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Gastronomy and Wine Portal

Wines of Ukraine

The Masters‘ choice: Masters of Wine will select TOP 24 of the best wines of Ukraine

06.06.2024, News Автор: Victoria Makarova

The Wines of Ukraine team invites Ukrainian wine producers to participate in the “TOP 24 BEST WINES OF UKRAINE” project — a professional wine tasting by Masters of Wine from Great Britain, Finland, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland. 

The tasting event will be held in Warsaw on July 28-29. Influential international experts — Masters of Wine — will evaluate the best Ukrainian wines and discuss the prospects of their promotion on the international markets. 

Why is this project extremely rich for Ukrainian winemaking? 

The purpose of the project is to change the global perception of Ukrainian wine, increase awareness of the Wines of Ukraine brand, and promote export development for Ukrainian winemakers. “We have invited recognized Masters of Wine from key European markets, which are extremely interesting for our exports, to participate in this tasting. The invited experts will conduct a blind tasting of about 100 Ukrainian wines, after which the TOP 24 (and the shortlist of the TOP 12) of the best Ukrainian wines of the season 2024 will be announced. This objective list, confirmed by the world’s most professional wine experts, will become an reputable benchmark for the quality of Ukrainian wines throughout the year,” comments Svitlana Tsybak, representative of Wines of Ukraine, the Main Association of Craft Winemakers of Ukraine and CEO of Beykush Winery. 

Who are Masters of Wine? 

Currently, there are only 416 people in the world who have reached the highest level of expertise in the field of wine and received the title of Master of Wine. These experts are rigorously trained and tested to earn the prestigious title, demonstrate solid knowledge and ability to decode a wide range of wines and regions. They are probably the most influential figures in the world‘s wine industry. Their evaluations and recommendations are of considerable interest to consumers, wine professionals and the media. Masters influence perceptions of wines, regions and styles, set trends and drive buyers‘ decisions, developing an important role in shaping the global wine market. 

Which Masters of Wine have already joined the “TOP 24 BEST WINES OF UKRAINE” project?

Sarah Abbott MW, United Kingdom

Sarah Abbott

Sarah Abbott became a Master of Wine in 2008, after ten years of working in sales, sourcing, education and marketing roles for specialist fine wine importers of Burgundy, Bordeaux and Italian wines. Sarah writes about wine for diverse publications including timatkin.com, the World of Fine Wine, and Swirl’s company blog. She is a twice-listed finalist in the Roederer wine-writing awards and oversees the content strategy and creation for all client campaigns.

Richard Bampfield MW, United Kingdom

Richard Bampfield

Richard Bampfield passed the Master of Wine Exam in 1990. He regularly guides groups of students and press on visits to Bordeaux and Burgundy, and has been actively involved in the promotion of English wines. He is now probably best known for his work writing tasting notes and evaluating wines for Lidl and is a regular presenter on 67 Pall Mall’s TV channel. Richard is a past Chairman of the Association of Wine Educators and was the European Champagne Ambassador 2009.

Wojciech Bonkowski MW, Poland

Wojciech Bonkowski MW

Wojciech Bońkowski is a wine writer from Poland. Simultaneously he developed a career in wine, working in London before returning to Poland where he published eight books and founded the country’s leading wine website, Winicjatywa (2012), and wine magazine, Ferment (2017). The Ferment media group now also includes a wine events agency, wine school, and publishing house. He was President of the Polish Wine Trade Association (2015–22) and is a member of the Académie Internationale du Vin. He currently focuses on the wines of Italy, Greece, Austria, Central and Eastern Europe.

Cees van Casteren MW, Netherlands 

Cees van Casteren MW

Cees spent 14 years in fine chemicals and oenological specialties. Cees started writing about wine in 2004. Since then he has written twelve books and some 600 articles on wine and food. His most recent book is Anyone Can Taste Wine. Cees is a judge at international wine competitions, and WSET Educator. He also runs his own independent wine consultancy and training business. Cees has twice been named Dutch Vinologist of the Year. He currently is Chairman of the United Vinologists, the main association of wine professionals in The Netherlands.

