30th October, 2012 by Lucy Shaw
The Russian government may set a minimum price for wine due to poor grape harvests in Russia and Europe.
St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. Credit: Izzet Keribar
According to Russian newspaper Izvestia, the move would be made to compensate domestic winemakers for rising grape prices after 2012’s below par harvest, which has been blighted by drought in Spain, Portugal and Italy.
The Russian Union of Wine Growers and Winemakers has sent a request to the Federal Service for Alcohol Market Regulation to set the minimum retail price of a 70cl bottle at 110 rubles (£2.82).
“The factory minimum selling price for a standard 70cl bottle of wine should be 75-80 rubles.
“In the retail sector, this would be at least 110 rubles,” union president Leonid Popovich told Izvestia.
“These calculations take into account a considerable increase in the prices of wines and wine ingredients due to the bad harvests in Russia and Europe.
“Wine prices should be reviewed every year, depending on the harvest and the world market situation, because many wines in Russia are produced from grapes imported from Italy, Spain, France, Argentina and Chile,” Popovich added.
The Federal Service for Alcohol Market Regulation confirmed it had received the calculations and was studying them.
“A resolution on minimum wine pricing is in the working,” the regulator said.
Russia introduced minimum vodka prices in January 2010 in a bid to fight counterfeit alcohol production and tackle alcoholism in the country.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, alcoholism has been on the rise in Russia triggering a falling age of death in men that has only recently begun to reverse.
Alcohol consumption in Russia is currently more than double the critical level set by the World Health Organisation.