Champagne Wars: In a Tizz Over Fizz
French champagne producers are protesting against a new law in Russia that requires them to rename their famous fizz to “sparkling wine”. President Vladimir Putin passed a law stating that only Shampanskoye, grown in Russia, can be called champagne and that all foreign producers must label their wines as “sparkling wine” rather than “champagne”.
The Champagne Committee, the body which defends the interests and standards of the French wine region, could not say it more simply than the slogan of its website, which reads: “There is only Champagne from Champagne”. the only Champagne).
According to Maxime Toubart and Jean-Marie Barillère, co-chairs of the Champagne Committee: “To deprive Champagne producers of the right to use the name ‘Champagne’ is scandalous; it is our common heritage and the apple of our eye. In a statement, the committee said: “The Champagne Committee regrets that this regulation does not provide Russian consumers with clear and transparent information on the origin and characteristics of wines.
She regrets that this new law calls into question more than 20 years of bilateral discussions between France and Russia on the protection of appellations of origin. Barillère and Toubart have asked the Champagne companies to stop all shipments to Russia until further notice, and big producers like Moët have already threatened to do so.
The Champagne appellation is protected in more than 120 countries thanks to its AOC label, which guarantees specific production methods in a specific geographical area. Sovetskoye Shampanskoye was established in 1928 as a state-sponsored alternative to champagne and, after the collapse of the USSR, received a new lease of life from a number of Russian producers. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has joined the fray, hinting that he could sue Russia for using the Champagne name.
From France Today magazine