Please note that this is a spoof, and you must read to the end to get the point
On Tuesday of this week Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law declaring that in Russia only shampanskoye is to be labeled as Champagne, and all other bubblies sold in Russia are merely sparkling wine. “The big name Champagne houses have been passing off inferior bubbles for years, I am the only world leader willing to call them out.” In his press release Putin called out the big name Champagne houses as lowering quality standards for years in an effort to squeeze extraordinary profits from unwitting consumers . “They are duping label conscious customers into believing that a a luxury good can actually be sold on grocery store end-caps,” Putin declared. Further adding, “American consumers may be fooled, but in Russia we believe in authenticity.”
When first announced the Champagne producers stated in protest that they would no longer ship Champagne to Russia. Then on Thursday Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) reversed course and said they would comply with Russian requirements that their back labels designate their products as “sparkling wine.” LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault, chairman of Moët Hennessy and Veuve Clicquot, who coincidentally was declared the worlds richest man on the same day, has yet to comment. However sources close to him have privately confided that a drop in LVMH stock would put him in danger of falling into second place as the world’s wealthiest man, he quickly remembered that there is no room for principle in the luxury goods game.
Other countries producing sparkling wines, particularly producers of Spanish Cava and Italian Prosecco, applaud the move by Putin. “It is about time that we are recognized for our quality as being just as good as the big brand Champagnes” they released in a joint statement. “For too long we have employed just as much technology and intensive farming practices to see our wines sold for a fraction of the profit of big name Champagnes.” At a private celebration held after the announcement, representatives sipped on Argentinian Espumante and discussed changes to labeling laws that would soon allow them to bottle such wines as their own.
American officials have remained quiet on this potentially volatile issue. Some insiders suggest Russian cyberterrorists have blocked the TTB, the US regulatory agency overseeing alcohol, from making any statements. However, the state of Michigan did declare they do not care what the back label, or the Supreme Court says, only retailers in their state will be able to sell shampanskoye to Michigonians.
Only time will tell where this potentially volatile conflict will end. There are only three things we know for certain. 1) Almost all of this is post is a spoof to demonstrate the absurdity of the actual Russian declaration, dismissing over 100 years of an international commerce agreement 2) You cannot buy good Champagne in grocery stores. Most are produced by publicly traded companies, or private equity firms, who will always put high profit over quality. What you probably think is “good” is just a widget produced by a big machine. 3) Expect this blog to occasionally be pointed at much of the silliness that the wine industry and regulators accept as status quo.