Monday, 6 Dec 2021

Russia v France: Putin & Macron face off as Kremlin announces sensational ban on champagne

Vladimir Putin discusses possibility of third world war

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

The move has infuriated France’s champagne industry, which has demanded the halting of bubbly exports to Russia.

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

Maxime Toubart and Jean-Marie Barillere, the group’s co-presidents, said: “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.”

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

He wrote on Twitter: “We will unfailingly support our producers and French excellence.”

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

LVMH shares were down around 0.2 percent on Monday afternoon, underperforming the Paris bourse, which was up 0.34 percent.

Shares in Russian sparkling wine-maker Abrau-Durso were up more than 3 percent after rising as much as 7.77 percent in early trading.

Pavel Titov, the president of Abrau-Durso, told Radio France Internationale he hoped the issue would be resolved in favour of global norms and standards.

He said: “It is very important to protect the Russian wines on our market.

“But the legislation must be reasonable and not contradict common sense.

“I have no doubts that the real champagne is made in the Champagne region of France.”

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The European Commission said the legislation in Russia regarding spirits and wine would have a considerable impact on wine exports.

European Commission spokeswoman Miriam Garcia Ferrer said: “We will do everything necessary to protect our rights and take the necessary steps if this law enters into force.”

Asked what counter-measures the European Union could take in response to the Russian law, she said it was premature to discuss such a situation.

French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie on Tuesday said ‘champagne’ was a name that could on be used on sparkling wines from the eponymous region in France, although other countries at times tried to claim the denomination as theirs.

Mr Denormandie told Sud Radio: “You can imagine the reaction of the French authorities.

“The word Champagne comes from that beautiful region of France where champagne is produced.”

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