Famous winemaker Moet Hennessy said Monday his champagne shipments to Russia were suspended after President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Friday stating that the term “champagne” can only be used for “Russian champagne”.
“These provisions lead to a temporary suspension of product deliveries to assess the impact of this new law,” Moët-Hennessy spokeswoman Anne Catherine Grimal said, according to the state news agency RIA-Novosti. .
Moet Hennessy is part of the French luxury goods group LVMH and is known for brands such as Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Dom Perignon.
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For most aficionados, a sparkling wine can only be called champagne if it comes from the region of France with that name and is made in accordance with certain regulations.
Since Soviet times, champagne – “shampanskoye” in Russian – has been used as an umbrella term for a wide range of sparkling wines, some of which contradict the luxury image of champagne by selling for as little as 150 rubles ($ 2). the bottle.
The law has sparked controversy: even the head of one of Russia’s leading winemakers thinks the law goes too far.
“For me, there is no doubt that real champagne comes from the Champagne region of France,” Pavel Titov, president of Abrau-Dyurso, told RIA-Novosti. “It is very important to protect Russian wines in our market and to offer them full sponsorship. But the legislative measures taken must be reasonable and not contradict common sense.
The French champagne industry group has asked its partners to suspend all Russian shipments.
“The Champagne Commission regrets that this legislation does not guarantee Russian consumers clear and transparent information on the origins and characteristics of wine,” said group co-presidents Maxime Toubart and Jean-Marie Barillère in a press release.
Wine consultant Anna Chernyshova helps the wealthy build collections of spirits.
“My phone has been ringing all the time,” she told AFP news agency. “My clients and I are thinking about what to do next.”
She thinks the new law is absurd.
“How are they going to step on it?” she told AFP. “So many officials love this champagne.”
Beverage market expert Vadim Drobiz doesn’t think the law is a big deal.
“If there is no Moët, there will be no coup and the Russian elites will not kill themselves,” Drobiz told AFP.
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The law is now severely ridiculed.
“Now Scots and Americans must be banned from using the word ‘whiskey’,” joked restaurateur Sergei Mironov.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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