Will it still be possible to drink champagne in Russia? The hatchet is whoever is well and truly unearthed between the French producers and the Kremlin. It remains to be seen whether LVMH will give substance to its threats to stop its deliveries of champagne in response to the signing of a new law on this drink on Friday by President Vladimir Putin.
In question, a provision which provides that henceforth only sparkling wines from Russia will be able to use the word “champagne”, while real French champagne should take the name “sparkling wine”. The Russian subsidiary of the French luxury group, which produces the famous Moët et Chandon, Veuve Cliquot and even Dom Perignon, has therefore warned its local partners that it is suspending its deliveries to the country.
LVMH speaks of a “temporary” measure
“I can confirm that I received a letter of this type, and it is justified,” said Leonid Rafailov, managing director of AST, one of the main distributors of wines and spirits in Russia. For his part, Sébastien Vilmot, director for Russia of Moët Hennessy, the spirits subsidiary of LVMH, declined to comment. But in a statement made public via Leonid Rafailov, the French group assured that this suspension was a “temporary” measure, the time to find the appropriate solution.
Controlled designation of origin, the term “champagne” is jealously defended by France, which recalls that the wine must come from a specific perimeter in the region of the same name to be entitled to use it.
The objective of the parliament in question
However, such a decision should not cause a real earthquake in the spirits market believes Vadim Drobiz, specialist in this market, who reminds that LVMH has a fairly small share in Russia and customers will always be able to find a high-end alternative solution.
An opinion that Anna Chernyshova, consultant on the wine market, does not share, however. “My phone keeps ringing, my customers are trying to see what they can do,” explains the one, one of whose activities is to help customers build cellars of exceptional bottles. “How are they going to back down? Many politicians like these champagnes, ”she explains. With this new law, Anna Chernyshova wonders above all about the objective of the Russian Parliament.