Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
01.10.2008  
 

California Wine Seized in Belgium

Customs authorities destroy 3,200 bottles labeled "Champagne"

 
by Jane Firstenfeld
 
 
California Wine Seized in Belgium
A still from the video shows destruction of the bottles.
 
Anvers, Belgium -- Belgian customs authorities seized and destroyed a shipment of more than 3,200 bottles of André sparkling wine on Jan. 8. The wines, produced by E. & J. Gallo Winery of Modesto, Calif., bore labels referring to "California Champagne" and "André Champagne Cellars," direct violations of EU laws that prohibit the use of "Champagne" on wines produced outside of France's Champagne region. A statement released by E. & J. Gallo today said the shipment had been sent by a third party.

According to a statement issued by the Office of Champagne, USA, "Any U.S. product that misuses the Champagne name and seeks to enter an export market that protects consumers from misleading labels is considered counterfeit. To avoid greater legal liabilities and legal procedures, the owner of the merchandise agreed to abandon it for immediate destruction." The Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) today held a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, and released a video of the wine's destruction (flow-films.com/materials/champagne.wmv).

California Wine Seized in Belgium
CIVC emphasized the "serious legal and economic implications for those who violate EU and international laws." CIVC representative and Champagne producer Bruno Paillard said, "Since the passage and implementation of more rigorous legislation, customs agents and border patrols throughout Europe have seized and destroyed over 14,000 bottles in the last four years illegally bearing the Champagne name."

Paillard later told Wines & Vines that, although CIVC did not confiscate the wine, and that he was uncertain who had exported it, "What I can tell you is that the producers of this wine are perfectly aware of what the laws are. I deeply regret that in America, it is legal to use our name." When asked if the wine, which is legally sold in the U.S., could not have been returned to its shipper, Paillard replied, "This wine was of so low a value that the producers decided to abandon it, a good illustration of the value of that wine….Don't you think it was a provocation just to send it?"

A statement issued by Susan Hensley, vice president of public relations for E. & J. Gallo, denied that the company had exported the wine or been involved with the decision to destroy the shipment.

"E. & J. Gallo Winery respects and adheres to EU regulations and does not sell product labeled California Champagne in the EU," Hensley stated. "News released by the Office of Champagne USA misleads consumers by suggesting E. & J. Gallo Winery ignored regulations and intended to make counterfeit product available to European consumers.

"The owner of the merchandise was in fact a third party based in the United States who sells product to cruise ships. This third party shipped the product to Belgium, and once they were informed of the problem, they agreed to abandon the product for immediate destruction.

"As a leader in the wine industry that does business in more than 80 countries around the world, we value our relationship with the EU, and respect our fellow wine producers in Europe."

Paillard explained that the banned wine had arrived in a mixed shipping container, and was concealed under other, legally imported wines. "There was probably an attempt to hide something," he said. "The fact is that it was discovered--an illegal product--and was destroyed."

Paillard emphasized that the seizure and subsequent publicity in no way demonstrated anti-American sentiment. "As a wine producer, I am a bit sad, to tell the truth, that such an extreme solution had to be found."

Champagne, along with 12 other wine producing regions around the world, is a signator of the Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin (protectplace.com). Seven U.S. regions have also joined the effort: Napa Valley, Sonoma, Paso Robles, Oregon, Walla Walla, Willamette and Washington state, and last year, Napa Valley became the first U.S. region to be granted Geographic Indication status by the EU.

According to Sharon Castillo at the Office of Champagne USA, another round of negotiations over the issue in Washington, D.C., next week. For more information, visit champagne.us.
SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
March 2015 $622 million
7%
$7,995 million
5%
March 2014 $582 million $7,588 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
March 2015 $252 million
19%
$1,863 million
14%
March 2014 $213 million $1,634 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
March 2015 356
22%
243
16%
March 2014 292 210
     
 
MORE » Released on 04.15.2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • April 17-19
     
    Earth Day Food & Wine Festival
     
  • April 21
     
    Ahead of the Curve
     
  • April 25
     
    Vineyard Mechanization Workshop
     
  • April 25-26
     
    Vineyard to Vintner in Stags Leap
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Is Organic Grape Growing Possible in the East? »
 
FWIW, We make a few wines from a certified Organic vineyard growing cabernet franc, merlot,...
Reader: southoldfc
 
Article: Specialty Tanks Encourage Oak Extraction »
 
According to the manufacturer, the logs are made through compression and not with a binding...
Reader: Andrew Adams
 
Article: Specialty Tanks Encourage Oak Extraction »
 
What is the bonding agent of the Pressed Oak Logs?
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Is Organic Grape Growing Possible in the East? »
 
Some Long Island, NY, vineyard farmers are already using nearly organic methods. They have worked...
Reader: envcat
 
Article: Loosening AVA Regulations »
 
When I see 'Napa Valley'on a wine label, it doesn't only suggest the flavors I...
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Harvest Intern
 Sebastopol, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 Marketplace Manager
 Kenwood, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Facilities Maintenance
 San Luis Obispo, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 Pt Tasting Room Associ...
 Gaston, OR
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Consummate Store Manag...
 Chicago, IL
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Accounting Manager
 Napa, CA
Finance
 Wine Buyer Needed
 New York, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Tasting Room/Guest Rel...
 St. Helena, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Sales Representative O...
 West Sonoma County, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Seasonal Sugar Tester ...
 Lodi, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.