Friday, January 11, 2008

3,200 bottles of California Wine Destroyed in Belgium

This article by by Jane Firstenfeld just came in from Wines and Vines.

“Anvers, Belgium -- Belgian customs authorities seized and destroyed a shipment of more than 3,200 bottles of André sparkling wine on Jan. 8. The wines, produced by E. & J. Gallo Winery of Modesto, Calif., bore labels referring to "California Champagne" and "André Champagne Cellars," direct violations of EU laws that prohibit the use of "Champagne" on wines produced outside of France's Champagne region. A statement released by E. & J. Gallo today said the shipment had been sent by a third party."

"According to a statement issued by the Office of Champagne, USA, "Any U.S. product that misuses the Champagne name and seeks to enter an export market that protects consumers from misleading labels is considered counterfeit. To avoid greater legal liabilities and legal procedures, the owner of the merchandise agreed to abandon it for immediate destruction." The Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) today held a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, and released a video of the wine's destruction."

Read the entire article on Wines and Vines.

I think this sums it up. Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) representative and Champagne producer Bruno Paillard said, "This wine was of so low a value that the producers decided to abandon it, a good illustration of the value of that wine….Don't you think it was a provocation just to send it?"

My sentiments exactly. What was this third party shipper thinking? Haven’t we assaulted France enough with our McDonald’s “French fries” and putting Chablis and Burgundy on our jug wine bottles? What do you think, is it okay to produce sparkling wine in the States and call it Champagne? Can't we stand on our own marketing two feet?