French Champagne Makers Get Reprieve From Russia Over Labeling
(Bloomberg) -- French Champagne makers selling their bubbly to Russia can breath a sigh of relief. For now.
Russia has agreed to delay until Jan. 1 a new rule that will grant the exclusive right to use the term “Shampanskoe” -- Russian for Champagne -- to local sparkling wines.
French Champagne producers are notoriously protective of their denomination. In Soviet times, Russian shampanskoe was a cheap kind of sparkling wine. When the news of the rule first emerged in July in Russia, French producers decided to halt their exports to the country in retaliation. Shipments resumed last month, but their main lobby group Comite Champagne CIVC warned the “fight was far from over.”
As of Jan. 1, French producers will have to label their bottles as “sparkling wine” in Cyrillic characters and will only be able to use the word Champagne in Latin characters on the bottles.
Trade Minister Franck Riester welcomed the “good news” of the delay in a tweet on Tuesday. “We’ll continue our efforts to protect our exporters in the long term,” he added.
French Champagne producers remain “attentive” to developments expected by the end of the year within the framework of a dialogue between both countries and hope to get “full recognition” for the Champagne name in Russia, CIVC said in an e-mailed statement.
The delay until 2022 is timely due to the holiday shopping season ahead of new year’s celebrations.
Champagne producers restrict the name’s use within France, allowing it only for sparkling wines made in a limited area of the region. The name is protected in 120 countries.
Russia ranks as the 15th biggest market in value for French Champagne producers, according to CIVC data from last year. The market is worth about 35 million euros ($41 million), compared with more than half a billion euros for the U.S., the top export market.
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