As published in the British newspaper “The Guardian”, in its online version, the Italian government is starting proceedings against Slovenia aiming at the defence of the authenticity of its famous, geographically protected balsamic vinegar.
In 2021, Slovenia informed the European Commission in respect of its plans to “standardise” its vinegar production, mainly for the purpose of commercialising any wine vinegar mixed with concentrated fruit juice as a “balsamic vinegar”.
According to Italy, this decision of Slovenia is a threat to their traditional excellence in the production of balsamic vinegar, namely in the geographical region of Modena.
The term “aceto balsamico di Modena” (balsamic vinegar of Modena) has been in place since 2009 and can only be used by producers in Modena and the Emilia-Romagna region.
The battle involving balsamic vinegar has become a priority for the Italian government, the first step being a consultation with the European Commission before taking the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), if deemed necessary.
This decision was given in respect of a case involving Italian producers of balsamic vinegar and a German company, in which said producers were seeking to prevent the German company from using the terms “aceto” or “aceto balsamico” when commercialising their vinegar products, labelled as “Deutscher balsâmico” (German balsâmico).
Therefore, in this specific case, whereas the registered mark “aceto balsamico di Modena” can only be used by producers within a specific geographical area, these restrictions do not apply to the designation “aceto balsamico”.