A decisive week for the “.wine” and “.vin” and the Internet Governance

The week of 17-21 November will be a decisive one for the European Geographical Indication (GI) wine sector. Indeed, during ICANN’s meeting in Buenos Aires a special session on the delegation “.wine” and “.vin” will take place. The delegation (that is to say the creation) of these two new top-level domains (gTLDs)- today there are more or less twenty gTLDs such as “.com ” and “.eu” – raises a number of issues.

There is a strong opposition on the delegation of “.wine” and “.vin” between the European wine sector, which calls for the protection of GI names, and the candidate companies, which want to sell second-level domain names to the highest bidder regardless of the relationship with the GI in question.

The European Commission has taken a strong position in support of the European wine sector and links the issue to the more general debate of ICANN’s Internet governance. In a letter to ICANN, the European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Mrs Neelie Kroes, said that the European Union will not accept the delegation of “.wine” and “.vin” without guarantees on GI protection. The letter also underlines the risks for consumers if there is no GI protection and calls for the candidates and the wine sector to find a solution. The discussion on “.wine” and “.vin” raises an old debate on ICANN’s Internet governance, which is seen by a growing number of countries as too favourable to the United States.

EFOW, the European Federation of Origin Wines, welcomes this new signal from the European Commission a few days before the Buenos Aires decisive meeting. As requested by ICANN, the European wine sector has been in contact with the candidate companies to discuss safeguards which must be included in the “.wine” and “.vin” in order to reach an agreement that benefits all stakeholders. Should no agreement be found, EFOW calls on the European Commission and Member States to take all actions possible to prevent the delegation of these two domain names and protect GIs on the Internet.