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2 December 2014Trademarks

Champagne trade body seeks to put cork in wine critic

A wine critic who goes by the name ‘ Champagne Jayne’ is due in court after being targeted by the trade body that protects France’s Champagne wines.

Rachel Jayne Powell is due to stand trial in Australia’s Melbourne Federal Court on December 15.

The Australian critic, who writes about and promotes Champagne as well as other sparkling wines, has been targeted by the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), which has accused her of misleading the public by using the name Champagne.

Powell—who has appeared as a critic on UK TV show This Morning—trademarked the name ‘Champagne Jayne’ in Australia in 2012 to protect “entertainers, public speakers and authors”.

Her book—Great, Grand and Famous Champagnes: Behind the Bubbles—won a 2011 Gourmand book award, a prize that celebrates books in the food and drink industry.

In a court filing against Powell, CIVC’s lawyers said the critic’s promotion of non-Champagne wines damaged the reputation and goodwill that the name Champagne has.

Champagne is protected by strict rules that mean it can only be produced at certified vineyards and by specific methods in its home region in northern France.

It has geographical indication protection in Australia as well as the EU, ensuring products are authentic.

CIVC’s complaint was filed at the court in December last year but is only just about to reach court.

Neither CIVC nor Powell responded immediately to a request for comment.

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22 December 2014   The trade body that protects France’s Champagne wines is set to enter into talks with a wine critic and expert who calls herself ‘Champagne Jayne’ after previously targeting her in a lawsuit.