Russia forces French to call champagne 'sparkling wine', reserves 'shampanskoye' for local bubbly

 France's champagne industry is up in arms after Russia enacted a new law forcing producers from the Champagne region to label their bubbly "sparkling wine" while allowing domestic producers to continue to sell "shampanskoye".

The law, signed by Russian President Vladimir 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.

About 120 countries respect France's "appellation d'origine" rules, which restrict the "champagne" designation to sparkling wines made under specific conditions in the Champagne region.

The French champagne industry group called on its members to halt all shipments to Russia for the time being.

"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," Maxime Toubart and Jean-Marie Barillere, the group's co-presidents, said in a statement.

Sparkling wine bottles with Russian labelling on a shelf.
Russia's sparkling wine is known locally as "shampanskoye".(

AFP: Alexander Nemenov


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.

"We will unfailingly support our producers and French excellence," he said on Twitter.

Moët Hennessy, the French maker of Veuve Clicquot and Dom Pérignon 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.

Shares in Moët's owner LVMH were down around 0.2 per cent on Monday afternoon, under-performing the Paris bourse, which was up 0.34 per cent.

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

Pavel Titov, the president of Abrau-Durso, told Radio France Internationale his firm did not have any sparkling wines that would be called "champagne" in its portfolio.

He said he hoped the issue would be resolved in favour of global norms and standards.

"It is very important to protect the Russian wines on our market," Mr Titov said. 

"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."

A Champagne advert is displayed at the entrance of the village in Avize, in the Champagne region.
The Champagne region's industry group has called on producers to stop exporting their champagne to Russia.(

AP: Francois Mori


The European Commission said the Russian law would have a considerable impact on wine exports, and said it would do all it could to express its disagreement and concern.

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

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.

Russia forces French to call champagne 'sparkling wine', reserves 'shampanskoye' for local bubbly Russia forces French to call champagne 'sparkling wine', reserves 'shampanskoye' for local bubbly Reviewed by Your Destination on July 06, 2021 Rating: 5

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