Caro Maurer MW, Germany

Caro Maurer MW

Caro Maurer is a journalist who writes to the General-Anzeiger, the daily newspaper in Bonn, responsible for the food and wine section, Germany’s leading food and wine magazine Der Feinschmecker (The Gourmet) and as a writer for Decanter. Caro also works as a wine educator for WSET Diploma in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Tuscany, Bordeaux, Paris and Norway. She is hosting educational seminars and tastings for numerous generic wine associations such as Wine Australia, Wines of New Zealand or VDP. She is judging in international wine competitions, at Decanter WWA in London she is a panel chair, at 5STARWines in Verona she is a General Chair.

Heidi Mäkinen MW, Finland

Heidi Mäkinen MW

Heidi is Portfolio Manager and Partner of a Finnish wine importing company Viinitie. She became the Best Sommelier of Finland and the second in Chaîne des Rôtisseur’s Jeunes Sommeliers of the World in 2015, and the eight Best Sommelier of the World in 2016. She was selected as one of The Future 50 by WSET and IWSC in 2019. She is also currently the President of the Finnish Sommelier Association and a member of ASI Sommeliers Contests Committee. In addition to her daily job, Heidi teaches WSET at all levels, judges in various international wine competitions, offers consultation, and gives presentations on wine both in Finland and around the world.

“I met many of the Masters of Wine last year, when I gave a speech about the situation in Ukrainian winemaking at the Masters of Wine symposium in Wiesbaden,” recalls Svitlana Tsybak. “The idea of ​​doing a tasting engaging Masters of Wine came from Wojciech Bonkowski during his visit to Transcarpathia as part of an event organized by our team. We liked the idea, we contacted MV from different countries, which are interesting markets for Ukrainian wines. And literally everyone to whom we wrote volunteered to participate in the tasting and do for free. This really touched me as it is usually a high paying job. It was even more pleasing that most of them are sincerely promoting Ukrainian wines in their countries. And two of the Masters even decided to stay after the competition to discuss the development of distribution in their markets. It is incredible.»

So, how will the project develop in the future and what are the prospects for the winning wines? 

Here are 3 immediate steps:

  • in the SILPO supermarket chain, branded shelves “TOP 24 BEST WINES OF UKRAINE” will be installed, on which wines selected by the experts will be presented; 
  • a page on the Wines of Ukraine website (ukr.wine) with information about these wines will be created;
  • over the next few months, the Wines of Ukraine team plans to hold at least 6 Road Shows with selected wines in Europe and in Ukraine. 

“This is a dream project for Ukrainian winemaking and a wow-project for our team,” says Yevgenia Nikolaichuk, Wines of Ukraine ambassador and project leader for the Silpo network. — “Cooperation with the European Masters of Wine, who will choose the TOP 24 BEST WINES OF UKRAINE for the 2024 season, is an incredible and unique opportunity for Ukrainian winemakers to receive a professional and detailed assessment of the export potential of their wines from well-known experts. In addition, special corners with winning wines that will appear in Silpo will solve the question — where can one buy these wines? All 24 TOP-wines will be collected together on a special shelf!”

TOP 24 BEST WINES is a marketing project intended to influence the image of Ukrainian wine on the domestic and foreign markets through the validation of such a selection by expert international professionals. 

Why do we need to improve the image of our wines? “In order to increase sales and competitiveness in Ukraine and beyond,” Yevgenia comments. — “We’ve are willing to expand the market for Ukrainian wines, to increase their export potential and international sales, which is good for the economy of Ukraine.”

All wineries meeting certain criteria are invited to participate in the project. It refers exclusively to licensed wineries that already export their wines or intend to do so in the near future. 

Please find more details about the terms of participation and the registration form on the Wines of Ukraine website.

Photo: Oleg Savka