True Champagne only comes from Champagne, France. But in the United States, unlike the majority of countries in the world, wine labeling laws are inadequate. As a result, some domestic producers of sparkling wines take advantage of a loophole in U.S. law to use the term “champagne” on their wine labels, potentially misleading U.S. consumers. This practice also creates confusion in the marketplace, undermining the strides that quality wine regions—including prominent U.S. wine regions like Napa Valley and Sonoma County—have made in distinguishing specific wine growing places and sowing consumer confusion with wine labels. The grape growers and houses of Champagne turned to CLS Strategies for help tackling this complicated political, economic and consumer rights issue.
CLS Strategies established the Champagne Bureau, USA to serve as the public face for the Champenois’ interests in the United States. CLS then developed and currently executes a multi-faceted public affairs and public relations campaign to promote and protect the Champagne name in the United States. This effort is designed to raise the American consciousness of the issue of name protection, forge critical alliances with industry groups to strengthen Champagne’s case before policymakers and trade negotiators, and manage a comprehensive educational campaign targeting lawmakers, media and wine enthusiasts.
This program is both strategic and flexible, utilizing varied tactics depending on the political, economic and social requirements at the time, while focusing on the clear long-term goal of reserving the use of the Champagne name exclusively for wines from the Champagne region.