Wednesday, 11 November 2020 14:42

Those Wonderful Wines

Patrícia Pais Leite, head of Legal at the Vinho Verde Commission, introduces us to the captivating world of the wine as its legal ins and outs, a world of endless experiences. A passion which began for her twenty years ago, when she entered for the first time in a beautiful 19th century mansion house located in the centre of Porto, responding to a job offer “at a certifying entity” as a “lawyer with Industrial Property skills.” That interview was the moment when she knew she was at the Vinho Verde Wine Commission and that the job was at the head of the Legal department. Her journey in the “legal universe of wines” had begun. In just a few months, this unknown world became a passion.

First of all, can we say “Green Wine” instead of “Vinho Verde”?

“Vinho Verde” is the name of a Wine Designation of Origin (DO) and, like any other DO, it is not translatable, in accordance with European legislation in the wine sector and European and international Intellectual Property standards. All Wine DOs must be used in the language in which they are registered, that is, the languages which are or were historically used to describe the specific product in the demarcated geographical area. They also enjoy legal protection against translation. The European legislation considers the translation of a DO to be an abusive practice, in order to avoid the risk of the DOs becoming generic (the common name of a wine) as a result of such practices. This protection is ensured at the international level by the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Designations of Origin and the Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement.
Most DOs are protected only in the language of the country of origin (Champagne, Bordeaux, Prosecco, Chianti, Ribera del Duero, Rioja, Douro, Alentejo, among others), although there are DOs that are also protected in other languages.

Is the Vinho Verde Wine Commission a private institution or a public one? What exactly are the functions of a wine commission?

The Vinho Verde Wine Commission (Comissão de Viticultura da Região dos Vinhos Verdes, CVRVV) was set up in 1926 as a public entity to implement the rules governing the production and trade of the wines from the Vinho Verde region, demarcated F in 1908. In 1987, the Government recognised the CVRVV as a regional association, a legal entity in private law. It is also a public interest institution, which under Portuguese Law is a private non-profit legal entity pursuing general interest purposes. The CVRVV has two main activities. The first one, it is the management entity that performs the strategic function delegated by the State to ensure the promotion and legal protection and defence of the Vinho Verde DO and the Minho Geographical Indication GI. The second one, it is the Certification body that certifies wine products with the Vinho Verde DO and the Minho GI. As Management Entity, the CVRVV activity is based on the interprofessional model, representing, in a whole and equal way, operators of the region with professional interests in the production, on the one hand, and in the trade, on the other, of products with DO and GI. As a Certification Body, the CVRVV was designated by law and accredited by the Portuguese Institute of Accreditation (IPAC), according to the Portuguese and European standard NP EN ISO / IEC 17065, as the entity responsible for supervising the production, trade and certification of wine products with the Vinho Verde DO and the Minho GI.

by Antonio Jiménez 

To read the article in full please download issue N.99 here

Iberian Lawyer
N.106 • July-August 2021

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The Latin American Lawyer
N.20 • July-August 2021

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