A growing controversy over 'chateau' wine label

Workers arrange wine barrels on a dock of the French southwestern city of Bordeaux, on June 21, 2012.

European wine experts are mulling over a critical issue today: whether American wine producers should be allowed to use the word "chateau" on bottles they sell in Europe. At the moment, they are banned from doing so under EU trade rules.

 

Americans have something to gain from the label -- "cache" to use another French word. In Europe, the word denotes a superior, high-end wine. While many American wineries currently use the term, they have been banned since 2009 from using it on bottles sold across the pond, which is of course, a big market.

 

The main European opposition comes from the French, who argue that the label on French wines means that you can be sure that the grapes that make the wine are grown in the vineyard next to the chateau, and thus, be sure of its quality. They claim that the Americans could be using grapes from all over the place, lowering the quality -- and ultimately the price -- of the wine.

 

 

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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