assure countries comply with standards in wine production.How is Champagne made? By sheer genius, sir, sheer genius! - Anonymous, Conversation At White's Club, London
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The Wine Pact

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In 1998 a group of countries producing New World Wine met in Zurich to balance the overwhelming influence of Europe on international wine issues.  In 2002, the Wine Pact was formed, developing  regulatory and enforcement systems to assure countries comply with standards in wine production.

The World Wine Trade Group had its origins in a meeting in Zurich in 1998.  The countries included were Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, and USA. The first meeting was called with the intention of forming an alliance of like-minded New World wine producing countries to balance the overwhelming influence of Europe on international wine matters. Their objective is to share information, collaborate on a variety of international issues and endeavors to create an environment for the free trade in wine. An important initiative was an agreement to negotiate a Mutual Acceptance Agreement (MAA) on wine making technical standards among members. 

The Wine Pact

In December of 2002, the following seven countries formed a pact, known as the Mutual Acceptance Agreement (MAA), a major development that will forever change the world of wine.

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • United States

"This agreement is a breakthrough for world wine trade that recognizes the effectiveness of other country's regulatory and enforcement systems for assuring that producers comply with its country's standards," said John De Luca, president and CEO of the Wine Institute in San Francisco. "We hope other countries will participate in the agreement and liberalize wine trade."

Participating countries agreed to understand and respect their differences in growing methods as well as views on wine production.

Under the agreement, each country will permit the importation of wines from every other signatory country as long as the wines are made in accordance with the domestic laws and technical wine making requirements and regulations of the country of origin and oenological practices.

The agreement recognizes that different countries use diverse winemaking practices due to local conditions, climatic variations and traditions, and that grape growing and wine making practices are constantly being developed. These practices have been used as reasons to prevent market access and impede international wine trade. The U.S. allows wine imports if they meet another country's standards, but this agreement guarantees that participating trade partners give U.S. wines the same respect. The signatories believe that, for countries with strong mechanisms in place to regulate wine making, mutual acceptance is the best way to smooth the progress of wine trade.

 

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