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China officially recognises Champagne

China has officially recognised Champagne as a protected geographical indication and has agreed to only use the name to describe sparkling wine from the French region.

Something to celebrate: China has officially recognised Champagne

Up until now, the Champagne name has been used liberally in China, not only on Chinese sparkling wine labels, but everything from candles to dog toys.

This is only China’s fourth official recognition in the wine and spirits sector, with Cognac, Scotch whisky and the US wine region of Napa Valley also protected.

The Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) welcomed the move, which will enable the trade body to seek action against mislabelled products more effectively.

“China has achieved an optimal level of protection, which is good news as it is one of the biggest future markets for Champagne,” CIVC spokesman Thibaut Le Mailloux said.

Sales of Champagne are on the rise in China, with volume sales up 19% last year to 1,317, 537 bottles.

“China’s decision to register Champagne as a geographical indication is a major achievement for the Champenois, which reaffirms in one of Champagne’s most promising markets that Champagne only comes from Champagne, while sending out a strong message that origin matters,” Charles Goemaere, head of the CIVC’s legal department, added.

The announcement came from the country’s national quality watchdog, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

While it’s good news for the CIVC, the trade body is still lobbying the US and Russia to officially recognise Champagne and ban local sparkling wine producers from using the Champagne name on their labels.

“Chinese law gives us protection that Russia and the US do not,” Le Mailloux told AFP, describing the two countries’ approach as “anachronistic and without future”.

This January, the Champagne Bureau in Washington attacked the serving of Californian “Champagne” at President Barack Obama’s inauguration lunch.

Sparkling wine was first introduced to China during the reign of Emperor Qianlong in the mid-18th century.

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