1907 Anti-Chaptalisation Act

Definition - What does 1907 Anti-Chaptalisation Act mean?

The 1907 Anti-Chaptalisation Act refers to the regulation against adding sugar to wine grapes to increase alcohol content. The regulation was brought about by the development of French Wine regulations, created to stop the production of artificial wines. In the decades prior to 1907, the wine industry in france had struggled to rebuild after The Great French Wine Blight during the 1800’s, and tensions turned to revolt during the riots of 1907, this led to the intervention of the state to quell tensions and regulate wine production.

WineFrog explains 1907 Anti-Chaptalisation Act

The effects of The Great French Wine Blight were strongly felt into the early 1900’s as vineyards struggled to re-establish vines and produce enough grapes at each harvest to stay in business and meet local demand. The smaller harvests had led to tensions in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France as wine makers not only bought grapes from other regions, they also began making fake wine by adding sugar to the grapes to boost alcohol, a process called chaptalization.

In addition to chaptalizing wine, sellers also added wines made in other regions to their product base. This led to the overproduction of poor quality wine and a dramatic drop in prices, placing the wine grape growers in ever-worsening financial crisis.

Tensions peaked in the the summer of 1907 as over 600,000 people protested in Montpelier on June 7th, the violence and revolt led to the development of French wine regulations by the French Government. Since that time, wine has been defined as being made exclusively from the fermentation of the juice or solely from fresh grapes, with the only addition being dry extracts, such as yeast. Chaptalization or "sugaring" was no longer allowed.

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