Village votes to challenge "champagne" ban

The Swiss village of Champagne has voted to fight a policy preventing it from labelling the wine it produces with the word "champagne".

This content was published on April 5, 2008 - 16:06

Villagers said they would seek to continue using the name, limited under international trade rules for the French region that produces the renowned sparkling wine.

The village was given until 2004 to phase out the name on its wine after the Swiss government agreed in 1999 to give up any claims it had as part of the bilateral accords with the European Union.

"In this village we no longer have the right to use our own name," commented village action committee spokesman Thomas Bindschedler.

He said that wine sales had dropped from 110,000 bottles per year to 32,000 in 2007 after the wine was sold with labels that did not refer to its place of origin.

Villagers say the name of their community dates back to 885 and that the first records of wine being grown in the area date back to 1657.

The issue of protecting place names for wines and other goods is expected to feature prominently at world trade talks in Geneva.

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