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Champagne region expands to 357 villages

Published:  23 July, 2008

France's highly prized Champagne appellation will be officially expanded, it was announced last week (Thursday March 14).

In what will prove to be a highly lucrative move for those included in the expansion, the Institut National des Appelations d'Origine (INAO) said the number of villages in the region would increase.

Yves Benard from the INAO made a statement on the new boundaries of the geographical area which can produce under the sought after Appellation d'Origine Controlee (AOC) blanket.

He said: "The area of the appellation, which included 319 communes (districts) covering 33,500 hectares (83,000 acres), will now include 357 communes."

Following a unanimous vote in Paris yesterday, the full list of new districts will be announced in a fortnight.

There are substantial commercial gains to be had from inclusion within the newly designated Champagne AOC.

Gilles Flutet, INAO head of land demarcation, explained: "If your vines fall on the wrong side of the divide, they will be worth 5,000 euros (3,830) a hectare. On the other side they will be worth a 1,000,000 (767,000)."