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Champagne only comes from Champagne, France
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Terroir & appellation

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Protection of the Champagne 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 fight against counterfeiting

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.

The fight against legalised theft

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:

  • Brazil: Here targeted cooperation with winegrowers in the Vale dos Vinhedos Geographical Indication (State of Rio Grande do Sul) has resulted in the dropping of the name ‘Champagne.

  • Russia: for some years now, the Comité Champagne has been forging ties with local sparkling wine producers and the authorities alike in a bid to stop the Russians from marketing some 250 million bottles of wine under the name ‘ШАМПАНСКОЕ’ (‘Champagne’ in Cyrillic script).

    Prompted by recent developments in the Ukraine and Moldavia, the Russian government has agreed to give the matter serious consideration. .

  • USA: American-made wines labelled ‘Champagne’ are now under attack as part of an ambitious programme to reclaim exclusive use of the name ‘Champagne’.
The aim is to persuade professional winemakers to exploit their wine’s American origins.

    Practices that contravene current legislation are automatically reported to the American government. Other tactics include: lobbying the White House and the US Congress; mounting annual awareness-raising campaigns targeting opinion-formers and consumers; and forging close bonds with the big American winegrowing regions that have agreed to drop the name ‘Champagne’.

The fight against misuse of name

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.

Interprofession

The Comité Champagne