PARIS: France's champagne industry group blasted on Monday (Jul 5) a new Russian law forcing foreign champagne producers to add a "sparkling wine" reference to the back of their bottles.
The "Comite Champagne" (Champagne Committee) added in a statement that it was also calling on French and European Union diplomats to get the law changed.
The law, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, requires all foreign producers of sparkling wine to describe their product as such on the label on the back of the bottle - though not on the front.
Makers of Russian "shampanskoye" may continue to use that term alone.
Co-presidents of the French Champagne group, Maxime Toubart and Jean-Marie Barillere, called on its members to halt all shipments to Russia for the time being.
They said that the Champagne name, which refers to the region in France where French Champagne comes from, had legal protection in 120 countries.
"The Champagne Committee deplores the fact that this legislation does not ensure that Russian consumers have clear and transparent information about the origins and characteristics of wine," it said, adding the law undermined two decades of talks between Russia and the European Union.