Champagne producers suspend sales in Russia after Putin law declares foreign fizz can only be sold as sparkling wine

Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a glass of champagne during a ceremony of presenting ambassador's credentials in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.
Only wine produced in Russia will be sold as champagne under the Kremlin's new law. Credit: PA

French champagne producers are being forced to rebrand their prized fizz "sparkling wine" on bottles destined for Russia following the introduction of a new law brought in by President Vladimir Putin.

Moët Hennessy, which sells the Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Dom Perignon champagnes, said it had been forced to suspend deliveries while it rebrands its bottles after the Kremlin adopted legislation stipulating that the word "champagne" can only be applied to wine produced in Russia.

The law means wine made in France's Champagne region can only be sold in Russia if it is called "sparkling wine".

French winemakers are fiercely protective of the term "champagne". While sparkling wines are produced worldwide, the designation champagne is reserved in exclusively for sparkling wines from the Champagne region, made in accordance with the governing body Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne regulations.

A bucket of Moet champagne at the 2017 Golden Globes. Credit: AP

But Putin's champagne law requires all non-Russian producers of sparkling wine, including the French, to describe their product as such on the label on the back of the bottle.

Only makers of Russian "shampanskoye" can continue to use that term.

"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," Moët Hennessy said in an emailed statement.