French winemaker Lacaren: Ukraine destroys small producers and competition

Author : Fedir Popadiuk

Respondent : Christophe Lacaren

Source : 112 Ukraine

About a week ago, the unknown people took the bulldozer and destroyed the vineyards of the French winemaker Christophe Lacaren, situated in Shabo, Odesa region
21:13, 6 December 2016

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November 25 in the morning, a bulldozer drove into the territory of the field and in three different locations uprooted the vines. The family of French winemaker called the police and made the report.

As it turned out, these were three shareholders. Winemaker connects their actions with the desire of businessmen to build up the unknown land for vineyards. According to him, the land is leased since 2007 for 15 years.

This is not the first time that Lacaren was trying to prevent - at the beginning of the year he has already survived a raid of the tax, accusing him of illegal manufacture and sale of alcohol.

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Recently, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a law that cancels the license for wholesale of wine for a small business. But small-scale from this was not much easier. First, to obtain all necessary licenses, you need to go through this bureaucratic hell, spend more than one month and not get around one agency. Second, the increased attention of the tax, to small producers, who are trying to get into the legal plane, only aggravate the situation and make wine not the most attractive thing.

Please, tell us what happened to your vineyards?

In three different locations, three different shareholders dug and uprooted our vineyards, which I bought at the competition. And this is terrible, because these are very high-quality vineyards. Of course, I can plant them again, but in order to achieve the necessary "terroir" results, you need to wait for 15 years.

Did you ever have some problems with the taxes?

Today State Fiscal Service carries out strict control. Control is normal. And, thank God, in this time, when we came to the State Fiscal Service everything happened without the "mask show".

How to solve your problem with the license for the production of wine?

When Mikhail Saakashvili was a governor, he helped me to get a manufacture’s license. We tried to do it in January, February, March, and only April 4 issue with the excise and license resolved.

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I also need a license for work, on the production of wine materials for the production of wine, wine bottling, and one more thing: when you want to sell in a restaurant or shop, you need a license even for a million hryvnia for wholesale.

What I was paying official? The license for the processing of grapes and license to bottle the wine. And last week I was told that my license is incomplete, that I have, they say, there is no license for raw wine and bottling. How can I have a license to sell, if there is no license for bottling? Everything that is happening is nonsense, surrealism.

When I came to Belgorod-Dnistrovsky region, I asked what it takes to register a trademark. I asked for a license, I gave her, and I was told that it was not necessary to register anything. My big risk now - this is a big administrative fine, and then I blame myself.

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What was the outcome of your efforts to obtain a license for the production of sparkling and sparkling wines?

It was in September this year. Because there is another process and other technology, I asked the officials what I need for this. I was told that to get the excise tax on the production of champagne and sparkling wine. Also they told me to go to the Chamber of Commerce, and to do code-product, which I also did. Then I came to Tairovsky Institute and brought my production for technology assessment. When I came back the second time, I was told that I am a criminal, because I  made this wine without a license! It is surrealism back again!

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How can you explain such an attitude to you?

This is a monopoly. Small and medium-sized businesses do not develop. Ukraine does not change. The government is talking about reforms to attract more funds from Europe and America, but there is no real change.

Did the cancelation of the license for wholesale of wine, adopted at the end of September, help you?

Thanks to the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada. It all started with the fact that last year, November 20, I organized a presentation of my new wine for the guests of Odesa. There were 25 people, who tasted our wine.

At the end of the evening, two of them who asked me if they can buy three bottles of wine. I said no, you can try only. In the end I just gave three bottles. The next day, the special monitoring and verification service came to me, and the only reason of this check was these three bottles. Once again, I got to the provocation.

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This is the Soviet era. Decommunization is not only to break Lenin's monument. Decommunization is to cancel the old unnecessary bureaucratic procedures and the “old” way of thinking. It is important.

If Ukraine wants to move forward and raise the average standard of living of people, you need to get rid of unnecessary papers for medium and small businesses. Because small and medium business is able to increase the number of jobs.

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