WorldWine News


Russia: Wine press under fire

The Russian governent which some months ago had already prohibited nearly every form of advertising alcoholic beverages, wine included, has just issued even more radical restraints. With the beginning of next year any reference to particular wines or brands in the media will be prohibited, if you believe an article published by "The Moscow Times" quoted by Writing about wine in general will still be allowed but not writing about individual producers or labels. This could very well mean the end for the entire wine press in Russia, even if Russian wine writers tend to interpret the provision in a less dramatical way.

Eleonora Scholes, one of the best known Russian authors, has let us know upon our request that "... advertising is allowed in printed media which is distributed in the points of sale (shops, restaurants). There are very few specialised publications anyway, and they were traditionally distributed through these channels, so they will survive".

Yet, for some wine exporting nations, especially those which have registered and boasted themselves of increased shipments in the recent past, their engagement on the Russion market could come under serious challenge. If no ads can be published any more outside the very specialized press, if any reference to individual brands is prohibited, the entire system of wine communication could fail. An alternative could be the participation at fairs and wine shows which still seem to draw sufficient attention from the general public.

If, however, the complete wine market should shrink as a consequence of these new measures, even such engagements and investments could turn useless and a wast of money. Once again, it looks like if countries with less developed democracies and market traditions could become a pretty unreliable clientele whenever it suits their governments ... for whatever reason. This might even become true for one of the one of the booming markets of these days, China, if one day its economic growth should substantially slow down and the more market oriented executives be exchanged against more dogmatical and backwards oriented ones.

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