Swiss village Champagne is not allowed to use village name for wine

White wine from the Swiss village of Champagne is no longer allowed to bear the name Champagne. This has been determined by a Swiss judge, AFP news agency reported on Saturday. For years, winemakers in the Swiss village have been trying to get the words ‘commune de Champagne’ (municipality of Champagne) on the labels of their wines, much to the dismay of French champagne producers.

Last January, things still looked rosy for the winemakers from the Swiss town. Then they got permission from the government of the umbrella canton of Vaud to use the words Commune de Champagne on their labels. The authorities did not foresee any problems, as they considered it impossible for consumers to confuse a white wine without bubbles from a Swiss village with a sparkling wine from the French champagne region.

French winemakers from the la Champagne region disagreed and, united in the powerful Interprofessional Committee for Champagne Wine (CIVC), filed a lawsuit over the decision. The champagne producers (with more than 34,000 hectares of vineyards) argued that the Swiss winemakers (28 hectares) harmed their interests by using ‘their’ name.

The Swiss judge ruled in favor of the French champagne producers on April 1, according to a ruling in the hands of AFP. The judge dismissed the arguments of both sides because a trade agreement between Switzerland and the European Union explicitly states that the name champagne may only be used by French winemakers from the Champagne region. It is still unknown what name the winemakers from Champagne in Switzerland will now use.

Champagne is located in western Switzerland.

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