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Joint European/US wine region talks

Representatives from the top US and European wine regions are set to meet in California next week in a bid to ensure the protection of their geographical regions.

Emmissaries from Champagne, Portugal, and Jerez – the home of sherry – in Europe, and Napa, Sonoma, Oregon and Washington in the US will discuss ways to promote and protect the name and status of their respective regions within the wine industry.

The outcome of the meeting is expected to be the signing of a declaration of mutual support.

‘In the world of wine, location plays the most important role in determining wine’s quality and characteristics,’ said the American Office of Champagne, the body behind the forthcoming talks.

Regional associations in the food and wine sectors are considered highly important and worth protecting. European wine and food trade bodies, including Champagne trade organisation the CIVC, have been lobbying EU negotiators for several years to ensure the phasing out in the US of misleading use of semi-generic names like Champagne, Chablis, Sherry, Chianti, Cheddar, Stilton and many others.

Recent regional conflicts in the courts have seen the word Champagne restricted to sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France – to the detriment of winemakers from the village of Champagne in Vaud, Switzerland.

Italy won an important victory in the European Court of Justice in 2003 in a dispute over whether Parma ham and Grana Padano cheese can be packaged only in their regions of production.

In 2002 the same Court ruled that it was illegal for cheesemakers from outside Parma to call their cheese Parmesan.

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