8 part video series on the history of Champagne filmed in France

No more fake champagne in China

Moets Spirit of 1743 hot air balloon
Moet's "Spirit of 1743" hot air balloon over the Great Wall of China

"No more fake bubbly in China — at least in theory,” wrote Le Figaro, reporting on the announcement that Beijing has agreed to restrict use of the name to wines produced in the Champagne region of France. Up until now, the name Champagne had been misapplied to “mediocre sparkling wines and vulgar sodas,” according to the French daily. Henceforth, it can only be used to describe the two million bottles — and rising — of genuine Champagne that are annually exported to China.

The Chinese decision represents a victory for President François Hollande, who negotiated the deal during a recent visit to Beijing, and for Champagne producers who jealously guard France’s most prestigious appellation d’origine contrôlée, or protected designation of origin. Under French law, the only sparkling wine anywhere in the world that merits the name Champagne must be made from grapes grown on officially designated plots of land in France. France’s Champagne Committee — motto: “It’s not Champagne if it’s not Champagne” — has been fighting since 1935 against what it says amounts to hundreds of instances each year of the name being abused."

"Currently, non-sparkling varieties account for an estimated 99.5 percent of the China market, while consumers remain indifferent to wine’s bubbly brethren… This summer, Moët is slated to launch the Chandon Ningxia winery, which the winemaker developed in China with joint venture partner SOE Nongken. The winery will producing high-end method Champenoise sparkling white wine exclusively for the China market, from locally grown Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc grapes…"