Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

CPG Sec. 510.300 Unfermented Beverages - Use of Word "Champagne"

BACKGROUND:

The term "champagne" when used alone and apart from any qualifying or descriptive words has been commonly understood to describe an effervescent or sparkling wine produced in a Province of France, the gas therein being the result of natural fermentation.

In the case of U.S. v. Schraubstadter et al. the Court indicated that a wine having substantially the same qualities as the champagne manufactured in France and produced substantially in the same way, originating in California, should not be held to be misbranded if labeled "California Champagne." (See N.J. No. 1020 and 199 Fed. 568).

The Food and Drug Administration has consistently expressed the opinion that the word "champagne" is false and misleading when used to describe such products as soda water, artificially carbonated grape juice, artificially carbonated sweet cider, etc. A seizure was made in 1921 of an artificially carbonated apple juice with capsicum, labeled "Sparkling White Seal" and so packaged to imply it was champagne. The verdict for the government was appealed and was upheld by the Circuit Court of Appeals (Duffy-Mott Co. v. U.S. 285 Fed. 737).

Even when it is apparent to prospective purchasers that an article is not "champagne," the word carries connotations of superior quality.

POLICY:

The word "champagne" is objectionable when used to describe such products as soda water, artificially carbonated grape juice, artificially carbonated sweet cider, or similar beverages, and may cause such beverages to be misbranded.

Issued: 10/01/80

Page Last Updated: 03/20/2015
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