ALDI’s Champagne sorbet goes sour

Wednesday July 14 2021 by Vitisphere

Protecting consumers and appellations, the German justice system followed the recommendation of the CJEU and recognised that in this case, the name ‘Champagner Sorbet’ was contrary to the provisions of European regulations.Protecting consumers and appellations, the German justice system followed the recommendation of the CJEU and recognised that in this case, the name ‘Champagner Sorbet’ was contrary to the provisions of European regulations. - Photo credit : DR

The procedure launched in 2013 by the Champagne wine marketing board CIVC to prevent the sale of Champagne sorbet by discount retailer Aldi – officially case C 393/16 – has finally reached a conclusion. On July 2, the Munich Court of Appeal ruled in favour of protecting Champagne by putting a stop to sales of the sorbet containing ‘12% Champagne wine’. The decision is a victory for the Champagne industry, which saw its complaint take a positive turn in the first instance, before an appeal ruled in favour of Aldi.

In 2017, the Champagne board filed an appeal with the German Federal High Court, which had made a request for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

The Court commented that it was up to the judges “to assess, in the light of the circumstances of each case, whether such use is intended to take unfair advantage of the reputation” of the Champagne appellation, specifying that “the quantity of the ingredient in the composition of the food product is an important, but not sufficient, criterion”. It also made the usage contingent on the food product having “as its essential characteristic a flavour stemming primarily from the use of Champagne”.

Although one of the sorbet’s ingredients was indeed Champagne, the Champagne board claimed that use of this unique wine did not give the sorbet any fundamental characteristics. In fact, the sorbet tasted more of pear, with a trace of alcohol, which could have been imparted by any beverage alcohol.

We welcome this decision by the German court. It is another step in the protection of the Champagne appellation against any misuse of its name and any misappropriation of its reputation”, said Charles Goemaere, director of the Champagne marketing board.

 

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