Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

China to recognise Burgundy AOCs

Published:  08 May, 2024

Burgundy has taken its first step on the road to gaining protection for its appellations in China, with recognition now officially in place for two of its top AOCs.

The Mâcon and Gevrey-Chambertin appellations are now official areas of protection under Chinese law – a major step forward when it comes to combatting fraud.

The hope is that the first two AOCs will act as a model for the subsequent registration of all Burgundy’s appellations which span 84 AOCs and several hundred Climats, classified as AOC Village Premier Cru.

China has a long and deep history with wine fraud, particularly French wine. The Interprofessional Council of Bordeaux Wine (CIVB) once estimated that 30,000 bottles of fake imported wine are sold per hour in China. Both Bordeaux and Burgundy’s wines are often the target of fraudsters looking to cash in on China’s growing number of high-end wine consumers.

“This registration is very good news for our AOCs and the progress made in terms of recognition of our rights,” Thiébault Huber, president of the CAVB, and Laurent Delaunay, president of the BIVB, said in a joint statement.

“In our view, this is a first step, and these two appellations are models for a more general registration of all the Bourgogne appellations.”

The decision to protect the two AOCs is the result of a process that began in 2023. The Burgundy trade lobbied hard to gain the protection, which was announced to coincide with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to France. China’s National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) is the body that oversees protection cases and takes the lead on decision-making.

In 2023, China was the seventh largest export market for Burgundy wines in terms of value and the tenth in volume. Traditionally, it imports red wines on a larger scale (59%), although Burgundy whites are fairly well represented (40%). Crémant de Bourgogne accounts for barely 1% of exports to the People's Republic of China.

The BIVB and CAVB concluded by looking to the future of fraud-prevention. ‘There can be no doubt this decision will give the leaders of the Bourgogne wine industry the weapons they need to better protect the rights of Bourgogne producers in China,’ they said.