Biscuit hatchet buried in champagne wars

A bakery from the tiny village of Champagne in western Switzerland and a French champagne producers’ trade association have agreed to end a 20-year-long dispute.

This content was published on January 21, 2011 minutes and agencies

The trade group objected to the use of the name Champagne on the local bakery Cornu's sweet and savoury biscuit products. However, a similar row continues over the label "vin de Champagne" used by local Swiss winegrowers.

"We will no longer use the name Champagne as a brand, but we will be able to use it to mention the origin of the product. We’ll have to change the logo on the packaging,” Marc-André Cornu, owner of the Cornu bakery and Champagne's mayor, told the Swiss News Agency on Friday.

“At a some point you have to make concessions to move forward.”

While legal action has ended between the bakery and the French champagne producers, an identical dispute rumbles on over Swiss wine.

Since 2004, winemakers in the Swiss village have been banned from using the "vin de Champagne" label after a series of bilateral accords between Switzerland and the European Union came into effect.

The locals say the biscuit deal has had no effect on the ongoing wine row. Legal proceedings are not being pursued by the Swiss winemakers, whose aim is to try to secure an agreement with the French that Champagne is one word with two different meanings.

Cornu said, however, that he was very disappointed with the lack of support from the federal authorities in the fight over the use of the name Champagne.

At the end of 2008 the government indicated that the village of 740 inhabitants in canton Vaud that shares its name with the French wine-producing region had to continue its fight alone. The government did not want to renegotiate a 1974 treaty with the French nor modify a brand protection law.

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