The decision follows several years of negotiations between the Chinese authorities and Comité Champagne (CIVC).
The Champenois have welcomed the news. The Chinese government backing will provide Champagne wines with the optimal level of protection against misuse of the appellation as well as acknowledgement that origins matter.
Comité Champagne managing director, Jean-Luc Barbier, praised: "The excellent relations between China and France concerning geographical indications’’.
China is the fastest-growing market for Champagne. In 2012 shipments exceeded 2 million bottles, an increase of 51.8% over 2011. China is now the fifth largest Champagne market outside the European Union and this growth is expected to continue.
“China’s decision to register Champagne as a geographical indication is a major achievement for the Champenois”, said Comité Champagne’s legal department head, Charles Goemaere. “It reaffirms that ‘Champagne only comes from Champagne’ in what is fast becoming one of Champagne’s most promising markets while sending a strong message that origin matters.”
“This registration will enable the competent authorities to effectively act against the misuse which is not frequent but needs to be quickly detected and stopped,” said Ms. Wang Wei, director of the Beijing-based Champagne Bureau in China.
The Comité Champagne, which represents the Champagne growers and houses, protects the name Champagne and endeavours to ensure that only wines that benefit from the geographical indication are called ‘Champagne’.