Two communes face expulsion from Champagne region
- Tuesday 19 February 2008
According to the regional wine trade body (CIVC), Germaine and Orbais l’Abbaye are being considered for removal by the French national appellations institution (INAO).
The move is in sharp contrast to earlier reports regarding plans to add 40 new communes to cater for growing international demand. The possible addition of the new communes is part of a wider review in which the two villages are being punished for failure to comply with regulations.
Although an official announcement is yet to be made, Daniel Lorson, communications director of the CIVC told decanter.com that regulators will hear that the two communes do not comply with all of the appellation’s 33 quality criteria.
If the Paris-based INAO supports the proposal, the communes could face banishment from the Champagne appellation. This would set land prices in the a areas plummeting, and potentially leave some winemakers in short supply.
A hectare of grape-growing land within the appellation costs at least two hundred times more than neighbouring farmland.
Vranken-Pommery Monopole sources part of its grapes from Orbais l'Abbaye, while Moet Chandon has extensive plantings in Germaine.
However, any changes would take several years to take effect and the proposal, if approved by the INAO, will be followed by a year-long public consultation.
If the two communes are removed from the appellation, both would likely grow vines until 2020, Lorson said.
The INAO began a review of the Champagne classification two years ago at the request of the region winemakers’ union (SGV).