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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Corks Fly: Belgian Customs Destroy Bottles of Andre Over Champagne Labeling

Belgian Customs officials have seized and destroyed 3,200 bottles of Andre sparkling wine made by E&J Gallo of California because the labels for the wine had the word "Champagne" prominently announcing the style.

The shipment was seized at the port of Anvers, Belgium. The bottles had the words “California Champagne” and “André Champagne Cellars” which violates European Union laws. The word Champagne can only be used on wines produced in the Champagne region of France under the EU rules. U.S. law allows sparkling wine makers in the country to use the word Champagne as a style designation.

For its part Gallo says it recognizes the EU rules and did not ship the wine. It says the distributor who supplies wine Gallo products to cruise ships shipped the product, which was on its way to Nigeria.

The Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne, Belgian Customs and the World Customs Organization released a video documenting the destruction. You can check it out at: www.flow-films.com/materials/champagne.wmv

Champagne, along with 12 other wine regions from around the world, is an original signatory of the Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin. Seven U.S. regions - Napa Valley, Sonoma, Paso Robles, Oregon, Walla Walla, Willamette, and Washington State -- have signed the document advocating truth-in-labeling worldwide.

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