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Russia may set minimum price for wines

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Moscow : The Russian government may set minimum prices for wines to compensate domestic winemakers for rising world prices due to poor grape harvests in Russia and Europe, according to a media report.

The Russian union of wine-growers and wine-makers has sent a request to the Federal Service for Alcohol Market Regulation to set minimum retail price of a 0.7-litre bottle at 110 rubles ($3.50), reported Izvestia daily Monday.

“We believe the factory minimum selling price for a standard bottle of wine (0.7 liters) should be 75-80 rubles. In the retail sector, this would be at least 110 rubles,” said Wine-Growers and Wine-Makers Union President Leonid Popovich.

“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.

“Minimum 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, Chile and other countries,” Popovich said.

The alcohol regulator confirmed having received expert calculations and was currently studying them.

“A resolution on minimum wine prices is in the working but it is difficult to tell when it is ready,” the regulator said.

Russia introduced minimum vodka prices from Jan 1, 2010 to fight counterfeit alcohol production and tackle rising alcoholism.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, modern Russia has been gripped by a an epidemic of alcoholism triggering a falling age of death in older men which has only recently begun to reverse.

Alcohol consumption in Russia is more than double the critical level set by the World Health Organisation.