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Putin: Only Russia makes champagne, other just make sparkling wine

Christian Fernsby |
The Kremlin passed a law stating that only Russian-produced wine can be sold as champagne.

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French products must now be advertised as 'sparkling wine' according to the law which was approved by President Vladimir Putin.

The French champagne maker Moet Hennessy said it would add the 'sparkling wine' designation to bottles headed for Russia to comply with the law, but was forced to suspend deliveries to make the change.

'The MH Champagne Maisons have always respected the legislation in force wherever they operate, and will resume deliveries as quickly as possible once these adjustments are made,' it said.

Co-presidents of the French Champagne group, Maxime Toubart and Jean-Marie Barillere, called on its members to halt all shipments to Russia for the time being.

They said that the Champagne name, which refers to the region in France where French Champagne comes from, had legal protection in 120 countries.

"The Champagne Committee deplores the fact that this legislation does not ensure that Russian consumers have clear and transparent information about the origins and characteristics of wine," it said, adding the law undermined two decades of talks between Russia and the European Union.

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