The cultural exchange between France and Russia has now extended into the world of cognac as well as the arts. In a three year programme, funded by the both the European Union and the French Government, representatives of the Bureau National Interprofessional du Cognac (BNIC) arrived in Moscow to promote the Appellation of Origin IG Cognac to the Russians.
The whole idea of this is to educate the Russians into the complete cognac experience. The French want to make the Russians aware, not only of the unique delights and history of the drink, but also about other important issues such as the name ‘Cognac’ and who and when it can be used. The BNIC will provide this knowledge to both the professional players in the Russian distilled alcohol market and also to Sommelier schools. This will take the form of various workshops, tasting sessions, training programmes and other activities.
At the official press conference in October, Jerome Durand, Marketing Director of the BNIC, paid special attention to the difference between the drink of Cognac and the various Russian brandies and other distilled drinks.
An issue of great concern is the problem with the large amount of fake cognacs being sold in Russia. In reports from November of this year, it is estimated that around 70% of all ‘cognac’ (actually ‘brandy’) for sale in Russian shops is counterfeit. And not only does this harm the cognac industry, but there is also concern about the actual ingredients in these fake brands and what it does to those who drink them.
However, one big reason for this three year initiative between France and Russia, is to help change all of this. The Russian alcohol watchdog is attempting to come down tough on the counterfeiters, and it also looks as if both ‘Armenian Cognac’ and the Russian ‘Champagne’ – Shampanskoye, could be forced to re-brand. This is a necessary measure in order to respect the fact that both Cognac and Champagne can only be called this if produced in these regions of France.
And this can only be a good thing – for both Charente and Russia.
Sources: moscow.ru, www.ekaterinburg.com, www.independent.co.uk
Pic: www.cdps.hc.edu.tw, sputnikdesignworks.com