Real champagne must meet a long list of conditions. The right grape is the right method of production but above all: it must come from the French region of the same name. At least that’s what the Official Association of Champagne Producers heralds. And many countries, including the Netherlands, accept this claim.
Russia does not. Since Friday, all non-Russian champagne in the country should be classified as “sparkling wine”. The Russian-made “shampoo” may still be called champagne.
Producer Moët Hennessy has already announced that he will modify the labels, but the Champagne Producers Association isn’t leaving it at that. It wants to stop exports to Russia. The people of Champaign are asking France and Europe to do everything in their power to amend this unacceptable law.
The exclusivity of the drink has a lot of weight. And it is precisely this uniqueness that is difficult to find in the Russian variant, certainly in the past. Once upon a time, before the Russian Revolution, Russian aristocrats produced champagne in the traditional way. Due to the complex manufacturing process, this was still done on a small scale. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin did not like the latter at all: the proletariat also had the right to drink champagne.
So ‘sovietskoye champanskoye’ (Soviet champagne) was created. It was cheaper, easier to make, a lot sweeter, and, according to experts, much lower quality.
Some production of shampoo is now in the hands of close associates of Vladimir Putin, which may explain the reason for Russian law. In addition, wine is partially produced in the Crimea, annexed by Russia. The area and sector there can use a helping hand. Then there is the diplomatic aspect: the law is a provocation against France. Only Putin knows what weighs most in the end.