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Russia Suspends Champagne Label Law Until Year-End

Russia has agreed to suspend until 31 December a new law that forces French champagne makers to label their bottles as sparkling wine, French deputy trade minister Franck Riester has said.

"After many discussions, Russia is establishing a moratorium on the implementation of its wine law until 31 December. We will continue our efforts to protect our exporters in the long term," Riester said on Twitter.

The law required foreign producers of sparkling wine to describe their product as such in Cyrillic characters on the back of the bottle - though not on the front, where they can use the term champagne. Makers of Russian "shampanskoye" may continue to use that term alone.

The law led the French government to threaten action at the World Trade Organisation.

Champagne Producers Welcome Decision

Champagne producers welcomed Russia's decision to suspend its new wine law.

Champagne industry group CIVC said in an emailed statement it was monitoring further talks between Russia and France by the end of the year for a full recognition of the Champagne appellation in Russia.

CIVC had asked its producers to boycott Russia following the introduction of the law in July but producers said last month they had decided to resume exports.

In September, the top European Union court backed French champagne makers who had argued that their protection under EU law should extend far beyond banning rival sparkling wine producers from putting the word 'champagne' on their bottles.

Read More: Champagne Sales Set To Reach Four-Year High This Year

News by Reuters, edited by ESM. For more Drinks news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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