CANADIAN TRUTH-IN-LABELING VICTORY APPROACHES

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ch bureauIn the same way that a Napa wine comes only from Napa Valley, California, Champagne comes only from Champagne, France. As of January 1, 2014, Canada joins the group of nations that put truth-in-labeling first.

This change in the law isolates the United States even more as over 45% of all sparkling wine are still mislabeled “Champagne.” This practice seeks to trade on the good name of another location, as well as mislead consumers. This deception is a problem for all winemakers who seek to differentiate their products by location.

Winemaking regions around the world rely on their place name (or Geographic Indication, or “GI,” as it is referred to in Europe) to differentiate themselves from other winemaking regions. Consumers rely on these names to choose their wine as the name reflects where it comes from, its quality and its specific characteristics.

Champagne produces about 300 million bottles a year, a small percentage of the approximately three billion bottles of sparkling wine that are sold worldwide every year. And producers throughout the world, including the United States, Australia, Italy and Spain, profitably produce and sell millions of bottles of sparkling wine without using the name “Champagne.”

Most countries have robust truth-in-labeling laws that protect consumers from being deceived by requiring the name of a wine’s location be reserved exclusively for the regions where the wine is produced and grown. As of January 1, 2014, Canada will become the latest country to join the global movement in support of robust truth-in-labeling laws on their wine labels.

Most Canadian wine producers stopped using “Champagne” and other wine growing place names (Sherry, Port, etc.) many years ago, but the January 1 milestone will make the change official. Canada will now join the majority of countries around the world – including the European Union, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa – that believe when consumers buy a bottle of wine, they should be able to rely on the truthfulness of the bottle’s label.

With Canada’s approaching change in law, there are very few countries which do not adequately protect Champagne’s name. While the United States has yet to ban mislabeled wines that misuse the name Champagne, many quality producers in the United States proudly and successfully use the term “sparkling wine” to describe their wines. We look forward to a time when the U.S. and others joining this growing body of countries which reserve the name Champagne exclusively for wines from Champagne, France.

Source: Champagne Bureau

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