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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Champagne or Shampanskoe?: Of France and Russia’s tussle over a name

Russia, the United States and Haiti are the only nations that have never recognised the word "champagne" despite 20 years of discussions, according to reports

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
November 18, 2021 4:30:14 pm
champagneRussia, the United States and Haiti are the only nations that have never recognised the word "champagne" despite twenty years of discussions (Source: Pixabay)

France and Russia have been in a fight over which of the two nations get to call the champagne so, ever since France’s champagne group laid down a new Russian law in July this year that forces foreign producers to add a “sparkling wine” reference to their bottles of champagne.

According to a Reuters report, the law also called for the halting of exports of the bubbly drink to Russia.

In the wake of the same, France’s Trade Minister Franck Riester on Wednesday said that he was “quite optimistic” that a resolution could be found to the dispute with Russia over labelling champagne bottles, AFP reported.

“We continue to discuss with the Russian authorities at European level and French level because we think we can convince them that they have the interest to be part of the fight to protect geographical indication,” he told reporters.

Calling the drink “a symbol for France”, he added, “I think that Russia could share with us the importance of geographic indications. And so I’m quite optimistic for the future.”

French winegrowers guard the right to use the term “champagne” while the Russian word for champagne is “shampanskoye”. The law, which was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, allows the makers of Russian “shampanskoye” to continue to use that term alone.

In October, Russia agreed to delay implementing the contested law and acceded to a two-month moratorium, until December 31. However, Riester had said that they were “determined to move the issue forward definitively during this opening period of work”.

According to AFP, Russia is the 15th biggest export market for French champagne, with 1.8 million bottles sold in the country in 2019. Russia, the United States and Haiti are the only nations that have never recognised the word “champagne” despite 20 years of discussions.

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