Friday, October 22, 2021

French champagne industry group is furious over new Russian law

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Bottles of Moet & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot French champagne are seen in this illustrated photo taken on July 5, 2021. REUTERS

PARIS / MOSCOW – France’s champagne industry group on Monday criticized a new Russian law that requires foreign producers to add a “sparkling wine” reference to their champagne bottles, and called for the suspension of exports from the sparkling drink to Russia.

The law, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, requires all foreign sparkling wine producers to describe their product as such on the back of the bottle, though not on the front, while Russian “shampanskoye” makers they can continue to use it. term alone.

The French champagne industry group asked its members to stop all shipments to Russia for the time being, saying that 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 the fact that this legislation does not guarantee that Russian consumers have clear and transparent information about the origin and characteristics of the wine,” Maxime Toubart and Jean-Marie Barillere, group co-chairs, said in a statement.

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

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

Moet Hennessy, the LVMH-owned French maker of Veuve Clicquot and Dom Perignon champagnes, said Sunday it would begin adding the “sparkling wine” designation to the back of bottles destined for Russia to comply with the law.

LVMH shares fell about 0.2% on Monday afternoon, below the trend in Paris, which was up 0.34%.

Shares of Russian sparkling wine maker Abrau-Durso rose more than 3% after rising as high as 7.77% in early trading.

Pavel Titov, president of Abrau-Durso, told Radio France Internationale on Saturday that his firm does not have sparkling wines that would be called “champagne” in its portfolio and said he hoped the issue would be resolved in favor of global norms and standards.

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

The European Commission said that legislation in Russia regarding spirits and wine would have a considerable impact on wine exports and would do its best to express its disagreement and concern.

“We will do everything necessary to protect our rights and take the necessary measures if this law comes into force,” said the spokeswoman for the European Commission, Miriam García Ferrer.

When asked what countermeasures the European Union could take in response to Russian law, he said it was premature to discuss such a situation.

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