Champagne wars! France and Russia in furious spat as Putin backed into corner

France to resume champagne exports to Russia reveals expert

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Russia has agreed to a two-month moratorium on the implementation of its new viticulture and winemaking law. The law forbids the use of the Russian word for champagne – “Shampanskoe” – on imported bottles.

French trade body Comité Champagne proudly boasts: “Il n’est Champagne que de la Champagne” (Champagne is the only Champagne).

But not if Russia has anything to do with it.

Russia intends to reserve the word “Shampanskoe” for sparkling wine made from grapes grown in Russia.

It hopes the move will help to protect domestic businesses from import competition.

French producers say the name should only be used for sparkling wine made in its Champagne region.

Franck Riester, France’s minister for foreign trade and investment, took to Twitter to celebrate the “good news” that a moratorium has been granted by Russia.

But he highlighted that the war is not over yet.

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The moratorium – lasting until December 31 – buys France more time to engage in negotiations with Russia.

It will also be well received by French producers of sparkling wine which will now be able to export bottles with “Shampanskoe” on their labels ahead of the busy Christmas and New Year period.

But France would prefer to achieve a more long-term settlement in this case.

“We will continue our efforts to protect our exporters in the long term,” said Mr Riester.

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In a separate statement, he said the moratorium “doesn’t resolve everything and we are determined to make permanent progress during the period in front of us”.

Champagne is not the only drink covered by Russia’s new law, but is certainly the most controversial.

France’s Interprofessional Champagne Wines Committee initially asked producers to boycott Russia in response to the law, but trade resumed when talks were taken up by the two countries.

The name Champagne is protected in 121 countries.

Russia is the 15th biggest export market for French champagne, according to The Moscow Times.

In 2019, 1.8 million bottles were sold in the country.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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