Renowned winemaker Moet Hennessy said Monday that its champagne shipments to Russia were suspended after President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Friday saying the term “champagne” is allowed to be used only for “Russian champagne.”
“These provisions lead to a temporary suspension of deliveries of products to assess the impact of this new law,” Moet-Hennessy spokeswoman Anne Catherine Grimal said, according to state news agency RIA-Novosti.
Moet Hennessy is part of French luxury goods group LVMH and known for such brands as Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Dom Perignon.For most aficionados, a sparkling wine can be called champagne only if it comes from the region of France with that name and is made under certain regulations.
Since Soviet times, champagne — “shampanskoye” in Russian — has been used as a generic term for a wide range of sparkling wines, some of which contradict champagne’s luxury image by selling for as little as 150 rubles ($2) a bottle.
The law has sparked controversy: Even the head of one of Russia’s major winemakers thinks the law goes too far.
“For me, there is no doubt that real champagne comes from the Champagne region in France,” Pavel Titov, president of Abrau-Dyurso, told RIA-Novosti. “It is very important to protect Russian wines in our market and provide them with comprehensive patronage. But the legislative measures taken must be reasonable and not contradict common sense.”