Russia managed to revive winemaking and make it one of its fastest growing industries
“We were told that Russia will see no wine – it will simply get cut off. There will be no wine in Russia without imported base wine. It is the opposite situation. Thanks to the adopted federal law [Law No. 468-FZ ‘On Winemaking in the Russian Federation’, – Ed.]. I am talking about Kuban, where we managed to preserve soils suitable for growing grapes,” Veniamin Kondratiev, Governor of Krasnodar Territory.
“This is the fastest growing industry of the Russian economy thanks to the law that was adopted in 2019. As for the growth rates, Russian wines are roughly 60% of the market, with still wines at 55% and sparkling wines at 65%. Our goal is to take this number up to at least 70%. We are already drinking Russian wines, which is nice. Russian wines are trendy. Their quality has improved over these years and they are healthier than the European wines. The latter ones have a higher sulphur tolerance,” Dmitry Kiselev, Chairman of the Board, Association “Federal Self-Regulatory Organization of Winegrowers and Winemakers of Russia”.
“Now everything is going back to normal at a slower pace. The area of vineries is growing 5% every year, while in Europe it loses 1% annually. This is why Russian winemaking is one of the fastest growing in the world,” Mikhail Kovalchuk, President, National Research Centre ‘Kurchatov Institute’.
Lack of certified seeds. Biological and cyber threats
“All the largest states involved in agriculture register the same problem – the lack of certified seeds. This is a pressing problem for us as well. Because of that, we are working together with the Ministry of Agriculture to create a track for grape selection that would help us produce organic wines with the highest yield possible, although we will not use methods applicable to traditional grapes,” Maxim Protasov, Head, Russian Quality System (Roskachestvo).
“It has become much easier to destroy us by biological or cyber means. You need to understand this. The phones we are holding can be easily cut off. There is high probability that all phones will get cut off in the near future. Cars: the more expensive a car is, the more of a gadget it is. Trains and turbines at power plants can be easily cut off, if they are foreign made. This is what a cyber war and a cyber threat are,” Mikhail Kovalchuk, President, National Research Centre ‘Kurchatov Institute’.
Developing technologies, including nature-like ones. Creating a genetic database
“President Putin gave specific instructions to Kurchatov Institute and the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation – ‘On the creation of the national genetic database’. The law is being reviewed, because we have created the prototype of this database. It is very much functioning. <…> It has three levels. The first level is the open general level of fundamental importance. Its second level is limited access: it is a secret technology, like important grapes and new crops. The third level is a classified database of criminal genetic information and special services. We have created a prototype of such a database, which we have presented to our country’s leadership. <…> Now every deciphered genome must be deposited. In order to organize it, this database needs to have the status of a state information resource, which need to be stipulated by a law. This law should be passed in the near future, which means that every organization that deciphers a genome will need to deposit it in the database,” Mikhail Kovalchuk, President, National Research Centre ‘Kurchatov Institute’.
“What our association is at is implementing the President’s decree on introducing an accounting system for the wine and grape balance. We have an understanding of how much grapes we have harvested and how much wine we need to produce. <…> Yet, at this point we are making more wine than harvesting grapes. To cover this gap, we have approved a reporting form that will be introduced this year already. It is a sort of a spreadsheet with 29 columns that include everything – from the area of the vinery to the number of bottles. The winemaker will fill in the technological stages. It is not hard to do, but starting this year we will have a better understanding of what makes what and how much we end up with. This is a step toward the industry’s transparency, which is important. It will help build trust in domestically made wines,” Dmitry Kiselev, Chairman of the Board, Association “Federal Self-Regulatory Organization of Winegrowers and Winemakers of Russia”.
Developing process standards for Russian wines
“In 2016–2017, when we used isotopes for examining wines and cognacs, one in every three bottles had deviations in isotopic structure. This should not happen. This is why I support the initiative of creating an isotope library and a terroir map [territories with a combination of soil and climatic factors and specific characteristics of the area that determine the type and characteristics of the wine, – Ed.]. We will be actively involved in it. It is important to use the isotope method as the control one for alcohol containing products. We need to have an analytical method, which we are working on,” Maxim Protasov, Head, Russian Quality System (Roskachestvo).
“We need to amend the laws, which will be done, because we have a consensus. The excise label will contain the ‘Wine of Russia’ stamp. The excise label has enough space for it. Winemakers that stick to the standard and the grape–wine ratio, will be able to place the ‘Wine of Russia’ matryoshka on their bottles. Wine menus will also feature it. The Association of Winegrowers and Winemakers initiated the development of a standard wine menu together with the Simple wine company. We are very grateful to them. This wine menu can become our national standard. It will place the ‘Wine of Russia’ matryoshka opposite those Russian wines that stick to this ratio and the right technologies, which is good. Moreover, we can make this standard wine menu an international one and spread it at least within the Eurasian Economic Union,” Dmitry Kiselev, Chairman of the Board, Association “Federal Self-Regulatory Organization of Winegrowers and Winemakers of Russia”.
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