PARIS, Sept 1 — If you’re drinking bubbly in Australia that was bottled before September 1, there’s no telling where it actually came from.
But as of today, any bubbly produced in that country can no longer label itself as champagne but will have to be called “sparkling wine”.
It’s part of a trade agreement that was signed between Australia and the European Union, meant to protect winegrowers around the world and enforce labelling laws, an initiative of the Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne, or CIVC in France.
To mark the milestone event in the industry, the organisation has created a website counting down the final minutes until the new Australian law comes into force.
“When it comes to wine, there is no ingredient more important than location,” says the CIVC. “The land, air, water and weather where grapes are grown are what make each wine unique.”
Winemaking regions rely on their place names or geographic locations to differentiate themselves from other winegrowing regions.
When buying champagne in Canada, which has robust labelling laws, for instance, consumers know they’re buying a bottle from the Champagne region of France.
Countries such as the US, Russia and Vietnam, however, continue to mislabel their bottles, says the CIVC. According to its US branch, the Champagne Bureau, more than 50 per cent of sparkling wine in the US is mislabelled as champagne.