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Ukrainian winemakers ‘won’t give up’, says trade body Wines of Ukraine

A new consolidated body of Ukrainian winemakers called ‘Wines of Ukraine’ will present its bottles at ProWein in May for the first time, in a bid to gain greater global recognition for the country’s wines.

Institute of Viticulture and Winemaking in Odessa, Ukraine.

As yet, there have been no changes to winemakers’ plans to join international trade fair ProWein 2022, despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Members of the country’s wine trade continue to demonstrate extraordinary fighting spirit.

“For the last eight years the winemakers of the mainland of Ukraine have done an incredible job and they won’t give up now,” Victoria Agromakova, CEO of Wine&Spirits Ukraine told euronews this week.

It’s little surprise that Ukraine producers have developed a thick skin, as the present conflict with Russia is not the first storm the country’s winemakers have weathered.

When Russia snatched Crimea, the Ukraine’s leading wine region, from underneath them in 2014, it tore the nation’s winelands apart.

“When Ukraine lost Crimea, it lost more than half of its winemaking industry,” Eugene Shneyderis, owner of Beykush Winery in southern Ukraine, told euronews.

The Russian government now reaps the profits from each vintage’s harvest, not the growers or winemakers in Ukraine who nurture the wine from vine to bottle.

Shneyderis calls Crimea “the best region for winemaking in Ukraine,” thanks to its varied terroir. “There are mountains, there are steppes, there are parts near the sea…” he says of its rich potential.

Currently, Ukraine’s 41,500 hectares of vineyards are spread out across three major wine growing regions, the largest of which is situated near the city of Odessa and embodies almost 50% of the country’s total area under vine.

Ukraine’s climate is characterised by hot summers and severe winters, and its wine regions are home to almost 180 grape varieties, including many indigenous ones.

Once known for its sweet and dessert wines, since 2015 Ukraine’s production of dry wines has grown by 7-9 % each year. Meanwhile, wineries such as Golitsyn in the village of Noviy Svit are popular throughout Eastern Europe and Russia for their light sparkling wines.

Until the recent creation of the Wines of Ukraine brand, it has largely fallen upon producers themselves to push their wines onto the international market. If winemakers can make it to ProWein in a few months’ time, it could be a golden opportunity to show international markets what they’ve been missing out on.

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