The “champagne war” leaves the Russian oligarchs facing a shortage of French bubbles
Russian oligarchs face a shortage of champagne, after French producers temporarily cut off supplies to the country due to a new law that will require them to label their drinks as “sparkling wine”.
Last week, President Vladimir Putin signed a law stating that only wine produced in Russia can be labeled “champagne,” while foreign manufacturers are expected to rename their luxury goods.
Neither the president nor the parliament have explained why Russia needs such a law.
The appellation “champagne” is protected by strict standards in France, which stipulate that the wine must come from a small region of the Champagne region, be made with approved grape varieties and mature for at least 15 months.
Moet Hennessy, which produces drinks such as Moet & Chandon, Dom Perignon and Veuve Clicquot, told his partners in Russia he should stop distribution.
In a letter to local businesses, Moet Hennesy, part of the French luxury goods group LVMH, said stocks of his champagnes would therefore be at an “extremely low level”, exacerbated by a larger drop in imports over 2021 .
The company later told Bloomberg that it would add a “sparkling wine” label to the back label of its bottles and resume deliveries once these changes are made.
Olga Sokolova, sales manager at Vinicom, which imports and distributes foreign wine in Russia, denounced the situation as absurd by sharing Moet Hennessy’s letter on social media.
“It seems to be wrong, but it’s true,” she said. “As of today, black is now white and white is black.”