The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in December 2017 that a sorbet containing 12% champagne could not be marketed as “Champagne Sorbet” unless the essential characteristic of the sorbet – e.g. the aroma or the taste – was one attributable to champagne. The judgment was in response to a claim that the name “Champagne Sorbet” infringed the ‘Champagne’ Protected Designation of Origin (known as PDO; a system used to classify products produced within a certain geographical area).

The significance of this judgment is that, if certain conditions are met, food businesses within the EU which market products containing items with a PDO as an ingredient (such as ‘Stilton’ or ‘Prosciutto’) are able to use that protected term in the name or on the packaging of their product. This will come as a relief to many manufacturers.