The wine culture

of Russia

russian wine culture
Russian wine - a long story full of ups and downs similar to joyful life of an ancient couple. It all began in the South Caucasus, which today includes Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. In this regiond vines were demonstrably cultivated 10,000 years ago. Mesopotamia and the region for southeastern Turkey to the Persian Gulf is considered to be the cradle of wine culture. In the course of the following millennia, wine-growing spread throughout the north and has been practised on the coastal strip of the Caspian Sea since the beginning of our calendar. The Russian province of Dagestan is thus the oldest and today the second-largest wine-growing region of this huge country.
At the beginning of the 17th century, vines were planted in vineyards where the Volga flows into the Caspian Sea in order to supply the Tsar's court with local wine. At that time, rulers and nobles imported wine in large quantities mainly from France and Germany.  In 1799, the first Russian sparkling wine was produced in Sudak and Alushta on the Crimean peninsula. Of course exclusively for the Tsar's court in Saint Petersburg. In 1820 Prince Voronzow had a large vineyard built near Yalta.
The nobleman Lew Golizyn founded the Nowy Swet winery in 1878 not far from it. The ambitious prince wanted to produce wines that would stand out in order to compete wuth the best wines from Bordeaux and Champagne. In 1894 Golizyn was commissioned by Nicholas II to build Massandra, the famous Ukrainian state winery. Its purpose was to supply exclusively the palace Liwadija near Yalta, which also was the tsars summer residence, with wine and Crimean sparkling wine. Golizyn then devoted himself to the refinement of sparkling wine, which he already had produced in large quantities. He then created the Krimskoye shampanskoye, which was easier to pronounce than Crimean sparkling wine, in 1896. Of course in honour of the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II. After recieveing his first award for the Prince Golizyn's sparkling wine, he gained worldwide popularity. In 1900 the Krimskoye shampanskoye won the Grand Prix at the World Exhibition in Paris in.
Chateau D Yquem
After following the example of the Château d'Yquem in Bordeaux, he dedicated himself entirely to the production of exquisite sweet wines from muscatel varieties. And the three vineyards on the southern coast of the Crimea mainly produced dessert wines. Madeira, Port wine and Sherry had also a lot of demand among the Russian aristocracy.
Two world wars shook the Russian viticulture heavily. After 1945, the Soviet government planted new vineyards on a large scale. This should have, lowered the consumption of vodka in order to reduced and the associated alcoholism (which did not really work). Eleven states were engaged in viticulture, mainly organic grape varieties. In 1985, the area vineyards in the former USSR contained around 1.4 million hectares, which enabled them to produce over 20 million hectolitres of wine. The USSR was one of the largest wine producers in the world and the thrid biggest right after France and Italy and before the USA. Then sweet cheap wines dominated the Russian market. There weren't a lot of some supporters especially since the quality of these wines did not meet the international standards to some extent.
The wine industry suffered a severe setback, especially in the Crimea. Mikhail Gorbachev wanted to severely restrict the production and consumption of alcoholic beverages and launched a clearing programm destroying all vines. This abstinence campaign, also called "Dry Law", had the purpose to reduce the alcohol consumption insignificantly. Wine growing in the Crimea still suffers from the consequences of Soviet politics today. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, many important wine locations disappeared and Russian wine production declined considerably.
Since 2006 there has been a new development in the wine-growing culture of Russia - one whose products do not have to fear the judgement of real wine connoisseurs and connoisseurs. Nevertheless, Russian wines are still a rarity in Europe. In 2012, a 6.2 million hectolitres of wine were produced in Russia, an enormous amount given the 62,000 hectares of vineyards. In the meantime, the world's largest country has a 70,000 hectares of vineyards, but the government is explicitly promoting state-owned viticulture. The goal is to grow 140,000 hectares of wine by 2020. In addition, Russian wine producers are facing a number of legislative changes to make their business easier and their products more competitive again.
Wine cultivation in Russia
Russischer Schaumwein
The production of red and white sparkling wines is still of great importance - but what ever happened to the property of the Sparkling wine from the Krim? The Nowy Svet winery, previously state-owned by Ukraine, was nationalised after the annexation of the Crimea in March 2014. Three years later, the Russian government of the Crimea decided to privatize the company: The Ministry of Property and Land offered Nowy Svet, one of the oldest wine companies in the region, for sale on an official auction on their website. The price was the equivalent of 21.5 million euros for a total area of almost 9.5 hectares. In the summer of 2017, the Nowy Swet Winery changed its ownership and structure from a state-owned unitary enterprise to a joint-venture company. Therefor things remain exciting. .
Text researched and developed by Charlotte Münch. © Copyright & all other rights and/or licenses of texts on weinstore24 belong to caracter.tv.