Australia corks its use of "champagne"

A man inspects a bottle of French champagne in Australia.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: There are a lot of Europeans who believe sparkling wine should only be called Champagne if it's made in France. Today marks the beginning of a new agreement between the European Union and Australia that means Australian winemakers can no longer make "champagne."

Christopher Werth has more from London.


CHRISTOPHER WERTH: Australian winemakers have the next year to phase out names such as Burgundy, Port, Sherry, and yes, Champagne from their labels. Instead of Champagne, drinkers will buy Australian sparkling wine. The move protects Europe's traditional wine-making regions, such as Champagne in northwest France.

Jose Ramon Fernandez is with the European Wine Companies Committee in Brussels. He represents winemakers, and says the agreement is one of the most ambitious to date. And he'd like to see similar action taken in the United States, where a handful of companies continue to use traditional European names.

JOSE RAMON FERNANDEZ: There is a number of brands and products which are marketed in U.S. which are using those terms such as Champagne, Sherry, Port, among others. So one of the goals of the future bilateral agreement with the U.S. should be to improve the situation along the lines of what has been achieved with Australia.

Last year, Europeans bought over $800 million worth of Australian wine. In exchange for corking its use of the name Champagne, Australian wine producers will get easier access to the European market.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...