More Bubbly? French Farmers Are in Uproar

Champagne country expansion will enrich some, snub others
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 26, 2007 6:08 PM CST
Wine growers work in fields near Epernay, eastern France, in this Aug. 30, 2007 file photo. France's venerable body in charge of food and drink labels is looking into expanding the area where Champagne...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Champagne drinkers may soon taste the fruits of of a French government initiative to welcome new farmers into the exclusive club of those allowed to call their sparkling white wines Champagne, with a capital C. As demand skyrockets, a list has been drawn up of 40 communities that might be annexed in the largest extension of Champagne country in 8 decades. But the scheme has left unanointed farmers in an uproar.

“We have exactly the same soil as the areas that were chosen, the same sun, the same beautiful hills,” one of many snubbed farmers lamented. “It’s like the Miss World contest," said the head of the champagne-makers trade group. "All the contestants think they are the most beautiful.” He said the selection method was “scientific,” though, the Times notes, both the names of the panel and the selection process were secret.