December 19, 2015
Translated from Russian for Fort Russ by Kristina Rus
By Sergey Gavrilenko
One of the mandatory conditions of the EU Association agreement is substitution of patented terms “cognac” and “champagne” in the names of products, produced in Ukraine.
To be eligible to be called “cognac”, the beverage must meet the following basic requirements:
1. The grapes for this beverage must be grown and the beverage itself must be produced in a certain region around the town of Cognac, divided into six sections.
2. Only certain varieties of white grapes can be used – Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche, Colombard, Semillion, Blanc Rame.
3. A regulated process of wine making must be followed in cognac production.
4. The production process must include certain operations, including double distillation inside “alambic charentais”, which must begin before November 15 and end no later than March 31 of the following year, and aged in oak barrels for at least 30 months.
5. To improve the color of the beverage caramel or tincture of hydroalcoholic solution on oak chips must be used constituting less than 2% of the total volume of the beverage.
6. The beverage must be least 40% proof.
7. The beverage must be classified by certain categories depending on aging.
Taking into account the first item you can be sure that Ukrainian cognac is doomed. What was produced in Ukraine, was intended exclusively for the domestic market. Over the next few years, these labels must be replaced even for the use on the territory of Ukraine. Rebranding will affect almost all Ukrainian producers. The word “cognac” will have to be removed not only from the label, but also from the name of the enterprise, which leads to enormous costs for re-registration of statutory documents and permits, renegotiation of thousands of agreements, changing signs, and more.
Given the fact that Ukraine will enter the legal field of the European Union due to signing the association agreement, – any mistake of Ukrainian producers will result in instant penalties. The question of who in Europe will need the “alcoholic drink based on brandy alcohol” or “sparkling wine product” is not even worth asking. No one will want it there.
Problems of distillery businesses, which arose from the signing of the Association agreement – it’s not even a top, but a small snowflake on the tip of the iceberg. Recently, the Cabinet of ministers has cancelled the state standards, but … instead of cancelled standards, Ukrainian producers primarily of food products now have to be certified according to European standards. This means that if the EU doesn’t have standards for “Doctor” kielbasa, for example, then Ukraine will cease to produce it. And this applies to the entire spectrum of food products. Passing Euro certification for Ukrainian producers will inevitably entail the death of the domestic market – because the costs of certification will be incorporated in the price of the product and it will not be able to compete in price with cheaper European products. For the same reason Ukrainian products will not be wanted in the EU.
In the end, Ukraine will occupy a niche that was prepared for it by her European ‘partners’ – a raw material accessory, which, moreover, will be as deserted, as the Baltic States.