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Gastronomy and Wine Portal


Ukrainian winemaking: return to OIV

01.12.2022, News

November 4, 2022, Mexico, at the General Assembly of the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), the restoration of Ukraine’s membership in this authoritative international organization was officially announced.*

The return of our country to the ranks of the OIV today is perceived by everyone not only as support for our people during the terrible war, but also as recognition of Ukraine as a competitive wine producing state. However, not everyone knows that this significant event for the development of Ukrainian winemaking, as well as for the entire world community, had a rather stormy background. Yet, we are sure, it will have a glorious future. Therefore, according to the editorial team, it is important to know what difficult diplomatic path the Ukrainian ambassadors had to overcome for that. The team would also like to strengthen who should be personally thanked for making the comeback happen.

So, according to the facts, Ukraine was represented – and, according to the  data,for some time performed a supervisory function – in the OIV for more than 10years, from 1997 to 2008. But due to unfortunate circumstances lost its membership – above all,the short-sighted leadership of the industry at thetime. However, as a signatory to the April,  3, 2001 renewal agreements, the country had the right to apply for re-admission to the OIV. And this year, despite the war, we used that right. On September, 30 the Ukrainian government ratified the legal document to launch the recovery process and formalize its legal acceptance. For Ukraine’s entry into the OIV “Ukrsadvynprom” was the driving force, as well as significant support was provided by the leadership of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine, employees of the Department of Viticulture and Winemaking of the Department of Agriculture and Seed Production of the Department of Agrarian Development, as well as the press service of the Ministry. The renewed membership became effective on October 30.

Family picture of OIV delegates and authorities. On the right the Ukrainian Delegation, and on the left with the flag the President of the OIV, Luigi Moio, Director General Pau Roca and behind Dr. Ricardo F. Nunez, owner of Vinos de La Luz, businessman and philanthropist.

There is no doubt that it is individuals who create history. And the history of Ukraine’s relations with the OIV was no exception. Against the background of the victorious Ukrainian winemaking returning fact to this powerful international organization, one does not want to overshadow the joy with the mention of past gestures and the recent ill-advised interventions of some domestic industry figures, due to which this important event could not have happened. Although everything went to that…

At least the team of activists who took care of this process on behalf of Ukraine had to make considerable diplomatic efforts not only to carry out the returning procedure, but also to overcome the negative consequences of previous clumsy communications. In fact, the generally inconspicuous work on the preparation of Ukraine’s new accession to the OIV lasted more than a year and ended with the triumphant participation of the Ukrainian delegation in the OIV General Assembly in Mexico City.

From the right to the left: Nataliia Burlachenko, Wine International and National Specialist, member of the Ukrainian Official Delegation to the OIV; Volodymyr Pechko, Head of the Public Association “Ukrsadvynprom”, the Ukrainian Official Delegation Lead to the OIV; John Barker, candidate for the role of Director General from 2024 and Dr. Ricardo F. Nunez, owner of Vinos de La Luz, businessman and philanthropist.

Perhaps it will surprise someone (but certainly not Drinks+ editors, because we have been following the progressive activities of this outstanding personality for a long time) that in the process of Ukraine’s return to the OIV, Dr. Ricardo F. Nunez, the owner of the international group of companies Vinos de La Luz, who has already played a leading role has been helping our country to take its rightful place among the world wine-producing countries for many years. Dr. Nunez has dedicated his many years of experience, strong international connections and communication talents to this.

Drinks+ editors are preparing a special interview with Ricardo Nunez who put a lot of effort into this important event. Allow us to announce this conversation and quote one of Dr. Ricardo Nunez’s phrases: “Finally, Ukraine is once again a member of the OIV, and a part of not only this international organization. Such integration steps are extremely necessary for the development of the entire wine industry – from agriculture to international trade, they also strengthen the world’s trust in Ukrainian wine. In addition, they mark a powerful opponent of the ideas of the enemy, who is trying to deny the very right to the existence of the nation and the sovereign state. That is why today Ukraine should be on an equal footing with other civilized countries in all international organizations in all spheres of activity, which is carried out by this infinitely brave and worthy nation.”

In parallel, the return mechanism was worked out by a team led by the head of the Public Association “UKRSADVYNPROM”, