Exclusive: Protecting the Champagne name in China

               By Maxime Lu / 陆江

Published on DecanterChina.COM, Chinese version of Decanter.

4 February 2016

With Bordeaux gaining its protected geographic indication (GI) status in 2015, it is believed that the Chinese market, which has grown over 30% in wine import volume and value in 2015, is making progress in protecting the names of the most illustrious wine regions in the world.

Champagne, however, received its GI protection in China two years earlier. Being one of the first French wine regional bodies to set up an office in China, the CIVC shares its experiences in defending the name ‘Champagne’ in the country and promoting the concept among both trade and consumers.


Image: Wang Wei, representative of the Comité Champagne (CIVC) in China

What the GI does

A geographic indication (GI) is a ‘clearly defined, specific place of origin,’ explained Wang Wei, representative of the Comité Champagne’s China office.

‘The unique local geographic environment brings particular characteristics to its product, therefore only this area is granted the right to use a specific name. The concept came from Europe but is now used globally,’ she added.

Champagne gained its GI status in the early 20th century. It is one of the first wine producing regions to receive such recognition, introduced CIVC.

For an immature market like China, a GI is a helpful guide for consumers as it ‘suggests the style and features of the region, and provides some guarantee to the quality’, said Wang Wei.

‘When seeing the name “Champagne”, you will know that the wine has bubbles, and was made by fermenting in the bottle; also it suggests that the wine was made under strict regulations in grape selection, production and winemaking,’ said Wang Wei.

How to protect a European GI in China

Fresh import figures shows that in 2015, the total value of imported sparkling wines in China was 6m USD, down by 27% compared to 2014.

‘China has never been a major market for Champagne,’ confessed the China representative for the trade body, which set up its office in the country in 2006.

‘However, the Champanions decided that works need to be done to clean up the market environment and set up protections, before a market can really start to blossom for them.’

‘The Chinese market used to be flooded with “big champagnes”, “little champagnes”, “pink champagnes”—anyone could use the name. If we had allowed them spamming the market, consumers could never find out what real champagnes taste like. That’s bad news for any brand to develop naturally and positively in China.’

Among the French wine regions which hold a GI status, Champagne was the pioneer to set up an office in China. Through great efforts and spending a long time, the region was finally granted legal protection by the Chinese authorities in 2013, following Napa (2012).

‘Since then, we were able to take legal actions against the knock-offs,’ she explained.


Image: Champagne vineyards © Decanter

For importers of regular sparkling wines who misused the Chinese name for Champagne ‘香槟’ on their labels, the CIVC China office would firstly ‘file a polite letter of notification, stating that this is an act of infringement, and demand them to stop using Champagne on the label. ’

‘Some of them would reply politely, saying that they were indeed unaware of the regulations, and were willing to make corrections,’ said Wang Wei, who considers this ‘a process you have to go through to gain understanding in the trade’. By doing this, ‘we hope to push for the trade to regulate itself,’ she added.

As for the cheap, low-quality knock-offs made by small local wineries, the trade body usually resort to the help of the local government, who can conduct investigations, confiscate the fakes, and urge offenders to stop the production.

Sometimes a fine is imposed. ‘Though the fine won’t be a lot, but it’s more like a statement: the term Champagne can’t be used lightly, and that the Champagne region is very serious about protecting its rights in China,’ said Wang Wei.

‘We are generally content about the progress we made in protecting the Champagne brand in the Chinese market at the moment.’

Promote the concept of geographic indication

Having said that, although the Chinese consumers are more and more conscious about protecting their rights and seeking for heathier and safer products, the geographic indication is still a concept ‘yet to be known by all’ in China, Wang Wei told DecanterChina.com.

‘Different local law enforcement departments don’t always understand the necessity of GI protection in the same way,’ said Wang Wei. ‘Sometimes we have to spend a very long time to explain and provide plenty of evidence, so as to help the local officials to understand what we’re asking for.’

In order to better communicate the concept of Champagne and the EU geographic protection system, ‘in 2015, we used every opportunity, including various government and trade seminars, to promote the idea of GI protection,’ said Wang Wei.


Image: Louis Roederer vineyards and horses, Champagne © Decanter

Educating consumers about Champagne is also an important part of the work, said Wang Wei.

‘There are many ways to spot a fake Champagne, such as via the certificate of origin or information on the wine label. But the consumers need some basic wine knowledge to do that.’

‘Everything we do today is for protecting the value of the ‘Champagne’ brand. The higher the value is the more efficient protection it needs.’

GI protection on China’s domestic products

As one of the pioneers in GI protection in China, the CIVC said that it’s happy to pass on the experiences to China’s domestic products.

‘China has many quality agricultural products that are made in a specific region and hold unique characteristics,’ Wang Wei told DecanterChina.com that due to lack of protection, many of these product or region names tend to be misused in the market. ‘Once the consumers get confused, the credibility of the name will be lost.’

In order to make the GI protection to take effect and bring actual profit to the local people, ‘the authorities need to pay enough attention to it. We will need a more comprehensive legal protection system, and train the law enforcers about the importance of intellectually property rights,’ suggested Wang Wei.

‘Properly reinforced GI protection will directly benefit both producers and consumers. It is also in line with the country’s strategy of sustainable development,’ she concluded.

Translated by Sylvia Wu / 吴嘉溦

Source: https://www.decanterchina.com/en/knowledge/people/region-authorities/exclusive-protecting-the-champagne-name-in-china

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近年来葡萄酒产区地理标志保护开始逐渐在中国推进,2012年美国纳帕河谷获得中国政府地理标志保护后,2013年香槟也被保护,2015年是波尔多。现在酒类中,干邑,纳帕,香槟、波尔多、苏格兰威士忌,特其拉(Tequila)都获得了地理标志认证, 消费者也能经常看到。













 图片:香槟葡萄品种霞多丽 © Decanter












 图片:路易王妃香槟葡萄园 © Decanter







– 香槟的“葡萄园、酒庄和酒窖”和勃艮第的“风土特性”申遗成功

陆江(Maxime LU)




2015年7月4日,在德国波恩的国际会议中心,在世界遗产委员会第39次会议中,法国香槟(Champagne)的“Coteaux,Maisons,Caves(葡萄园,酒庄,酒窖)”,和法国勃艮第(Bourgogne)的”Climats(风土特性)”申遗成功,正式入列联合国教科文组织(UNESCO)世界遗产名录(World Heritage List)。


来自勃艮第(Bourgogne)行业协会BIVB的声音:(编译:陆江 I 葡萄酒在线)

这项文化遗产有着卓越的普世价值的体现。这项人类的瑰宝终于被官方广泛认可:1247个风土特性(Climats),或葡萄园的地块,诸如像“Montrachet,Romanee-Conti,Clos de Vougeot,Corton, Musigny, Chambertin……这些也表达了勃艮第葡萄酒产区的文化多样性。最后在经过8年的努力和参与,勃艮第人们的梦想终于变成现实。



  作为【勃艮第葡萄园风土联合会-Association des Climats du Vignoble de Bourgogne】的主席,也是申遗活动的主导者,罗曼尼康帝酒园(DRC)的掌舵人奥贝.德维兰(Aubert de Villaine)先生在得知申遗成功后,特别致辞说:







  “这次申遗成功让我们颇为自豪,这也是对我们为家园努力的一种肯定。”(编译:陆江 I 葡萄酒在线)




  这次申遗成功,也是联合国教科文组织对勃艮第基于风土模式的一种肯定,显示了对于人类文明中多样性农业生产的重要性。也是勃艮第面对市场全球化的影响下,对标准化威胁的一种强有力的回应。(编译:陆江 I 葡萄酒在线)


联合国教科文组织世界遗产委员会的21名缔约国成员代表在德国波恩投票并一致通过,将“ 香槟葡萄园、酒庄和酒窖 ”列入《世界遗产名录》中“持续进化的文化景观 ”类别。委员会成员认可其“突出的普遍价值”,认为香槟地区满足了对申遗财产的保护和管理条件。



  联合国教科文组织法国代表、法国文化和环保部以及香槟代表团相关人员们激动的心情溢于言表。“感到心满意足、弹冠相庆 !我首先很自然想到了所有为申遗工作竭心尽力的工作者、所有支持这个卓越项目的合作伙伴以及香槟区人民,他们的家园刚刚得到了世界的公认。

此次入选是一种认可,同时也是对联合国的承诺。我们需要让这项荣誉实至名归。我们必须对这个景观、技艺和遗产加以保护,并完好无损地传承给子孙后代。这是对人类历史、对香槟区历史的一个承诺!”连续8年来策划并负责申遗事项的“ 香槟景观”协会主席——皮埃尔?舍瓦勒欢欣鼓舞地表示。



  “ 香槟葡萄园、酒庄和酒窖 ”作为一个整体文化景观,不同于其他任何的葡萄酒产区!

自18世纪以来,产区的严格管理、世代香槟人的努力工作和实力的不断增强彰显出这独树一帜的生产、酿造和销售模式始终焕发着勃勃生机,深刻地改变了风土、乡村和城市景观,并孕育出举世闻名的香槟酒,使其成为节日和庆祝的象征。香槟区独特的文化景观和遗址作为一个整体,承载着深远的历史、文化和技艺,也因此成就了“ 香槟葡萄园、酒庄和酒窖 ”所具有的突出的普世价值。




陆江(Maxime LU)/WineBlogChina.COM



 法国香槟协会秘书长Jean-Luc Barbier、中国国家质检总局科技司司长裴晓颖、法国香槟协会中国代表王蔚、法国驻华使馆农业参赞李嘉霖等分别在发布会现场发言。其中还特别谈到中法两国在地理标志GI保护方面的合作和成果。香槟是中国国内酒类相关的第四个通过的被保护地理标示,前面3个分别是【干邑-Cognac】【苏格兰威士忌】【纳帕河谷(葡萄酒)〔Napa Valley(Wines)〕】。








“香槟-Champagne”获得中国地理标志保护庆祝酒会上,中法双方致辞并品饮香槟。著名的巴黎之花香槟(Perrier Jouet)、Devaux、Lanson等为来宾们提供了高水准的香槟产品。全场最值得推荐的是巴黎之花Perrier Jouet的Belle Epoque 2004,细腻复杂。