Millions of bottles of wine with a special sticker to avoid destruction in Russia

Last July, Russia passed a law impacting the labeling of alcohol on bottles of wine. Millions of bottles could have been destroyed in 2022, but authorities will allow a special sticker to be put on bottles produced before the legislation passed.

Wine bottles
Illustration © Wokandapix

Russian authorities implement a tacit moratorium until March 1 to adapt a new legislation about alcohol labeling, Vedomosti reports. Some bottles would be allowed to bear a special sticker and avoid destruction.

In July, Russia applied some changes in naming and labeling alcohol products, in an attempt to support Russian producers. For instance, bottles of champagne, produced in France, need to add the designation “sparkling wine” at the back of bottles, reducing differences with homegrown sparkling wine.

Russia produced more than 110 million liters of sparkling wine in 2021 and the Agriculture Ministry pointed out that “domestic and international experts noted significant improvement in the quality of Russian wine products” in recent years.

Producers of Shampanskoye, the Russian champagne, can use the term alone under the new legislation according to Reuters.

The law came into force with immediate effect, causing the suspension of imports of champagne from Moet Hennessy so that the company could adapt its bottles.

Not all bottles bought before the law have been sold

In Russia, the industry asked for a moratorium before authorities verify that products on the shelves comply with the new requirements. It was granted until the end of 2021 in order to give time to adapt to the new regulation.

But in December, they asked for another moratorium. A letter from Simple, a large Russian importer of wine, Beluga Group, the largest Russian alcohol company, and the Association of Retail Trade Companies said that tens of millions of liters of alcohol worth more than 15 billion rubles (US$196 million) could be destroyed on 2022.

In fact, not all the bottles legally produced or imported before the legislation have been sold yet. Some of them are likely among the most premium bottles as they tend to have a longer shelf-life.

As a consequence, bottles that originally met the law would be allowed to bear a special sticker. Authorities would tacitly let until March 1 to apply new stickers. The design is being developed.

Read more about Russia

Federal Law No. 345-FZ of July 2, 2021, Russian portal of legal information, July 2021, Free access

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