Close Menu

Winery uncorks 124-year-old wine for Berlusconi

The director of a winery in Ukraine has angered authorities by appearing to open a 124-year-old bottle of wine for Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi.

The Massandra Palace

The political heavyweights were touring Russian-occupied Crimea last week when they visited the Massandra winery, which used to be property of the Ukrainian government before Crimea was annexed by the Russian Government last year.

The Massandra winery houses some of the world’s oldest wines, including bottle of Sherry dating back more than 200 years.

As reported by Gulf News Russia, Berlusconi asked the winery’s director Yanina Pavlenko to try one of its most valuable bottles from the 1891 vintage during the tour. Pavlenko appeared to oblige, responding that “yes”, it could be drunk on camera.

While the winery has not confirmed if the wine was actually consumed, the incident has angered Ukrainian authorities who are reported to be preparing embezzlement charges against the winery.

Under Ukrainian law, opening the bottle would amount to theft as when the property was under Ukrainian ownership, two presidential decrees were required in order to approve the sale of a vintage wine from its collection. Therefore giving a bottle as a gift amounts to theft under Ukrainian law.

However the Ukrainians’ claims could prove be unfounded, as currently the country is under Russian rule.

In 2001 a bottle of Massandra’s Sherry de la Frontera 1775, was sold at a Sotheby’s auction in London for $43,500 (£27,867).

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No