Pulling the wool (John Hein)

Future purchasers of “Native Shetland Wool” should not feel confident that this commodity is actually produced in Shetland notwithstanding the fact that it has achieved Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) accreditation.

In 2000, “Newcastle Brown” ale was afforded similar protection amid much brewery brouhaha about it only ever being brewable in Newcastle due to tradition and something in the water. Its production was subsequently quietly moved across the Tyne to Dunston in 2005 and, since 2010, it has been brewed in Tadcaster in Yorkshire while its production method is also believed to have been significantly changed.

This cynical action by the erstwhile Scottish and Newcastle Breweries has totally devalued the PDO scheme which can no longer be relied upon in any way.

John Hein
78 Montgomery Street,


Add Your Comment
  • Kate Sidra Ali

    • November 12th, 2011 2:06

    “Shear” Negativity!

    I was totally delighted to read that native Shetland Wool has achieved Protected Designation Status (PDO) accreditation and was very disappointed that this was immediately met with negative words.
    Shetlanders, whether they be the crofters who own the sheep, the knitters and crafters who handle the wool or those who are just glad to wear it, all realize that this is the only fair decision that could have been made and have been trying so hard to get to this point for years.
    One day in September my sister and I were kindly given permission ( because of a photography project) to walk through The Wool Brokers premises and take photos of “all things woolly”. I have to say those people are VERY passionate about their product. So much so that the managing director, Oliver Henry, stopped what he was doing (which was sorting raw, dirty wool, not sitting in a plush chair pushing a pen!) and told us all about the fleece, colours, lace knitting, Shetland wool carpeting etc until we could hardly hold any more information. He has worked there since the 1960’s, such is his commitment to Shetland crofters and wool.
    I think the least we can do in return for people trying so hard to keep Shetland wool precious to the islands and also to celebrate the long awaited PDO status accreditation is to continue to keep the Shetland Wool flag flying high, keep speaking about the attributes of Shetland wool and keep using it and marketing it.
    The minute we begin to speak negatively we are virtually pulling fleece from a barbed wire fence and allowing it to blow away with the wind.

    Kate Sidra Ali

  • Kate Sidra Ali

    • November 12th, 2011 2:12

    Typing Error in my comment.
    Please note, second line of my comment/view “”Shear” Negativity” should read Protected Designation of Origin, NOT Protected Designation Status.

    Sorry for the error and any inconvenience.

    Kate Sidra Ali

  • Richard Briggs, Stromfirth

    • November 13th, 2011 10:21

    Native Shetland wool PDO

    I note that the pessimistic Mr Montgomery did not mention that the EU geographical indicator awarded to Newcastle Brown Ale was withdrawn when the product’s method and location of production was changed. Trading standards could have prosecuted the brewery if they had continued to label their product with a logo to which it was not entitled. I use the red and yellow PDO symbol to assures customers that my Shetland Lamb is the genuine article. I believe the designation will be of great benefit to producers of “Native Shetland Wool” because the name Shetland on its own is used in many contexts in the world of wool.


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