Champagne? It's all in the taste, says top Europe court
BRUSSELS - Reuters
Europe's top court dashed brand-jealous champagne producers' hopes on Dec. 20 with a ruling that a sorbet sold by German discounter Aldi Sud could be labelled with the word champagne because it contained it.
But that was a step too far for industry lobbying group Comite Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne which asked a German court for an injunction to stop the sale, saying that the sorbet champagne was free-riding on the quality and prestige of the real thing.
The court subsequently asked the Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice (ECJ) to clarify the commercial use of the European Union's protected designation of origin.
This designation gives protection to hundreds of local delicacies, including Greek feta cheese, English Stilton cheese, Italian Grana Padano cheese and Rioja wine from Spain. The ECJ said the sorbet did not exploit this rule.
"If that is the case, that product name does not take undue advantage of the protected designation of origin 'Champagne'," the court wrote in its judgment.