The term was introduced at the end of the 1980s, when the EU prohibited the use of the term Méthode champenoise outside of the French Champagne region. In the past, some houses used to use this term to refer to champagne with a lower carbon dioxide pressure, but this is no longer the case today. The designation is now used in France for quality sparkling wines produced outside Champagne using the Champagne method. The regulations vary slightly depending on the appellation. For all of them, however, a whole grape pressing, a maximum of 100 litres of must yield per 150 kilograms of grapes, a maximum of 150 mg/l sulphur dioxide and at least one year of storage, including nine months on the lees. Appellations classified in France are Crémant d'Alsace, Crémant de Bordeaux, Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant de Die, Crémant de Limoux, Crémant de Loire and Crémant du Jura. In Luxembourg there is one Crémant de Luxembourg.
In the past, the term crémant was reserved for quality sparkling wines produced in France or Luxembourg. The Spanish producer Codorníu, who marketed one of his sparkling wines under the name "Grand Crémant de Cordoníu", filed a complaint against this protection of the designation. The European Court of Justice declared in its judgement of 18 May 1994 that "Crémant" is not a designation of origin but a production method for sparkling wines and therefore may not be reserved as was done. This meant that the term "Crémant" was no longer linked to origin and had become available to other countries. However, since this term was used for products with strict production regulations and had gained a certain degree of recognition, minimum conditions were laid down in an EU regulation.
A Crémant must be made by means of traditional bottle fermentation. The must must be obtained by a special form of pressing (the so-called whole grape pressing), the maximum yield may be 100 litres per 150 kg of grapes. The indication "Crémant" may only be used in connection with the name of the specified region, in Germany for example "Crémant Rheinhessen". The adoption of the term "Crémant", which has hitherto been uncommon in Germany and also in Austria, should be regarded as a replacement for the term Méthode champenoise, which is no longer permitted and is reserved for champagne. Acceptance of the new term is low in viticultural practice. It is rarely used in Germany and Austria.
A detailed description of sparkling wine production with all processing steps can be found under Champagne. A complete list of the numerous vinification measures and cellar techniques, as well as the various types of wine, sparkling wine and distillate regulated by wine law can be found under vinification. Comprehensive information on wine law can be found under the keyword wine law.