The French government may take Russia to the World Trade Organization WTO over champagne. As a result, Moscow is forcing French champagne producers to add the term “sparkling wine” to labels.
This applies to bottles sold in Russia. However, Russian producers of the local version of champagne, ‘shampanskoye’, don’t have to.
According to French producers, the term champagne can only be used for the bubbles that come from the region of the same name. Thus, the Russian rules would favour winemakers from that country over the French drink.
France will study the Russian rules more closely but does not rule out taking action, the French foreign minister said. “If it turns out that there is a violation of WTO rules, we will intervene,” said Jean-Yves Le Drian. However, the minister hopes to be able to resolve this in talks with the Russians.
The WTO has mechanisms to resolve trade disputes between countries.