Russia’s Champagne label law flattens the bubbles in French champagne

 

France is upset with Russia as the country has changed labeling laws for one of its main exported products, champagne. Although the bubbly and sparkling wine has competition from similar products, the historic name and association of the wine has remained with the Champagne region in France. However, new Russian laws state the use of “shampanskoye” will be allowed only on local produce.

 

French producers can continue to use the word “champagne” on the front of the bottles but as per the new legislation signed by Vladimir Putin on Friday, all foreign products have to describe these products as sparkling wine and can no longer use the word “shampanskoya.”

 

Weekend deliveries by Moet Hennessy, the most popular French producer of champagne around the world, were suspended. New labels with a description that said “sparkling wine” were added on the label, in compliance with the law and the shipments were made.

 

On Tuesday, Julien Denormandie, French Agricultural Minister said that the word champagne comes from a beautiful region of France where champagne is produced and thinks that only France could use the word — champagne.

 

The word Champagne is designated under the Appellation d’Origine Controlee (AOC) system in France. It gives exclusive use of the word “champagne” to the product in countries that follow EU laws. It specifies geographic indicators. Other foods that are protected by similar rules are Greek Feta, Italian Parmesan and British Stilton blue cheese.

 

French media are reporting that this move by Russia is in line with the country’s efforts to reinvigorate the sparking wine industry in Crimea. After Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. It has been  looking to revive the economy of the region and “champanskoya” might be one way to do so. However, some believe that there is a difference in quality between sparkling wines from the region and French champagne. So, whatever be the label sales will remain strong.

 

France makes more than 200 million bottles of champagne each year. It earns close to $3billion by exporting champagne. The U.S. and the U.K. import a large share of champagne. Russia imports about 50 million liters of sparkling wines and French champagne has a 13 percent share of this market.

 

The Champagne Committee has requested the governments of France and the European Union to get the law overturned through diplomatic efforts.


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