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04.2014

Massachusetts Beverage Business

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OnWineReport

WHEN IS A CHÂTEAU NOT A CHÂTEAU?

When it’s made in the US.  French wine producers are rallying against the possibility the EU may allow US imported wines to use the term chateau or clos.  French producers say that allowing American wine producers to sell their wines in Europe using those particular French words would not only be an attack on French heritage, it would give a competitive advantage.  In France, use of the term château is subject to strict control – it must refer to an AOC wine coming only from grapes that are harvested and vinified on a single estate.  In Bordeaux, regulation of the term dates back to the 19th century.  In the United States there is no regulation – an estate can call itself a château even if it is buying grapes from other growers in different regions.  There is additional concern that it could lead to other countries also using the terms château, cru, domaine or hospices on their labels, adding further confusion.  In Burgundy, the Confederation des Appellations et des Vignerons de Bourgogne said in a statement, “Clos, a word which is truly part of Burgundy’s identity and heritage, is set to be tarnished by the European Commission.  Burgundy winemakers strongly condemn this American initiative.”

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