BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — Belgian authorities said Thursday that they had destroyed a shipment of more than 3,000 bottles of California-made sparkling wine as part of a crackdown on illegally labeled champagne.
The destruction of the U.S. bubbly highlights a global battle by European food and drink producers to protect their brands by enforcing laws that say only products made in their original regions can carry names such as champagne or Parma ham.
In the European Union and in non-EU nations that recognize label-of-origin rules, champagne can come only from the region of the same name in France.
" 'Champagne' is a protected appellation of origin which can only be attributed to wines coming from the Champagne region," said Bruno Paillard, representing the region's vintners.
Paillard said selling other wines with the champagne label amounted to counterfeiting.