July 28: Pisco Punch and Pisco Sour are two of the most delicious cocktails that can be crafted out of this Latin American brandy-like spirit introduced by the Spanish settlers in the 16th century along with wine in Peru and Chile, but its increasing popularity and huge potential in India, predicted by delWine in 2003, has the two countries fighting over its GI registration in India, with Peru finally winning the GI tag last month and Chile bracing up to continue the fight in the High Court
On July 14, 2005 the World lntellectual Property Organization (WIPO) formally notified to the Government of Peru that the appellation of origin Pisco had been registered in favour of Peru in the International Registry for Appellations of Origin. Based on this registration, the Embassy of Peru had applied to the GI Registry office in India in September, 2005 for the grant of GI Status for Pisco. It was granted a ‘Peruvian Pisco’ status and issued a certificate of registration on 19 March, 2010.
However, Peru was not satisfied with the ruling as they wanted the Pisco tag; a few countries have been making Pisco, notably Chile which has been making it for a long time. So they filed an appeal before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB). After hearing the case, it accepted the appeal and accordingly granted the right of Pisco to be registered in their favour last month on 17June, 2019. Chile has reportedly raised objection on this order and plans to approach the High Court through Associacion de Productores de Pisco, AG In Chile.
At the present time Costa Rica, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama, Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic in South America and Thailand in Asia have already recognized Pisco as exclusively for Peru. With the current order of 17, June, 2019 India has also granted them the same status.
Pisco Story and Delhi Wine Club
The story of Pisco began for Indian Wine Academy and Delhi Wine Club 16 years ago in 2003. At one of the Delhi Wine Club dinners with Chilean wines at La Cave Restaurant at Hotel Grand (then Grand Hyatt) Victor Muñoz, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Peru in Delhi was also present. He was impressed enough to request Arora, President of the Club and Indian Wine Academy to meet with the Peruvian Ambassador, H. E. Mr. Benjamin Ruiz.
His words still ring in my ears, ‘you promote Chilean wines so much; how about showcasing Peruvian wines at one of your wine club dinners that we will host. Being a neutral wine promoter, I readily agreed. A couple of meetings with His Excellency for details and the stage was set for a memorable dinner hosted graciously by him at his residence on 15 December, 2003. At his request as the host I relented for Pisco and Pisco cocktails to be included in the List of wines served.
The evening was a grand success but the wines received only lukewarm response from members. But Pisco cocktails were on fire and the members loved them; I being a Vinotaler, politely abstained from tasting them. My recommendation to the Ambassador was that India was not ready for Peruvian wines yet, what with the aggressive promotion of its neighbouring Chile exporting value- for money- wines getting ever so popular. I recommended him instead to promote Pisco as a cocktail ingredient. Unfortunately, they did not have budgets to promote it and the matte was dropped with me making a few feeble unsuccessful efforts to volunteer the promotion through associates.
Pisco is Peru
When I visited Madrid Fusion in 2007 I was impressed by the ‘Pisco is Peru’ stand which was serving Pisco cocktails out of a List of 6-8 items. Even then I remember approaching the Embassy to take a clue from the heavy rush there and look at promoting it in India. Later, I was very impressed with a Chilean Pisco promotion in Valencia in 2009 when I had gone to judge at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. This was followed by a wine festival I attended in Delhi by ProChile where Pisco cocktails served as a welcome drink were extremely popular with the guests.
Pisco in Peru
Pisco is a small city located in the Department of Ica in Peru and the capital of Pisco Province. Pisco was founded in 1640 and originally prospered because of its vineyards and became noted for its grape brandy christened as Pisco. The town of Santa Maria Magdalena, founded in 1572, had a port named Pisco, after the name of the valley in which it was located. This port became an important route for distribution of the liqueur throughout Peru. Over time, the town of Santa Maria Magdalena became simply known as Pisco' with the same name adopted for the grape brandy produced from the area. In a few decades, Pisco was distributed along the entire coast of Peru and Chile, as well as the Pacific and Europe.
Relations between Peru and Chile have historically been some of the most troubled in South America, but the past few years have brought a new energy to the relationship. Peru's resentment toward Chile can be traced as far back as the War of the Pacific in the late 19th century, when Chile defeated both Bolivia and Peru. As a result, Peru lost part of its territory.
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DelWine has in its possession all the 26 documents detailing the Peruvian expensive and long journey from 2005 to June 2019, giving them the victory over the neighbouring Chile. For the moment Pisco is sour for the Chileans. It is interesting that the documents submitted in 2005 by the Embassy of Peru list H.E. Ruiz and Victor Muñoz as representing Peru, making one believe that perhaps the Delhi Wine Club dinner followed by my recommendations catalysed them into see the future and opt for Registration of GI. With the Indian market ready to accept exotic alcoholic products from throughout the world, it seems quite likely.
In any case, Peruvians Pisco has the Punch while Chile might feel the taste of Pisco sour ... at least for now. Ms. Chanchal Purohit, a trade mark and patent attorney and a consultant to delWine says,' this is a very unusual case where Chile has been opposing equally strongly, as they have also been producing Pisco apparently for a very long time. No wonder it took 14 years to get the Registration/appeal process so far. Chile will undoubtedly file an appeal which can be filed within 90 days after they are given all documents in the case. Only the High Court will then decide, which one or if both can be allowed to use the Pisco GI label in India.'
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