Hawke's Bay wine is becoming increasingly popular and sought after in the emerging market of China - although some "Bay" varieties on the shelves there are anything but wines grown and produced here.
"We know there is counterfeit Hawke's Bay wine in overseas markets, China in particular," Hawke's Bay Winegrowers executive officer Lyn Bevin said.
As a result of growing concern about the Hawke's Bay name being used on wines made elsewhere, Hawke's Bay Winegrowers will be canvassing its members about the proposed introduction of geographical indications (GI) that the parent body New Zealand Winegrowers wants to see brought in.
Ms Bevin said a recent review of the wine industry identified a need to protect and grow the reputation and position of New Zealand wines.
"Having some legal redress would be very helpful, both as a deterrent and if need be, a stick."
GIs are already well established and in place in Europe and the United States. Only wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France can be labelled as Bordeaux, and only sparkling wine made in Champagne can be produced and marketed as champagne.
Introduction of a Geographical Indications Act would identify a wine originating in a particular territory or region of a country where the quality and reputation was attributable to its geographical origin.
Former senior vice-president of the International Geographical Union, Professor Warren Moran from the University of Auckland, was in Hawke's Bay earlier this month where he made a presentation to winegrowers.
Ms Bevin said the general feeling among members was to support an application to register Hawke's Bay as a geographical indication using the official sanctioned regional government boundaries. "Legal protection can then be provided."
She said a big consideration for winemakers and growers would be whether sub-regions such as Gimblett Gravels would be determined as a unique GI if they chose to register them as such, as well as registering Hawke's Bay as a legally protected GI. Other questions posed by winegrowers at the forum included whether the French approach of defining areas to be excluded and imposing restrictions on what can and can't be done, was likely. There was also discussion on how aromatics and pinot noir would fit should a red wine message be pushed for Hawke's Bay.
Ms Bevin is now compiling a report on the matter.