Since its foundation in 1935, the stature of the Champagne AOC has grown considerably. Its members, the Winegrowers and Champagne Houses, have worked hard to develop their inter-professional partnership, always thinking ahead and looking for ways to improve performance. Thanks to their vision and determination, the Champagne Appellation now enjoys a reputation that serves as a powerful disincentive to fraud.
The Comité Champagne: mandated to protect
Appellation defence worldwide
The Comité Champagne operates via a global network of bureaus in 16 of the biggest export markets for Champagne. Their job is to protect the image of Champagne within their respective markets and report misuse of its name. Some disputes may be settled out of court, some go to trial.
Why the need for protection?
The reputation and importance of the Champagne appellation has long been a source of envy for other producers, spawning hundreds of imitations every year. Some brands are easy to copy, but Champagne is a unique product born of the shared heritage of Winegrowers and Champagne Houses whose livelihoods depend on protecting that heritage.
They also have a duty to protect consumers against misleading claims made for any wines, beverages or products that trade off Champagne’s reputation as an appellation of guaranteed origin and quality.
It is therefore the policy of the Comité Champagne and the INAO to prosecute anyone who misappropriates the reputation or identity of the Champagne appellation.
The Comité Champagne’s legal role in appellation protection
"Revised Law of 12 April 1941, establishing the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne [extracts]
"The Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne is a recognized legal entity with the right to bring actions before the courts. It has the right to institute partie civile proceedings (civil action) before any court of competent jurisdiction in respect of matters that directly or indirectly prejudice the collective interests of the groups it represents.
Its representatives in civil and criminal cases are the CIVC presidents, acting alone or jointly, who may delegate all or part of their powers to the person of their choosing.”
Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin
In wine, location is the key ingredient. In fact, each bottle showcases an authentic characteristic of the soil, climate and temperature of the region, and the uniqueness of local growers and winemakers. When you pick a wine from Champagne, it means something to you. The word Champagne represents more than a name. It denotes a specific wine growing place.
That’s why, the Comité Champagne works diligently to preserve and protect the Champagne name as well as the names of wine regions around the world. When the location of wine true place of origin is misused, consumers are misled and the sanctity of all quality wine regions is undermined. As such, we began working proactively with other quality wine regions that are also concerned with their names being misused and want to eliminate consumer confusion.
In 2005, the Comité Champagne joined the Declaration to Protect Wine Place and Origin. What started as a group of eight regions has now expanded to 19 signatories. Champagne is proud to join with Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, Napa Valley, Oregon, Porto, Washington State, Walla Walla Valley, Willamette Valley, Chianti Classico, Paso Robles, Sonoma County, Tokaj, Victoria, Western Australia, Long Island, Rioja, Bourgogne/Chablis, Santa Barbara County and Bordeaux.
While we may be competitors in the global marketplace, we all agree that each region is unique and, as such, produces wines impossible to duplicate anywhere else. It’s really quite simple: location matters. We urge you to join us in looking carefully at all wine labels and ensuring that you know where your wines come from.
To learn more, visit www.WineOrigins.com