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ECJ rejects appeal to make “Tokaj” solely Hungarian

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) today rejected an appeal by Hungary of a 2012 decision protecting the registered use of the name “Vinohradnicka oblast’ Tokaj” for wine grown in a region of Slovakia.

The inscription of the name in the E-Bacchus electronic database may not be disputed in European Union courts, the court ruled, noting that the Tokaj wine region exists both in Hungary and Slovakia.

In a 2004 agreement, Hungary and Slovakia established that the Tokaj wine-growing area forms a cross-border region, and pledged to agree as soon as possible on uniform methods of production and quality control, as well as to specify the exact borders of the Slovak wine-growing region.

These issues, however, are still bones of contention between the two countries: With uniform regulations missing, Hungary has insisted that the two areas should be considered as separate wine-growing regions so that wines marketed under the Tokaj label but failing to meet the strict Hungarian standards should not harm the brand of those made in Hungary.