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Paris: French Champagne Industry Reacts Over New Russian Champagne Law

Paris: French Champagne Industry Reacts Over New Russian Champagne Law

PARIS: Following a new Russian law on the production of Champagne, France’s champagne industry group has reacted to the new law which forces foreign champagne producers to add a “sparkling wine” refers to the back of their bottles.

Recently, Moet Hennessy’s Russia office warned local partners it was suspending supplies after Russian lawmakers adopted legislation stipulating that the word “champagne” can only be applied to wine produced in Russia, while the world-famous tipple from France’s Champagne region should be called “sparkling wine”.

The law, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, requires all foreign producers of sparkling wine to describe their product as such on the label on the back of the bottle – though not on the front.

This didn’t go well with the French champagne industry. In a statement by The “Comite Champagne” (Champagne Committee) it called on French and European Union diplomats to get the law changed.

A copy of Moet Hennessy’s letter was first published on social media by a representative of a Moscow-based liquor importer and distributor.

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Co-presidents of the French Champagne group, Maxime Toubart, and Jean-Marie Barillere, called on its members to halt all shipments to Russia for the time being. They said that the Champagne name, which refers to the region in France where French Champagne comes from, had legal protection in 120 countries.

Drinks market expert Vadim Drobiz suggested the legislation was open to interpretation but added that Moet Hennessy’s share of the Russian market was relatively small and well-heeled clients could find a replacement.

“If there is no Moet, there won’t be a state coup and Russian elites will not commit suicide,” Drobiz quipped.

But wine consultant Anna Chernyshova questioned the purpose of the amendments. “My phone has been ringing off the hook,” she said. “Me and my clients are thinking about what to do next.

Co-presidents of the French Champagne group; Maxime Toubart and Jean-Marie Barillere, called on its members to halt all shipments to Russia for the time being. It was revealed that the Champagne name, which refers to the region in France where French Champagne comes from, had legal protection in 120 countries.

“The Champagne Committee deplores the fact that this legislation does not ensure that Russian consumers have clear and transparent information about the origins and characteristics of wine,” it said, adding the law undermined two decades of talks between Russia and the European Union.

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