Representatives from Champagne, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry and Willamette Valley join Chianti Classico at annual tasting to raise awareness

Declaration round table at the Chianti Classico Collection, February 14, 2017

CONTACT: Elizabeth McBain, 202-777-3511, emcbain@clsstrategies.com

FLORENCE, Italy — Representatives of the Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin gathered today at the Chianti Classico Collection to raise awareness of the importance of protecting wine growing places names. Among the global coalition’s 20 members, the wine regions of Champagne (France), Jerez-Xérès-Sherry (Spain) and Willamette Valley (United States) joined Chianti Classico at its annual tasting to speak about their collective effort to ensure wine place names are not abused or miscommunicated to consumers.

“We are proud to join with so many other world-renowned wine regions dedicated to protecting place names,” said Sergio Zingarelli, president of the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico. “While we may compete in the marketplace, we all understand that when one of our wine region names is misused the credibility of the industry as a whole is diminished and leads to consumer confusion.”

The Chianti Classico Collection event takes place just after the Italian wine region’s 300th anniversary. Legal geographical boundaries and production standards were first established in 1716. The Collection event includes 185 wineries, pouring a total of 9,000 bottles of wine. More than 250 journalists from 30 different countries and over 1,500 trade professionals were in attendance.

“Like Chianti Classico, the Champagne region has centuries of traditions that have been developed and protected over time,” said Jean-Marie Barillère, co-president of the Comité Champagne. “That is why we work hard to protect the Champagne name from abuses in the market.”

Maxime Toubart, co-president of the Comité Champagne, added: “All the members of the Declaration have worked to produce world-class wine regions and preserve the integrity of our unique vines and lands. United with Chianti Classico, Jerez, Willamette Valley and the many other wine regions across the globe, we are committed to educating consumers about the importance of location.”

Since it was first signed in 2005, the Declaration efforts have focused on ensuring consumers are given fair, accurate information on a wine’s place of origin. Members have worked beyond the customary legal framework to achieve expanded protection. For example, most recently five wineries in Napa Valley announced that they were voluntarily giving up use of the name Port on their fortified dessert wine labels. Additionally, the coalition succeeded in protecting place names online. Members of the Declaration worked with American-based Internet name registry Donuts on an agreement that put safeguards in place to ensure the .wine and .vin domain extensions could not be falsely used to mislead consumers.

“Consumers deserve to know where their wine is truly from and that they can trust the label will tell them that and other information accurately,” said Harry Peterson-Nedry, former president of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association. “A classic wine’s unique characteristics derive from where it is grown and, so, cannot be duplicated anywhere else except its place of origin. Misleading consumers to believe otherwise is dishonest and damaging to the worldwide marketplace for wines.”

César Saldaña, director general of the Consejo Regulador del Vino de Jerez, added: “As a founding member of the Declaration, we recognize the distinguishing characteristics that make each region unique. We stand with our global partners united in the belief that location is paramount to a wine and protecting a wine’s origins is the only method to ensure quality for consumers.”

For more information, visit origins.wine or follow the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

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