A law signed on July 2, 2021, states that, from now on, all sparkling wines made in Russia will be stamped “Champagne”. As for the real Champagne, it becomes a simple “sparkling wine”.
Vladimir Putin has just annexed Champagne. At least on the label of sparkling wines made in Russia. Indeed, the text provides that, from now on, only Russian wines can be labeled as “Champagne”, while the real French champagne will have to be satisfied with the name “sparkling wine”.
This is obviously a declaration of war that is made not only to Champagne, but also to all French wine production. Maxime Toubart and Jean-Marie Barillère, co-presidents of the Champagne Committee, remind that the name Champagne is protected in 120 countries. They ask the Champagne companies to stop all shipments to Russia, “until further notice”.
“An incomprehensible attack
“Champagne is outraged by the new Russian legislation on wine labeling” writes in a statement the Champagne Committee for whom “It is Champagne only Champagne”. The Champagne Committee “deplores the fact that this regulation does not provide Russian consumers with clear and transparent information on the origin and characteristics of wines. It regrets that this new law calls into question more than twenty years of bilateral discussions between France and Russia on the protection of designations of origin. ”
The president of the Grand Est region, Jean Rottner, “deplores” the attitude of Russia. He said in a statement: “The decision taken by President Vladimir Putin to reserve the name Champagne to Russian producers is an incomprehensible attack on our heritage. I deplore this official position of Russia and recall my unwavering support to our wine growers and the interprofession gathered within the Committee Champagne. Synonymous with prestige and refinement, this wine of excellence is in itself a true ambassador of France’s ancestral know-how in the field of exceptional products. It is also the perfect illustration of the assets that characterize our region. With its 20,000 farms, the Grand Est is the leading wine tourism region in France. This sector deserves all our consideration. ”
1.8 million bottles for Russia
The Russian market ranks 15ᵉ in champagne wine exports with just over 1.8 million bottles in 2020 which represents a little over €35M.
Recall that champagne ships good year to bad year 244 million bottles for a turnover of 4.2 billion euros. The first export market is the United Kingdom (with 21.2 million bottles) followed by the United States (20.8 million), Japan (10.8 million), Germany, Belgium, Australia etc.
Even if Russia is only a “small” customer of champagne wines, laborious diplomatic discussions are being held with the Kremlin to convince Vladimir Putin to come to his senses.