French champagne industry group angry at new Russian law

PARIS / MOSCOW, July 5 (Reuters) – The French champagne industry group on Monday blasted a new Russian law that requires foreign producers to add a reference to “sparkling wine” to their champagne bottles, and called for the cessation of exports of 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 – but not on the front – while makers of Russian “shampanskoye” can continue to do so. use it. term alone.

The French champagne industry group called on its members to suspend all shipments to Russia for the time being and said the name “champagne”, which refers to the region of France where the drink comes from, benefits legal protection in 120 countries.

“The Champagne Commission regrets that this legislation does not guarantee Russian consumers clear and transparent information on the origins and characteristics of wine,” said Maxime Toubart and Jean-Marie Barillere, co-chairmen of the group, in a press release.

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

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

Moet Hennessy, French champagne maker Veuve Clicquot and Dom Perignon owned by LVMH, announced on Sunday that it would start adding the designation “sparkling wine” to the back of bottles destined for Russia to comply with the law.

Bottles of champagne are on display on December 21, 2016 in a store specializing in French wines Nicolas in Paris, France. Photo taken December 21, 2016. REUTERS / Charles Platiau

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LVMH stock (LVMH.PA) was down around 0.2% on Monday afternoon, underperforming the Paris Bourse, which was up 0.34%.

Shares of Russian sparkling wine producer Abrau-Durso (ABRD.MM) rose more than 3% after rising 7.77% at the start of trading.

Pavel Titov, president of Abrau-Durso, told Radio France Internationale on Saturday that his company had no sparkling wines that would be called “champagne” in its portfolio and said he hoped the problem would be resolved by 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 Champagne region of France” , did he declare.

The European Commission has said that legislation in Russia regarding spirits and wine will have a huge impact on wine exports and will do everything possible to voice its disagreement and concern.

“We will do whatever is necessary to protect our rights and take the necessary measures if this law enters into force,” said European Commission spokesperson Miriam Garcia Ferrer.

Asked about the countermeasures the European Union could take in response to Russian law, she replied that it was premature to discuss such a situation.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Leigh Thomas in Paris, Alexander Marrow in Moscow and John Chalmers in Brussels; Written by Geert De Clercq Editing by Alison Williams, Andrea Ricci, Catherine Evans and Paul Simao

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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