Joyeuse fêtes, sans Champagne mais avec beaucoup de Fizz!!

TripleZerosJacky Blot’s Triple Zéro Montlouis Pétillant

– no added sugar at any stage

Champagne used to be a drink of celebration. Not anymore for me after their relentless pursuit of Jayne Powell (aka Champagne Jayne), which culminated in four days in a melbourne court last week (15th – 18th December). Lawyers for the CIVC (Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne) sought with unrelenting ruthlessness to crush one of Champagne’s most enthusiastic supporters  – Champagne Jayne.

Lawyers for the CIVC attempted to demonstrate that Champagne Jayne had profited from Champagne’s reputation, while mentioning non-Champagne sparking wines that was alleged to have tarnished the name of Champagne. As Champagne Jayne only mentions non-Champagne sparkling wines occasionally, CIVC lawyers probably had their work out to prove that Jayne Powell had tarnished Champagne’s reputation.

In July 2012 Jayne managed to trademark ‘Champagne Jayne’ in Australia. In November 2012 the CIVC registered its opposition I can imagine why the CIVC opposed the trademark but why act the bully boy and attempt to crush Champagne Jayne?

Rather than prove that Jayne Powell (Champagne Jayne) has tarnished Champagne’s image, it is the CIVC by its bullying actions that has tarnished Champagne’s reputation as recent comments on Twitter clearly demonstrate. The bullying is not unique to the CIVC, this year Veuve Clicquot parked its legal tanks on a small Italian producer’s lawn opening ‘amicable conversations’ over an allegedly similar label colour. Veuve Clicquot has previous form on this behaviour intimidating a small Tasmanian producer back in 2001 for a similarly alleged transgression.

As the CIVC has at considerable legal expense transformed Champagne into the drink of bullies, I will not be drinking or serving any Champagne over the 12 days of Christmas and for the moment can see little reason why I should extend that ban further into 2015. Some including, my esteemed colleague. Hervé, that such a ban is not fair on small growers who have little or no influence on the CIVC. This may well be true but by remaining silent they become complicit in the bullying actions of the CIVC and large Champagne companies.

This year instead of any Champagne I shall be choosing something more appropriately festive – Loire sparklers are an obvious choice for me but there are plenty of other fine festive sparklers plus other Crémants. I can think of Franciacorta, Trento especially Ferrari, top Cava cuvées, sparkling wines from the UK especially England, Germany not forgetting South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

See also post on Jim’s Loire: ‘Why my Christmas will be Champagne-free.


IMG_9803Christophe Baudry with the sparkling rosé from Château de la Grille


16 réflexions sur “Joyeuse fêtes, sans Champagne mais avec beaucoup de Fizz!!

  1. chers confrères, en tant que champagniste, italien mais champagniste quand même, je peux vous dire, je suis curieux de connaître ton point de vue, Hervé, que je ne suis pas d’accord avec cette position?
    Je vais continuer à boire Champagne et écrire à propos des Champagne, comme j’ai fait hier, ici:
    meilleures salutation et Joyeux Noël à tous!
    le mien avec Champagne, ça va sans dire…


  2. Franco, je comprends l’exaspération de Jim mais je réprouve toute forme de boycott, parce qu’elle punit rarement les vrais responsables. Nous rencontrons régulièrement des vignerons champenois à la fois valeureux et sympathiques, qui n’ont aucune responsabilité dans ce que fait le CIVC en leur nom; alors oui, je continuerai à boire du Champagne. Pas autant que je le voudrais, cependant, car il est devenu trop cher, et il y a de meilleurs rapports qualité prix dans la catégorie 10-15 euros.

    Buon natale



  3. Jim Budd

    Hervé: I look forward to the day when these ‘vignerons champenois à la fois valeureux et sympathiques’ find their voice.


    1. Me too, Jim. But it brings us back to another topic we’ve already covered: to whom belongs an AOC like Champagne or Sancerre?
      PS. May be you should make an exception for the Vaud Champagne (who produced stilled wine in the village of Champagne long before the French Champagne started to sparkle) ? And for the Cognac Fine Champagne? Curiously enough, the first has been under constant attack by the CIVC, whereas the second is OK. Any chance that the reason is that some big groups owning Champagne brands also own Cognac brands?


      1. Jim Budd

        Hervé. Vaud Champagne is another excellent example of the odious bullying tactics by the CIVC. Another reason why I no longer view Champagne as an appropriate beverage for celebrations.


  4. Jim Budd

    Michel. ‘polémiquer inutilement’? Judging by the reaction on twitter the polemic is not entirely ‘inutile’. I don’t imagine, however, that this will make any difference to the global sales of sparkling wine produced in north east France.


  5. That’s exactly what I meant, Jim… Despite, even if I adore other bubbles, including Loire, Alsace, Proseco, Cava, and so on, Champagne’s got something unique. I don’t think we’d be winners, as wine lovers, if there was Champagne used as a brand name all over the world. And that applies to Bordeaux, Chianti, Rioja, etc. By the way, even if I don’t share your point of view, it won’t stop me from drinking a nice glass of sparkling to your good health ! 🙂


  6. Jim Budd

    Michel. I am not for one moment arguing that Champagne should be a name used for any sparkling wine around the world. I agree with you that Champagne comes from the defined Champagne region. Although it is worth noting that Champagne houses used to use the word Champagne (or similar) for their sparkling wines in South America.

    When Champagne Jayne shows non-Champagne sparkling wines she makes the difference clear and this was part of her evidence last week in court in Melbourne.


  7. I agree with Jim that the CIVC has been and is being heavy-handed to the point of overkill in its prosecution policies against some very minor cases, including the « Champagne Jayne » one. It has however, won a series of important battles in the past to protect the collective rights of this appellation. I think that one can criticise these excesses without calling for any form of boycott however, of which I don’t really see the point. I will continue to drink Champagne, not perhaps to the extent of Sir Winston, but with as much pleasure.


    1. Jim Budd

      David. Of course I agree protecting your reputation and trademark is important but as you say it is the zealous, overkill which is so objectionable. Overkill by the CIVC and other large Champagne houses.

      To celebrate I want to drink something that will reflect joy not make me angry, so I’ll find another sparkling wine that is appropriate to the occasion.


      1. Jim Budd

        Triple Zéro fits the bill! There are, however, plenty of other joy-inducing sparkling wines that don’t remind me of the CIVC’s bully boy tactics.


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