When Place Name Protection Goes Too Far

Let’s start off with the fact that I’m a big believer in protecting place names of origin in the world of wine. Brunello should only come from Montalcino. Napa Cabernet should only come from Napa. And yes, Champagne should only come from Champagne.

But the folks in Champagne are frequently far too rabid about the usage of the word Champagne in the world, especially when it comes to usages completely outside the world of wine.

The latest case in point: objections by the Interprofessional Committee for Champagne Wine over the possibility that Apple may name one of the new color options for the iPhone “Champagne.”

Doesn’t the ICCW have better things to do with their time and money? Have they been going after the international wedding gown industry, too? Last time I checked (this morning) there were approximately 5 Gazillion different wedding dresses manufactured in the world that come in the color “champagne.” There are approximately ninety shades of paint from scores of manufacturers named Champagne.

If I was a Champagne producer and my dues were paying the salaries of people who spent time complaining about such things, I’d be pissed. Sure, continue to lobby the U.S. Tobacco and Trade Bureau to kill the grandfather clause that lets Korbel still use the words “California Champagne” on their labels. But this sort of recent outburst is only slightly less ridiculous than calling up news organizations and complaining when they use the phrase “champagne” as an adjective.

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Photo of champagne cork courtesy of Bigstock.