French irritated by Obama's inaugural 'champagne'
An industry group says bubbly planned for the inauguration lunch is mislabeled, but US law disagrees.
You know, French champagne lobbyists, you make it really difficult not to crack jokes about snooty waiters and cartoon skunks when you quibble over trifles like the bubbly being served at President Barack Obama's inaugural lunch.
Just to illustrate how the Champagne Bureau spends its time when not sniffing at tourists who mispronounce coq au vin or chasing a female cat that's accidentally had white paint spilled down its back, the industry group scolded the inaugural committee for recklessly throwing around the word "champagne" on its luncheon menu.
The committee decided to celebrate the president's swearing in with a version of Korbel Natural Russian River Valley Champagne, which the Champagne Bureau says is decidedly not champagne.
"We would urge the inaugural committee to follow that law and not state the sparkling wine being served is champagne, as they did in today's release," Sam Heitner, the director of the Champagne Bureau, told The Hill. "Champagne only comes from Champagne, France."
Except when it doesn't. Many countries around the world restrict the use of "champagne" to sparkling wine from the Champagne region, but U.S. law is a bit different. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has spelled out when wineries can use certain designations and just how they can use them. The use of the term "champagne" is protected under the "semi-generic" law 27 CFR 4.24, which dictates that the word can be applied only to sparkling wines produced before 2006, as long as their point of origin is clearly spelled out on the label. This is where the Champagne Bureau and the inaugural committee agree to disagree.
"U.S. law clearly states that the full name of the wine label must include where it comes from," Heitner told The Hill. "Under the law, the label for this wine would state 'California Champagne.'"
Perhaps some portion of the label was lost in translation, as the inaugural committee's press release indicates that the sparkling wine being served with dessert is "Korbel Natural, Special Inaugural Cuvée Champagne, California." Though the "California" portion seems to clearly indicate the wine's home state, Heitner insists it's still a violation of U.S. law.
This isn't Brown-Forman (BF.A) subsidiary Korbel's first go-round with the Champagne lobby. Founded in 1882 by two Czechoslovakian brothers, Korbel has used "Champagne" to describe its sparkling wine for more than a century and is often grandfathered into Champagne designation laws by using the "California Champagne" label. It's been served at six inaugurations, including president Obama's last in 2009.
For now, France itself is sitting out this bubbly battle, as it is far too preoccupied with its transition back to a socialist government and the tax-driven departure of actor Gerard Depardieu to notice. People involved with planning the inauguration seem not to care what the Champagne Bureau has to say about their wine selection either.
"The Champagne Lobby should have a glass of their own product and relax," said Matt House, a spokesman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.
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The French Navy prevented the English fleet from rescuing their troops after their defeat at Yorktown. This ensured our independence.
The French gave us the statue of liberty. We have helped them in the 1880's when Phylloxera infected their wines. Our roots were Phylloxera resistant roots were grafted onto their vineyards. To insult their "Champagne" trademark by serving a US sparkling wine and calling it "champagne" is for those who have no concept of what we owe the French and are oblivious to History.
U read correctly!!!! Russia has NO Champagne REGION!!!!! The Brothers were mislabelling from the get go. Over a hundred years ago. It was never corrected. ONLY FRANCE has a CHAMPAGNE REGION!!! The is the ONLY PLACE in the world where CHAMPAGNE comes from. People are un-educated to that fact, even wine makers. They think anything-wine- with bubbles is CHAMPAGNE!!!! IF IT DIDN'T COME FROM THE CHAMPAGNE REGION OF FRANCE, IT IS SPARKLING WINE!!! PERIOD Chanelle Du Bose
From: Inagural Committee
To: French Champagne Bureau
Re: Champagne or not champagne
Soufflez-le hors de votre rectum.
Someone had to tell him that Mad Dog 20/20 wasn't champagne. Eeesh.
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