LAOS AND CAMBODIA REGISTERED CHAMPAGNE AS THEIR FIRST FOREIGN G.I.
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Laos and Cambodia in Southeast Asia officially registered Champagne as a foreign Geographical Indication (G.I.), the first foreign appellation to have registered in both countries.
With the addition of these two countries, the Champagne appellation is recognised by a total of 117 countries either by national registrations, bilateral or multilateral agreements.
Cambodia Minister of Commerce, Pan Sorasak, presented the appellation certificate to Vincent Perrin, Director General of the Interprofessional Committee for Champagne Wine (CIVC), in a ceremony held at the French Embassy in Phnom Penh.
The CIVC Director General has also received an appellation certificate from the Laotian Minister of Science and Technology, Boviengkham Vongdara, in a separate occasion.
Having officially recognised Champagne as a foreign G.I. means that the two countries will work to crackdown on counterfeits and will tighten labelling and reference rules.
Supported by the economic service of the French Embassy in Cambodia, The CIVC began the process of applying for G.I. recognition in Cambodia in 2017.
“Cambodia is for the moment a small market, but it has a lot of potential to grow,” said Vincent Perrin.
An appellation of origin identifies an agricultural product whose reputation is associated with a specific geographical origin and specifications.
In Asia, it’s still common for consumers to call all sparkling white wines Champagnes. The CIVC has been working very hard to engage with authorities, retailers and consumers to educate the markets.
France has helped Cambodia obtain G.I. recognitions for its agricultural products, these include Kampot peppers, Kampong Speu palm sugar and Koh Trung pomelos.
According to Pan Sorasak, the protected G.I. for Kampot pepper has been of great benefit to Cambodian pepper farmers. "Between 2009 and 2017, the price of Kampot pepper has risen by three times and its production area increased by 225%,” he said.
Asia is an important market for Champagnes, the region receives annually 20% of Champagne shipments worldwide.
(the writer can be contacted at: SLawMathews@thewinechronicle.com)
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