France’s government said on Tuesday it may refer Russia to the World Trade Organization ( WTO ) over Moscow’s plans to force champagne producers to add the designation “sparkling wine” to their products sold in Russia . Moscow has adopted legislation requiring the “sparkling wine” label be added to bottles of foreign fizz, while Russian producers of the local version, “ shampanskoye ”, do not have to add the label. Some French producers – who assert that only products from France ’s Champagne region should sold as champagne – interpreted the legislation as an effort to benefit Russian winemakers at their expense. Denying the Champenois the right to use the name ‘champagne’ in Cyrillic is scandalous: it is our common heritage and the apple of our eye Champagne Committee Producers from France can still use the word in French, but will also have to write “sparkling wine” in Cyrillic on the back of bottles – a heresy for brands that say nothing on Earth can match their drink. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said during a session of parliament that government was mulling a course of action. The WTO has a mechanism for resolving trade disputes between member states. “We will act in the coming days with Russian authorities, on the bilateral and European level, to defend our producers’ interests and above all the interests of our geographical indications,” Le Drian said. “If there are more blatant violations of the World Trade Organization rules, then we will move ahead, as we have already considered doing with Russia,” he said. “I hope that dialogue will allow us to resolve this problem.” “Denying the Champenois the right to use the name ‘champagne’ in Cyrillic is scandalous: it is our common heritage and the apple of our eye,” Maxime Toubart and Jean-Marie Barillere, co-presidents of France’s Champagne Committee, said in a statement. The committee, which groups grape growers and producers in France’s Champagne region, called on diplomats to push for a change of the “unacceptable law”, and urged members to halt all shipments to Russia until further notice. How a peace forum in China became an international war of words It railed against Russia for not informing producers in advance of the change and said it is “determined to pursue discussions with the Russian authorities to obtain the exclusive right to the champagne name”. Though Russia may not be the world’s biggest champagne market – it ranks 15th in terms of the number of champagne bottles it imports – it’s an important one because Russians tend to buy expensive bottles. Launched in 1937 under Joseph Stalin, the “Sovetskoye Shampanskoye” brand aimed to make the elite bourgeois drink acceptable for the proletariat. It was produced en masse and sold at affordable prices, but was recognised as being pale imitation of the French product. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the shampanskoye label persisted, which began to pose problems for Russia, especially after it joined the WTO in 2012. According to the association of Russian makers of sparkling wines, total output can reach 220 million bottles per year, the bulk of which use a very different production method from the one used in France. Moet Hennessy, owned by the French luxury conglomerate LVMH, already said on Sunday that it would comply with the law and would resume exports of its brands, including Dom Perignon, Moet & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot, “as soon as possible”.