French Champagne producers plan to resume shipments to Russia despite their opposition to local rules on labeling the sparkling wine, according to Agence-France Presse.
The lobby representing the French Champagne industry voted to lift the suspension starting Sept. 15, AFP reported Saturday, citing a co-head of the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne. Jean-Marie Barillère said the move is a “peace offering” and French producers would respect the law.
The decision comes even though Russia hasn’t indicated it’ll reverse granting exclusive rights to the term “Shampanskoe” -- Russian for Champagne -- for locally-made bottles of bubbly. The law that took effect in early July angered French Champagne producers, who are notoriously protective of the designation rooted in the geographic area where the grapes are grown.
Read more: Dom Perignon Exports to Russia Halted Amid Labeling Flap
The CIVC lobby, whose motto is ‘Champagne only comes from Champagne, France,’ had expressed outrage at the Russian legislation. At least 95% of producers obeyed the boycott, AFP reported.
Luxury giant LVMH’s Moet Hennessy was among them, halting shipments of brands including Dom Perignon, Ruinart, Moet & Chandon and Krug.
Calls made to CIVC by Bloomberg News went unanswered outside of normal business hours.
Under the Russian rule, French producers are still allowed to use the Latin characters of Champagne on the main label. But those bottles must now also say “sparkling wine” in Cyrillic characters on the back.
The French government expressed opposition to the Russian law, with Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian saying he would consider raising the issue at the World Trade Organization. The European Commission also said it was evaluating whether the law infringes Russia’s commitments to the WTO.
The Champagne industry favors diplomacy and would prefer not to go to the WTO, according to the AFP report.
Russia ranks as the 15th biggest market in value for French Champagne producers, according to CIVC data from last year. The market is worth about 35 million euros ($41 million), compared with more than half a billion euros for the U.S., the top export market.
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