MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian winemaker Abrau-Durso said a new law requiring bottles of French champagne and other foreign fizz to have a reference to “sparkling wine” on the bottle would do little to spur on sales of Russia’s “shampanskoye”.
President Vladimir Putin, in the latest step to protect Russian products, signed a law on Friday requiring all foreign makes of sparkling wines to use that description on the back of their bottles, although labels on the front can stay the same.
The law, which aims to protect “shampanskoye” by giving it a unique status and exempting it from the rule, has sparked outcry in France, which jealously guards “champagne” produced from its Champagne region as a unique product that differs from anything made in other French regions or the rest of the world.
Pavel Titov, the president of Abrau-Durso and co-owner with his father, told Reuters that he did not believe the new law would change the level of competition in Russia’s market.
“We are in completely different price segments – imported French champagne is many times more expensive,” he said.
Shares in Abrau-Durso, which last year renamed its “Russkoye shampanskoye” brand “Russkoye igristoe”, or Russian sparkling, were trading up 0.5% on the day on Tuesday and at one point almost 9% up since the start of the week.
Abrau-Durso exports its wines to 24 countries but not France, Titov said.
Titov had told French media on Saturday he hoped the issue, which led some in the French champagne industry to urge producers to halt shipments to Russia, would be resolved in favour of global norms and standards.
Some French champagne producers have said they would comply with the law to keep access to Russia’s market.
(This story fixes punctuation in the headline)
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