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Gastronomy and Wine Portal


“Predictable success”: WTA presentation and commented tasting of Ukrainian wines closing ProWein 2023

03.04.2023, Автор: Victoria Makarova

ProWein in Dusseldorf has long ago turned into an all-embracing universe of wines and spirits, and this year’s fair was not an exception. International environment was bubbling with participants and guests from all around the world, while dozens of events held by the world’s leading experts, Masters of Wine, famous winemakers and influencers, were impressive and grabbed the attention of the audience. The WTA team, which had to present the project and its participants to the visitors of this large-scale international hub, was ready for the standing-out challenge, and accepted it gladly. 

The presentation of WineTravel Awards and the tasting of 6 Ukrainian wines, which was, literally, the closing event of the fair, was an uncompromising success: it was the first time that WTA introduced the wines by our Ukrainian nominees at ProWein! We welcomed about 50 guests, including experts, journalists, wine and tourism influencers, traders, winemakers, retailers and HoReCa representatives. 

Oleksandra Hryhorieva, the Wine Travel Awards Project Lead, made a brilliant presentation of the WTA’s activities and plans for the 2023 campaign, as well as boundless opportunities for marketing, networking and business promotion it gives to those engaged in wine production, trade and wine tourism. The presentation revealed the unique concept of Wine Travel Awards (which, earlier this year, has joined the Bernard Magrez Start-Up Win incubator). WTA is not just an award which marks out the best travel locations, outstanding tourism professionals or brands. It is an exceptional B2B networking and marketing movement within a friendly, active and progressive community that unites experts in the field of winemaking and tourism.

This presentation was followed by the tasting held by the WTA Discovery editor, Victoria Makarova, and our Ukrainian colleagues.

The tasting was opened by two samples of the indigenous Ukrainian white variety, Telti-Kuruk: Beykush Telti-Kuruk 2022 and SHABO Telti-Kuruk Grande Reserve 2021. This variety was a new and intriguing discovery for most guests, although at least two of them noted that they were already familiar both with the grape and the producers.

Following were two samples of Odesa Black, Ukraine’s signature red. A short intro of this unique variety made by the WTA speaker warmed up the guests’ interest. A premiere wine Big Wines BIG ART limited edition Ivan Marchuk 2020 was presented by Natalia Burlachenko, CEO of Big Wines by Vinos de La Luz, and Villa Tinta Odesa Black VIP 2019, was introduced by Kostyantyn Tintulov, co-owner of Villa Tinta / Winehall Oksamytne.

They were followed by a wonderful Stakhovsky Wines Merlot “ACE” 2019 from Zakarpattya (Transcarpathia), and, last but not least, by an elegant blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon — Grand Admiral Proudly Ukrainian 2018, with a beautiful presentation by Anna Gorkun, CEO and co-owner of 46 Parallel Wine Group.

Nataliia Burlachenko, CEO of Big Wines, comments:

“This tasting was a very interesting and useful experience. Our guests showed genuine and practical interest in Ukrainian wines. Even after the tasting was over, some of them stayed longer, asking questions, sharing opinions, exchanging business cards with us. Presenting Telti-Kuruk and Odesa Black made by different wineries was a very good idea, demonstrating the diversity of styles and terroir. We are very grateful to the WTA team for organizing this tasting, hopefully, more to come.”

Anna Gorkun, co-owner of 46 Parallel Wine Group, shares her reflections and excitement:

 “The interest in Ukraine and everything related to it was predictable. A “full house” at the Wine Travel Awards tasting could be expected from the moment the event was announced. But the biggest question was, what brought our guests to this event: interest in politics or interest in wine? The world of wine plays by its own rules. There is no room for politics, sentiment or “special” circumstances in it. Despite all the difficulties, we, Ukrainian winemakers, like everyone else, grow grapes, produce wine and present it to the consumer on equal terms with other producers around the world. They can sympathize with us in a human way, but they evaluate us like everyone else, and we have to meet the highest quality standards in order to compete for our place at the international stage. This tasting confirms Ukrainian winemakers are very strong and have a huge potential for development in the future. After all, neither COVID, nor the financial crisis, nor the war in our homeland, nor the lack of basic resources for production (water, electricity, labor), nor limited financing (most credit programs are currently unavailable) presented crucial obstacles for us. We made, are making and will make wines of high quality matching international standards. The audience paid attention to every word that was said about our wines. There was compassion, but we were also proud to feel appreciation. Probably for the first time I felt the synergy of professional attention and human emotion within the audience. I was very pleased to have the opportunity not only to present our wine, but also to see our guests raising a toast to the victory of Ukraine. Our Proudly Ukrainian was a perfect choice for that toast!”

Detailed info about the Ukrainian wines presented in the WTA commented tasting at ProWein 2023 can be found in our article here.

We are very grateful to our guests who provided comments.

