REGULATIONS RELATING TO COMMUNICATION ABOUT ORGANIC CHAMPAGNE
A REMINDER OF THE LAW
Following too large a number of incidents of misleading communications about non-certified products being referred to as organic, or about estates claiming to practice organic viticulture without having embarked on a process of certification, the Association des Champagnes Biologiques and Bio en Grand Est wish to remind you of the following:
- A champagne may only claim to be ‘organic’ if it has been certified as being a product of Organic Agriculture. Only those who produce grapes certified as organic and those champagnes certified as organic have the right to claim to use organic agriculture; in order to do this they must be registered with Agence Bio and be in conformity with the regulations laid out by their certifying body.
- As is the case with all products from organic agriculture which present themselves as such, the European organic logo, called Eurofeuille, must, by law, feature on the label as well as the words ‘organic wine’, the code number of the certifying body (FR-BIO-XX) and the origin of the agricultural raw material used (Agriculture France).
European organic logo
- Prior certification as a user of organic agriculture is a mandatory requirement for any producer claiming to be, or communicating about, biodynamics. The presence of the word ‘bio’ in ‘biodynamic’ confers the same rights and protections.
- Communication about being in the process of conversion is only permitted after making a commitment to a certifying body and after registration with Agence Bio. Producers in the process of conversion must nevertheless be extremely cautious in what they say and should never claim to be practicing organic agriculture for any part of their production that has not yet been fully certified. For example, it is not permitted to use the name of an estate that is in the process of conversion in association with the words organic (bio) or biodynamic (biodynamique) on social media.
- The length of time required for the conversion of vines is 36 months before harvesting. That is to say, the fourth harvest after the start of the conversion process will be certified as Agriculture Biologique; a further 2 years of vinification are required by the rules of the appellation to produce a cuvée of champagne. Thus, a producer who started conversion in 2020 will not be able to sell Organic Champagne until 2025 at the earliest.
Importers, wine retailers, specialist wine shops, restaurants, online web sites, journalists and anyone organising an event should re-double their vigilance. It is incumbent upon them to ask producers to provide their certification documents.
In order to respect everyone’s work as well as the credibility and traceability of organic agriculture, anyone contravening these rules renders themselves liable to being reported and to legal proceedings by the DGCCRF (Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes - the French General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control).