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Sovetskoye Shampanskoye

I saw a small piece about this the other day, the name Sovetskoye Shampanskoyegoes back a long way to time pre revolution when they made a Champagne that beat all the French entries at the 1900 world fair, which must have been upsetting!

The revolution saw the industry swept away and it survived in small enclaves in places like the Crimea and returned as a typical Soviet block cooperative industry with little merit.

Since perestroika the Soviets have advanced and the countries wealth for some as increased hugely so the market for imported Champagne has increased enormously and is now big business.
But so has Sovetskoye Shampanskoye and Russia has declared that all imported Champagnes should be re labelled ‘French Sparkling Wine’ this has naturally created a row with the French producers and the EU with protected status to names like Champagne being sacrosanct.

LVMH the luxury goods conglomerate that owns Moet , Veuve Clicqout and Krug, immediately stopped all exports wanting the order repealed, as usual money talks and with no EU to protect them they have crumbled and will label their Champagne as demanded.
Which begs the question as we have left the EU perhaps we could do the same, after all our product pound for pound is every good as theirs, retires to safe distance and opens bottle…

What comes out of it is not just the rather pointless flexing of Russia’s muscles in this but the craven LVMH where money is concerned.
It was not long ago that the EU and its GIs, Geographical Indicators, ran foul of the US in trade agreements as the US believed they were a form of protectionism, so it is not just Russia that is/was playing games, does it all matter, to a degree, if you cannot tell the difference between Canadian Cheddar and the real thing that is your problem, it does say Canadian, similarly Sovetskoye Shampanskoye perhaps it should have been left at that.

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two questions:

Why would we want to? English Sparkling Wine can easily stand on it’s own two feet in its own right! If anything English sparkling wines need their own PGI status rather than devaluing them by using the champagne name.

What about all of our protected status’ immediately losing their protected status? Sure we’re currently losing billions a month in trade of cheese and other luxury foods to the EU due to the sunlight uplands of the trade deal, but that’ll only get worse if we start this kind of trade war with them. We don’t protect their PGI, they won’t protect ours.

We can’t win a race to the bottom. We have neither the climate nor the space to do so. What we excel(led) at across pretty much every industry is value added produce. To do that we need to maintain this protections, which in turn means we need to work with others to protect their value-adding propositions.

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We could label our wines what we wanted, but considering most of the PGI’s are protected under WTO terms, we’d become international pariahs in any market worth selling in.

I am positive there are people on this board with greater knowledge of international trade agreements, but there’s a reason we haven’t signed any new or innovative trade deals, but have simply rolled over what we had. People around the world generally like order.

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Where did you read this? Russia did make sparkling wine that won a prize in 1900, and they may have called it champagne. But from everything I’ve seen, the name “Sovetskoye Shampanskoye” was coined in 1936, and refers specifically to the industrial sparkling wine that started to be made from the 1920s under Stalin.

The Russian word “soviet” means “council”, and was widely used to refer to revolutionary councils - hence the Soviet Union - so it would be very odd to apply that word to pre-revolutionary wine.

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Novyi Svit was the ‘Champagne’? that won the 1900 prize and Sovetskoye Shampanskoye came into use in 1928, I was using the term in a generic way to describe Russian sparkling wine, technically you are correct but naturally all Russian and Ukrainian references to the place call it Champagne from the start. however erroneous that may be, and with a friend of Putin having purchased the winery, it now has official blessing to be called Champagne.

Sometimes on here I wonder if playing devils advocate is worth the bother, I am merely the messenger of what has happened and hoped it would create a discussion on the subject, without everyone throwing their toys out of the pram, it is something that has happened like it or not and I thought would be of interest, not a vehicle to create a veiled Brexit bashing thread.

The original article Steve was in the Times last week I believe.

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Had some Stalin era Massandra which was still fine in 2007 at about 70 years, the old tyrant also sent Armenian Brandy to Churchill who was a big fan.

There’s always a lot of nationalist muscle flexing when it comes to Russia and the west in trade and elsewhere.

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While I accept my using the phrase “sunlit uplands of a trade deal” was a little facetious, the points made still stand, as does @tannatastic’s on PGI status being protected by the WTO. Rather than address them in discussion you’ve chosen the say we are throwing our toys out of the pram.

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I’ll be blunt and point out just like GB News, the ‘interest in discussion’ goes as far as someone disagreeing, and then when that happens, the discussion has apparently been ‘hijacked’ by a Marxist-Bolshevist-Remain conspiracy.

I’m happy to keep the discussion alive though, in the hope that there’ll be an outbreak of logical thinking…

So what provable benefit would the English fine wine community receive from using the globally-recognised trademark of another competitor?

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You have answered your own question, by recognising that Champagne, is a competitor of ESW. If ESW can ALSO market itself as Champagne - then the great unwashed will buy it at face value. So that is considerable benefit.

The downside of course are the repercussions regarding stern words & pouting from The Élysée Palace

Personally - I feel ESW and Champagne are quite different products, so it isn’t a valid argument. Not sure if that makes me a Marxist-Bolshevist-Remainer or a Rabid-Gammon-Leaver (somewhat to the right of Genghis Khan).

