William Malcolm

France Furious As Russia Labels Imported Champagne ‘Sparkling Wine’

French champagne producers are trying to adapt to the new Russian law, according to which only domestic producers will be entitled to the label “champagne”. Moët Hennessy has already announced that it will add the words “sparkling wine” to its labels. According to some, President Vladimir Putin wants to support the production of sparkling wine in Crimea.

France has very strict conditions for the protection of wine with bubbles. Only those that come from the Champagne region can be named champagne. In Russia, however, the markings have now taken their toll, Putin signed legislation on Friday that caused a stir in the traditional wine-growing country.

“The word champagne originates in the beautiful French region where champagne is produced,” said French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie, according to the BBC.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced that he was planning activities at the bilateral and European levels in the coming days to protect the interests of winegrowers. It does not preclude a dispute from being submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Even some Russian producers are not entirely enthusiastic about the new law. “It is very important to protect Russian wines in our market. However, the legislation must be reasonable and must not be in conflict with common sense, ” Pavel Titov, president of the Abrau-Durso group, told Radio France Internationale.

Russia imports almost 50 million liters of sparkling wine every year, of which French champagne is thirteen percent. Moët Hennessy directly occupies two percent of the market. The LVHM group initially threatened to stop imports into Russia, but then reconsidered the decision.

“The champagne producers belonging to Moët Hennessy have always respected the laws in force, wherever they operate. Deliveries will resume as soon as it is possible to make changes to the label, “the group said on Monday, according to the daily Guardian. According to the media, French producers may continue to use the name Champagne in Latin, the ban applies to the Cyrillic inscription.

Le Monde speculates that Putin’s move is the focus of his friend Yuri Kovalchuk, a billionaire who owns a winery in Crimea. Producers on the annexed peninsula would like to revive the notorious glory of the domestic fizzy drink, which was also promoted by Stalin. The development of viticulture is part of plans to boost the local economy.

In any case, Russia is already joking about the new law. There are suggestions that the Kuban region should be renamed Champagne. According to another idea, next time the name Mercedes should be reserved only for cars made in Russia.