It’s called the Champagne war and it’s getting bubblier by the day. The official French Champagne industry put a ban on shipments to Russia in July when Vladimir Putin made it law that the word champagne in Russian can only be used for Russian sparkling wines.
Since then, all Russian sparkling wines have been called “shampanskoye”, giving the Champagne producers in France headaches. French Champagne producers are still allowed to use the Latin characters for Champagne on their front labels, but the bottles must also include the words “sparkling wine” in Cyrillic characters on the back label.
News24 reports that Russia ranks as the 15th biggest market by value for French Champagne producers, according to data. The market is worth about €35 million (R588 million), compared with more than half a billion euros for the US, the top export market.
On 15 September, a lobby group representing the French Champagne industry decided to lift the ban and start exporting their Champagne to Russian again.
The co-head of the Comité Interprofessional du Vin de Champagne, Jean-Marie Barillè made it clear that even though they’ll abide by the Russian law, they’re not giving up the fight.
“We’ve decided to invest in a diplomacy to find a solution. The fight is far from over, and it might be a long one.”
Image credit: France24