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46 Parallel Wine Group presented itself at the very beginning of 2020. The company was born out of the dream of Anna and Taras Gorkun: to create wonderful Ukrainian wines worthy of making Ukraine’s sartorial statement in the world of winemaking. Immediately after the launch, the company began to face challenges, including the pandemic that blocked a part of its traditional sales and promotion channels.
Anna Gorkun, CEO of 46 Parallel Wine Group, applied the tactics of slashing drive in extreme conditions. Now, the market players declare that 46 Parallel has rapidly – within less than a year – become a real national brand. As to the company’s credo – Proudly Ukrainian – it has been confirmed as a result of the company’s recognition at the world level. Its owner and presenter of the author’s program on the Wine Hub Channel with Anna Gorkun, who had made several dozen interviews with representatives of the Ukrainian business during one year, now found herself in this role, too: she was our interviewee and shared with the D+ columnist, how this successful strategy was being built.
Philosophy and concept
Undoubtedly, it all began with a dream. However, we are realists and we approached its implementation in a consistent manner, having analyzed the market, developed a business plan and positioning concept. Initially, we decided that we were launching two wine brands at once: because we saw a free category in the premium wines segment, as well as an unfilled niche of a high-quality wine for everyday consumption.
This is how 46 Parallel ТМ and Apostrophe ТМ appeared. Our idea is that we, Ukrainians, intend to promote such Ukrainian product based on exceptional quality and its origin. Given that imperative, the author’s collections of dry wines of the premium segment were formed: elite vintage Grand Admiral and lighter, elegant El Capitan wines of an absolutely amazing quality. The portfolio of the first Ukrainian emotional wine brand Apostrophe was also formed.
At the same time, one of our differences distinguishing us from a number of other producers (I would even say, one of our advantages) is that we create wines without being tied to one vineyard, which means that we have the opportunity to choose the best grapes every year and guarantee permanent quality. This does not, at all, imply the rejection of advantages offered by a terroir; it is quite the opposite: we have the opportunity to represent the best regions of Ukraine. In Odessa Region, we are working on the entire group of sparkling wines and most of the white ones. The red wines of the Grand Admiral collection are created from grapes purchased in Kherson Region. In fact, we have covered two major regions at once.
It should be emphasized that we don’t just arrive by the harvesting time and choose the finished product. We start the process of selecting the promising vineyards yet in early spring. Last year, at the beginning of May, our team visited all vineyards and production facilities of partner companies to make sure that all processes engaged in creation of 46 Parallel Wine Group wines of the 2020 harvest will be able to meet our standards. Once we have determined the terroir which is to be presented by us in the current year, we commence working on the vineyards: our experts carefully and regularly monitor the condition of vines, the formation of bunches, all agricultural techniques and the harvesting itself. In addition, the chief winemaker of 46 Parallel Wine Group personally oversees all stages of the vine’s development.
To improve the quality of future wines, we limit a yield per vine: no more than 3 kg, for premium collections – hand-harvesting and minimum time to be spent to deliver grapes for processing. Vinification and bottling are also strictly controlled. Our perfectionism extends to aging: we order barriques from the world leaders: French companies Seguin Moreau and Tonnellerie Vinea. We do not limit the tastings only to regular ones, which are carried out by our oenologists at every stage; we also have a final wine tasting conducted by an independent professional board. Upon approval by the top-class tasters, our wines are bottled and thereupon, “rest” in bottles for at least 6 months. It should be pointed out that it is only upon completion of all these processes, the wines may be offered for sale.
Entering the international markets
The slogan of our company is Proudly Ukrainian. It should be emphasized that despite “tender age” of 46 Parallel Wine Group and the turbulence of the first year of its operations, we already do have something to be proud of. It is true that the lockdown had seriously complicated the implementation of our export plans: virtually all major international exhibitions were canceled.
Nevertheless, at the very beginning of the year, in partnership with Drinks+ Media Group, we were able to present our wines to the international audience at the Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris exhibitions and at the exclusively organized tastings of our wines in the USA and Germany, with participation of international experts of the highest rank. It should be emphasized that the very first reviews of our wines by world experts were very positive.
Drinks+ journalists have collected a significant portfolio of opinions of foreign professionals: judges of international competitions, wine journalists, oenologists, educators, sommeliers and wine consultants. We also submitted our wines to the Ukrainian and international competitions, the results of which confirmed that we were on the right track.
46 Parallel Wine Group is the only Ukrainian company that gained the award of the leading international contest Concours Mondial de Bruxelles 2020: El Capitan Pinot Gris wine was awarded a silver medal. This is an eloquent message: the Ukrainian wines deserve to be on the same list with the world’s best wines. Moreover, 46 Parallel may become the country’s calling card on the international arena.
At the USA Wine Ratings competition, already two wines of our company won silver awards: red dry vintage from a premium collection: Grand Admiral Cabernet Sauvignon-Saperavi-Merlot (vintage 2016) and sparkling rosé from Pinot Meunier by Charmat method: El Capitan Brut Rosé. However, the gold medal was shortly added to the portfolio of our 2020 international awards. The premium wine – Grand Admiral Cabernet Sauvignon-Saperavi-Merlot (vintage 2016) was awarded the Grand Gold Medal at the competition Sélections Mondiales des Vins Canada. The wines of the Grand Admiral and El Capitan were awarded medals at the Ukrainian contests: Odessa Bay, Ukraine Wine & Spirits Awards, Wine Guide of Ukraine, and En Primeur from the Black Sea Craft Wine Association. The achievements of the first year of the company’s operations include the fact that Apostrophe TM wines, along with the products of other Ukrainian producers, but exclusively in the wine category, are promoted under the collective brand #TradeWithUkraine on China’s leading online B2B platform 1688.сom. At the present stage, another very strong marketing project pertaining to our positioning abroad is ongoing, but due to the lockdown in most European countries, it is still on pause. I hope that by spring 2021, I will have the details to share with the connoisseurs of our wines.
Since stability has not yet come, I would prefer to talk about the plans in terms of their implementation. As promised yet at the beginning of 2020, we presented two more premium wines during the last year: the first batch of Grand Admiral Brut Nature vintage 2018 (limited edition, classic technology) and El Capitan Pinot Noir, which completed the exquisite El Capitan collection consisting of the wines from the Pinot variety group: Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Meunier. Thus, despite a cascade of obstacles, 46 Parallel Wine Group has implemented all plans set for the first year of its operations.
In the future, we plan to follow the course that we charted: to enhance representation throughout all channels in the domestic market and develop exports of the highquality Ukrainian wine that we can be proud of.
Photos by 46 Parallel Wine Group