A new law will upend winemaking in Russia

Igor Serdyuk looks at the likely impact of the new Russian wine law, which goes into effect later this year.

Saint Basil's Cathedral, Moscow,Photo by Anastasiya Romanova on Unsplash
Saint Basil's Cathedral, Moscow, Photo by Anastasiya Romanova on Unsplash

For the first time in its history, Russia now has a federal wine law. 

After nearly a decade of heated discussions, the Law on Viticulture and Wine in Russian Federation (Federal Law No 815115-7), was approved by the Russian Parliament. It was signed by President Vladimir Putin and officially published on December 28. It goes into effect in June 2020. 

“The very fact that we now have a special law on wine is the most important,” says Leonid Popovich, president of the Russian Vintners and Winemakers Union. “The Russian wine industry had grown to the size when it really needed such a law. It is an important signal for investors.”

The law has created new definitions of wine, terroir and bulk wine, as well as new categories like “grape-containing drinks”, which will lead to significant changes to the Russian wine market, analysts predict.

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