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China to protect the Champagne name

China has agreed to protect the name Champagne so that only wines produced in the French region can bear the name. The geographic mark protection also specifies the grape varieties to be used, location of the vineyards and wineries and the method of production. The protection will stop domestic sparkling wine producers from using the Champagne name on their labels, as well as producers of other goods which borrow the term ‘Champagne’ in their names and marketing.

Sales of Champagne to China have risen from 50,000 bottles in 2001 to two million in 2012, making China the fifth-largest market outside the European Union. The Comit Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) welcomed the move and said they will now be able to seek action against mislabelled and copycat products more effectively.

So far, China has only recognised three other labels in the wine and spirits sector, including cognac, Scotch whisky and the Californian wine region, Napa Valley.