Some of the wines may disappear from store shelves immediately after the New Year

Some wine products may disappear from stores from January 1. Representatives of several wine companies told Vedomosti about it. According to them, this is due to the fact that the authorities have decided not to extend the moratorium on 345-FZ, which amended the law on the regulation of the alcohol market. A representative of the Ministry of Finance redirected Vedomosti to the Ministry of Agriculture. A spokesman for the agency confirmed: “Currently, the issue of extending the current moratorium in the department is not considered.”

The amendments themselves were signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 2, 2021. They introduced a new classification of wine products into the Alcohol Market Regulation Act (171-FZ) (previously it was enshrined in a special law on winemaking). For example, some beverages that were previously labeled as “table wine” or “liqueur wine” should now be labeled as “wine” and “fortified (liqueur) wine” respectively. Importers also used the term “wines with a protected geographical indication” for foreign products instead of geographical indications adopted in the country of origin (and under the new law they should be applied). Thus, most of the goods required a change of name on the counter label and the adoption of new declarations of conformity. There was no transition period, and by law, products released under the old rules must be considered counterfeit and destroyed. In this regard, the government by December 31 abolished control and supervision over the implementation of the new rules, as well as introduced a simplified certification procedure.

“The situation with the end of the moratorium is alarming throughout the industry,” said Maxim Kashirin, president of one of the largest wine importers, Simple Group. According to him, many products that were imported and produced according to the old classification and with the old declarations of conformity are still in circulation. It turns out that from January 1, 2022, their status has not been determined. Such products are not dangerous for the consumer, they have paid excise and customs duties, but under the law on winemaking, it can be considered counterfeit and confiscated from the market for further disposal, explains Kashirin. According to him, this could threaten the shortage of legal wine on store shelves, financial losses to businesses and, as a result, the growth of the shadow market.

Fort Wine has already received new declarations of conformity for 85% of its products, says its CEO Alexander Lipilin. We are talking primarily about the goods that account for the main sales – prosecco, champagne and most still wines. But the rest of the range will have to give up, he said. According to Lipilin, registration of declarations after the moratorium will take 1.5-2.5 months (instead of two weeks under the simplified procedure).

As for Russian production, the main questions arose in connection with the inconsistency of the old GOSTs of the new classification, recalls the director general of the self-regulatory organization “Wine Union” Boris Katrukhin. But the standards for most of the products have already been adjusted – cognac, wine, sparkling wine. At the same time, Dosta is still unchanged for wine drinks (they are made using wine and additives) and these products from January 1 may be outlawed, warns Katrukhin. He reminds that the production of such drinks has been significantly reduced since 2020 due to the increase in excise taxes. In January – November, they were released in the amount of 5, $ 8 million, which is 40% less year on year and 4 times less than in the same period in 2019, according to the Center for Research of Federal and Regional Alcohol Markets (CIFRRA). Some of these products have been transferred to the category of soft drinks, Katrukhin explains.

According to the head of the Wine Retail information center Alexander Stavtsev, inexpensive (up to 400 rubles.) Imported wines with geographical identifiers (such as Italian IGT, French AOC) are unlikely to suffer after the moratorium: they sell out quickly and in large retail they are remained, then in very small quantities. Leading companies are already applying special programs to monitor the remnants of such goods on the shelves and prevent cheap wines from lingering for more than a year and a half. But the more expensive range, especially premium and collectible wines, can remain on the shelves of wine shops and premium supermarkets for several years. We need additional explanations of how shops should deal with them, Stavtsev said.

Indeed, some companies have already got rid of products that do not comply with the new law. According to the representative of Luding Group, the company promptly changed the labeling in accordance with the new requirements in the summer of 2021, so the inventory of products produced under the old rules, it does not have. The retailer X5 Group, according to its representative, in order to avoid supply problems stopped importing and accepting products with markings and declarations that do not comply with 345-FZ. Therefore, the company does not expect any problems with treatment. Kashirin, in turn, believes that it would help extend the moratorium for at least a year – until January 1, 2023. This, he said, will allow retailers, distributors and importers to sell all stocks of products whose classification has been changed by law.

Director of NUMBERS Vadim Drobiz notes that in January-November 2021 the production of wine products (wines, sparkling wines, wine drinks) in Russia decreased by 15% compared to the same period last year to $ 54.4 million (minus 30% by 2019 year) d.). At the same time imports of still wines in January – October increased by 14% to 23, $ 8 million, sparkling – by 36% to 5, $ 2 million.

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