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I’m not sure they would, but if we take as a given they would, the repercussions wouldn’t just be from the French, but it sets a global precedent for anyone to use English/British trademarks and pass those goods off as such. I’m sure that’ll have Farage wailing into his massive new paycheck (actually, let’s be honest, he’d probably welcome it, because a good foreign scapegoat means ££££).

And if there’s no money in producing a quality product, with the associated name, then the end result is a market that races to the bottom, because whilst in a blue-sky, unregulated market everyone is trying their best, in the real, regulated market, most regulation exists to stop the unscrupulous from acting, well, unscrupulously.

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In other words, the benefit would be for producers in helping them deceive consumers.

It would be a pretty strange move seeing as English sparkling wine regularly retails for as much as Champagne (see, for example, Waitrose, where several English sparkling wines are on sale at a higher price than their own brand Champagne).

I’m not sure “knock-off Champagne” is really how ESW should brand itself.

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‘I’m not sure “knock-off Champagne” is really how ESW should brand itself.’

And it shouldn’t need to, certainly the Hattingley 2014 Blanc de Blancs we had yesterday was a match for any champagne, and better than many we’ve had, frankly.

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And that matches my viewpoint exactly. I have several of these


2012 ESW in the garage (mystery producer) - Currently £18 but bought on offer at around £11 ! and they are quite frankly fantastic in their own right.

The aspect I don’t think anyone else has picked up on, is the Russian’s demand that true Champagne be relabled as ‘French Sparkling Wine’ if it was to be sold there. Surprisingly the French producers agreed to this ! which if true, undermines everything. Or maybe the Champagneoise simply needed to offload some rubbish stock.

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Those are the Morrisons ones? Yeah, we’ve had them and completely agree, awesome vfm seems to damn with faint praise, but it beats the pants off any similarly priced supermarket budget champagne

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I go back to the “should there be an English Sparkling Wine PGI or two?” question.

If so where/what should it be? A single PGI for ESW? Separate Kent, Sussex and South West regions? Traditional Method only?

What are people’s thoughts?

Champage referring to the sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region of France has been protected in English law from the mid 1950s – long before the UK joined the EEC/EU.

|The Champagne producers went to law accusing the importer of Spanish sparkling wine labelled as Spanish Champagne as ‘passing off’.

They won.

Although UK has left EU it has kept all the EU laws regarding wine, and even if they were all invalidated, IANAL but I believe English case law would prevent the misuse of ‘Champagne’.

Tho’ I don’t believe any reputable producer of traditional method English Sparkling Wine would want to pretend to be something else.

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My immediate thought is that we should be thinking in terms of PDOs for all your suggestions, rather than PGIs.

Sparkling wine is already covered by a category within the English Wine PDO, and English is a protected name. I think the most sensible addition would be a more specific PDO that is akin to Champagne - loosely-speaking, with Champagne grapes and production methods, including pre-release ageing.

Otherwise, I think PDOs based around counties are pretty pointless. Are Susssx wines really so distinct from Kent for example?

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Completely agreed. Counties are administrative boundaries. It would make more sense to delineate boundaries according to where best quality wines of a certain type are made or their grapes grown I should say. Chardonnay (in particular) from thin soils above chalk is distinctive - it is very long-lived when well made and takes at least 10 years to come round. Grapes from non-calcareous soils tend towards the more short-lived, generous style.

Sussex has both pure chalk and greensand above chalk. Nyetimber has not joined the push for a Sussex PDO - it is reported that they regard their non-Sussex vineyard to be an important part of the blend. It would make more sense to have PDOs such as Downland (chalk), Wealden (other above chalk), etc. The names are up to you, but a pattern of wine types from these different locations seems to be emerging.

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A fair question, however I cant really see any purpose in a PGI / PGO - Unless it will drive up quality. In which case a technical designation (like méthode champenoise - Anglicised ) would be more useful ?

As a cautionary note: The Scotch Whisky Association are coming in for criticism for their heavy handed regulation of that industry. I wouldn’t want that to happen with ESW.

Definitely not a geographical / geological designation. While the UK wine map is still developing (including Wales, even Yorkshire) it would be foolish to permanently relegate swathes of the country just because they don’t fit the designated areas.

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The one answer to that - given that the English wine industry (in reality, rather than through historical quirk) is centuries behind it’s continental brothers - is to adopt a layered system similar to that that the French practiced for years.

Whilst I agree that there needs to be a period of allowing things to develop without too much constraint, I also think that eventually a system similar to the VDP-VDQS-AOP tiers would be a great way for English wine to push on a bit. The French have done away with the middle tier, which was effectively an AOC-in-waiting, but not until it had served it’s purpose for 60+ years. In that way, rather than wine regions being left behind, they have a system in which they can aspire to, and work towards, elevation.

I found @Ghost-of-Mr-Tallis suggestion closest to what we’ll probably end up with. Although, I don’t know how Camel Valley would fit into that (IMHO, and with my limited experience, England’s best winemaker), I think Méthode Celtiquaise has a certain ring to it :smiley:

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