Italy and Slovenia engaged in conflict over balsamic vinegar

Italys vinegar producers are in a battle with their competitors in Slovenia over balsamic vinegar. The consortium for the protection of Aceto Balsamico di Modena, the traditional balsamic vinegar produced in the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy, feels attacked by acetic makers in the eastern neighbouring country.

The Government of Slovenia has submitted an application to the EU for a so-called national technical standard for the production of balsamic vinegar. The Italian producers do not like that. For them, the use of the term is too close to their protected regional trade mark from Modena, which could lead to confusion.

The acetic conflict is not just about ingredients and names, but about a billion-dollar turnover, writes the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

If the Slovenes succeed in their intentions, it would be stipulated that all wine vines mixed with grape must may call themselves aceto balsamic or balsamic vinegar, according to Federico Desimoni, director of the consortium.

The grapes for the Italian balsamic are traditionally sourced from the Lambrusco, Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Albana, Ancellotta, Fortana and Montuni grape varieties. At least 10 percent wine vinegar and an amount of old vinegar of at least 10 years old is added to the grape must.

Slovenia believes it is in its right because the vinegar issue has not been settled in the EU, which, according to Ljubljana, means that each country can adopt its own rules. Slovenia sent the plans to the EU Commission by the end of 2020.

The Italian government will do everything in its power to defend balsamic vinegar against attacks. For Rome, the protection of the cultural heritage of its own producers is a high priority, said Agriculture Minister Stefano Patuanelli to Ansa news agency.