Gallo denies breaching EU law

27 August, 2008
Page 6 
E&J Gallo has said it is not to blame after Belgian Customs seized cases of its André brand of sparkling wine which is labelled as Californian Champagne.

Gallo accused the Office of Champagne USA, the Washington-based branch of French Champagne trade body CIVC, of releasing misleading information about the incident which occurred last month.

Belgian Customs destroyed 3,200 bottles of the brand as only wine made in France's Champagne region can call itself Champagne, unless there is an historical precedent for the brand in other markets, such as the US.

Gallo rejected any suggestion that it ignored regulations. The group, one of the world's largest wine producers, blamed the error on a third party.

It said in a statement: "The owner of the merchandise was in fact a third party based in the United States who sells product to cruise ships. This third party shipped the product to Belgium, and once they were informed of the problem they agreed to abandon the product for immediate destruction."

Gallo said it did not sell counterfeit products in the EU. It stated: "As a leader in the wine industry that does business in more than 80 countries around the world we value our relationship with the EU and respect our fellow wine producers in Europe."

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