Julia Vertgeym, sommelier, Mundus Vini judge, Mosel, Germany:

“I have to say that all six wines presented by Ukrainian WTA nominees are really fine! Very good quality, I’m so proud of our winemakers!”

Michael Buckman, independent wine journalist, Switzerland:

“Most of the wines we were tasting are quite young and may need some time to reach their peak, but they do have a huge potential. It’s amazing to know that 2 out of 6 wineries are just 3 years old, and 1 is, in fact, a debutant. Development of the white Telti-Kuruk and the red Odesa Black depending on aging and vinification style is quite impressive. Well done, Ukraine!” 

Thomas Brandl, a famous wine critic, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles’ Ambassador for Germany, Austria and Eastern Europe and owner of xenos.com (Germany), gave us a word of support and professional advice:  

“I’m impressed by the rise in quality of the wines especially now, considering the challenges of war. Odesa Black and Telti-Kuruk were well known to me from my previous visits to Ukraine, but they presented a completely new experience for most attendees of ProWein. For the future I would suggest you to focus as much as possible on Ukrainian indigenous grape varieties, they are what makes a difference.”

Further on, some tasting notes from our guests. Some of them didn’t specify their names, but we really appreciate their analysis, so these comments are also included in our summary.

Beykush Telti-Kuruk 2022

Agnes Nemeth, Hungarianwines.eu, Hungary:

“I simply loved this wine — so fresh and flowery, easy to drink!” 

Julia Vertgeym, sommelier, Mundus Vini judge, Mosel, Germany:

“Nose: fresh, fruity, notes of lemon. Palate: bitter mineral notes in aftertaste”.

SHABO Grand Reserve Telti-Kuruk 2021

Mariola Kamorowa, sommelier, Czech Republic:

“Complexity, structure, balance, very special minerality. Makes me curious about the terroir.”

Julia Vertgeym, sommelier, Mundus Vini judge, Mosel, Germany:

“Fresh, mineral, high acidity, moderate alcohol, elegant oak aging notes, complex, has great potential. Very good!”

Bryce McNamee, owner of Boutique Wine Collection, American importing company (based in Philadelphia, office in Cape Town, South Africa):

“Remarkable wine!”

BIG WINES BIG ART limited edition. Ivan Marchuk 2020

Mariola Kamorowa, sommelier, Czech Republic:

“Aroma: fruit bomb! Plum, cherry, mulberry, and confiture. Spicy, delicate tones of vanilla, chocolate.”

Julia Vertgeym, sommelier, Mundus Vini judge, Mosel, Germany:

“Nose: dark fruits, chocolate, black pepper, oak aging notes. Palate: elegant tannins. A little too young to drink, good potential. New World style.”

Guest / expert:


Villa Tinta Odesa Black VIP 2019 

Guest / expert: 

“Nose: a lot of dark fruits. Mulberry. Blueberry. Oaky. A bit shy, but opens up in a glass. Palate: rich and round tannins.”

Julia Vertgeym, sommelier, Mundus Vini judge, Mosel, Germany:

“Very bright, elegant and smooth. A lot of ripe berries, dark cherry, some oak.”

Stakhovsky Wines Merlot “ACE” 2019

Julia Vertgeym, sommelier, Mundus Vini judge, Mosel, Germany:

“Nose: cherry, plum, ripe dark fruits, white pepper. Palate: smooth, perfect tannins. Very noble and complex. Elegant style. Excellent wine!”

Guest / expert:

“Nose: typical Merlot but more intense, slightly tart fruit, dominating blackberry. General impression: good balance, good work with oak. This wine would pair well with duck confit.”

Grand Admiral Proudly Ukrainian 2018

Yulia Vertgeym, sommelier, Mundus Vini judge, Mosel, Germany:

“Rich in nose and taste. Good balance. In blind tasting it could probably be recognized as a wine from southern Italy.”

Michael Buckman, independent wine journalist, Switzerland:

“Elegantly made, this wine definitely wants to spend more time in the bottle! 3-5 years at least. Good potential.”

The WTA team is very grateful to our participants for their beautiful presentations and amazing wines, and to our guests for their open hearts and valuable attention to Ukrainian winemaking. We would like to thank our hosts, ProWein, for helping us organize this event, and the professional and helpful team of ProWein Forum who made this event an efficient and comfortable experience for us. 

We are very happy that at ProWein 2023, for the first time, Wines of Ukraine were united by a national stand introducing 12 wineries, some of them being WTA 2023 nominees and voting winners. Together with SHABO, Ukraine’s flagship winery and WTA 2023 voting winner, who, for several years now, have been participating at ProWein with their own stand, Wines of Ukraine presented a bigger picture of amazing and heroic Ukrainian winemaking, demonstrating fine quality wines, despite the challenges of russian military aggression in Ukraine. Our wines had a tremendous success at ProWein 2023, and we will do our best in joining our effort in further promotion of Ukrainian winemaking.

More events and wine tasting from WTA and its nominees from Ukraine and other countries are coming soon!