LONDON (Reuters) - British makers of sparkling wine are applying to Brussels to have their product recognized under the EU protected food name scheme to bolster one of their fastest-growing products.


They are seeking Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for "British Sparkling Wine" made in the traditional method similar to champagne, which is more expensive and time-consuming than with some cheaper sparkling wines.


Food names already protected in the UK include products like Cornish pasties, Arbroath smokies, Scotch beef and Melton Mowbray pork pies.


"With the success of English sparkling wine both here and increasingly abroad it is important for producers from the UK to protect and use recognizable and marketable terms for their wines," said Julia Trustram Eve, marketing director of English Wine Producers.


"Applying to use the term 'British' in the context of its sparkling wine will ensure that 'British sparkling wine' can only be made from British-grown grapes and in the highest quality traditional method," she added in a statement.


Fizzy wine makes up nearly 70 percent of the UK's wine production, according to government figures, and was exported to 27 countries in 2016, up by a third from the previous year.

The process of achieving protected status can take up to four years, according to the British agriculture ministry (DEFRA)

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison)