Champagne – only one geographical indication prevails in Switzerland

The Swiss Federal Supreme Court decided on the dispute about "Commune de Champagne PDO" in two judgements (December 23, 2022, 2C_407/2021; March 22, 2022, 2C_381/2021). The Canton de Vaud had introduced, in January 2021, a PDO "Commune de Champagne" for still white wines of the Chasselas grape grown in the municipality of Champagne. The Comité interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne CIVC challenged this legal act before the Constitutional Court of the Canton Vaud. The Court agreed with the CIVC (April 1, 2021, CCST.20210003) that this new PDO contradicted the exclusive protection for the designation ‘Champagne’ for wines originating from France granted, among others, explicitly by Switzerland’s bilateral agreement of 1999 with the European Union on trade in agricultural products, ruling in essence that such bilateral agreement prevails over the TRIPS Agreement of the World Trade Organization. The appeals to the Swiss Supreme Court of the Canton de Vaud, the Commune de Champagne and the Communauté de la vigne et du vin de la Commune de Champagne were rejected or not dealt with for fundamental procedural reasons. This concludes the dispute about the Champagne PDO in Switzerland.

Prof. Dr. Jürg Simon and Dr. Sevan Antreasyan, partners at Lenz & Staehelin, represented the CIVC in these proceedings.

Published: 17 February 2023