Terroir & appellation
The Comité Champagne is responsible for protecting the Champagne AOC against counterfeiting and misuse of name (identity theft). In some countries, it also takes action against activities that undermine the exclusivity of the Champagne AOC (legalised theft). In countries that do not officially recognise the AOC’s right to protection, the Comité works alongside French and European authorities to tighten protection measures.
The Comité Champagne works closely with French and overseas border authorities to make sure that counterfeits are detected promptly, shutting down counterfeiting rings where necessary and seeking maximum sentences for the criminals concerned.
As part of its anti-counterfeit policy, the Comité Champagne oversees a global network of Champagne bureaus and provides customs authorities worldwide with online information on how to distinguish fakes from the real thing.
Some countries have a long tradition of calling their sparkling wines ‘Champagne’. This is particularly true of Argentina, Brazil, the USA, Russia and the Ukraine, encouraged by national legislation that defines ‘Champagne’ as a product category.
Specific actions undertaken by the Comité Champagne in each of these countries include:
Champagne’s strong positive connotations make it an obvious target for people with few scruples about trading off such an enviable reputation. Celebration, luxury, quality – the name ‘Champagne’ conjures up images that are the perfect material for marketing.
It’s as if the name Champagne had become a talisman – the key to success regardless of what is actually being marketed. Cosmetics, drinks, furniture and decor, food processing, state-of-the-art technology – you name it, it has been called ‘Champagne’.
Taken individually, these instances of misuse pose no particular risk to the AOC. But taken as a whole they have the potential to undermine its reputation – particularly when you consider that hundreds of cases of misuse, in countries all over the world, come to the Comité’s attention every year.
The Comité Champagne