French champagne group rejects Russian ‘sparkling wine’ label law

The French champagne industry group on Monday disapproved of a new Russian law that forces foreign champagne producers to add a reference to “sparkling wine” to their bottles and called for an end to champagne exports to Russia.

The new law, signed on Friday by Russian President Vladimir Putin, requires all foreign sparkling wine producers to describe their product as such on the label on the back of the bottle – but not on the front – while makers of the Russian “shampanskoye” just keep using that term.

The French champagne industry group called on its members to temporarily suspend all shipments to Russia and said the name “champagne”, which refers to the region of France where the drink comes from, has legal protection in 120 countries.

“The Champagne Committee regrets that this legislation does not ensure that Russian consumers have clear and transparent information about the origin and characteristics of wine,” the group’s co-chairs Maxime Toubart and Jean-Marie Barillère said in a statement.

French Commerce Minister Franck Riester said he is closely following the new Russian law, in contact with France’s wine industry and European partners.

“We will unfailingly support our producers and French excellence,” he said on Twitter.

Nous suivons de près implications de la nouvelle loi viti-vinicole russe, and lien étroit avec les professionnels et nos partenaires 🇪🇺. Aucun doute possible : nous soutiendrons sans faille nos producteurs et l’excellence 🇫🇷. Long live the #champagne français! #CIVC @Champagne

— Franck Riester (@franckriester) July 5, 2021

‘The real champagne is made in the Champagne region’

French producers are fiercely protective of the AOC, or Controlled Appellation of Origin, which would give them exclusive use of the word in countries that adhere to the Lisbon Agreement on Distinctive Geographical Indications.

But Russia is not a signatory and the new law signed by Putin bans the use of the Russian translation, “shampanskoye”, on imported bottles.

Moët Hennessy, the French maker of Veuve Clicquot and Dom Pérignon champagnes, which is owned by LVMH, said on Sunday it would add the “sparkling wine” designation to the back of bottles destined for Russia to comply with the law. .

Shares of Russian sparkling winemaker Abrau-Durso rose in early trading Monday.

Pavel Titov, president of Abrau-Durso, told FRANCE 24’s sister radio station, Radio France Internationale (RFI), on Saturday that his company has no sparkling wines in his portfolio that would be called “champagne” and he hoped that the problem in favor of global norms and standards.

“It is very important to protect the Russian wines on our market. But the legislation must be reasonable and not contrary to common sense… I have no doubt that the real champagne is made in the Champagne region of France” , he said.

( Jowharwith AFP and REUTERS)

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