Should American Wines Not Be Labeled 'Château'?

French vintners are angry with American wines labeled 'château' or 'clos,' saying they are mislabeled
Staff Writer

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

You don't typically expect to find a "château"-labeled wine made in the U.S., but apparently, they do exist — and want to be recognized as such. But these French-labeled wines, made in America, are making French vintners across the ocean very angry. 

The Wall Street Journal says that French vintners are making a stink about these "mislabled" bottles, saying they are diluting the tradition and craft of French winemaking. The terms "château" and "clos" often refers to the (French) vineyard where the wine is produced. 

If American wineries sell these "château" and "clos"-labeled wines that are not up to the French quality, they say, it would hurt the overall name of these French-branded wines. Plus, these lower-priced bottles might lure away customers from the true product. Now, they are taking it to the EU to determine whether these American bottles should even be sold in the EU. "The European Commission is bartering our heritage and our economic clout at the expense of globalization," said Laurent Gapenne, of Château de Laville and president of the Federation des Grand Vins de Bordeaux, to the Associated Press.

Americans, on the other hand, don't understand why the French should own the definition of "château" and "clos." Said WineAmerica chief operation officer Cary Greene to the AP, people use the words in different ways — tossing the French labels up for grabs.

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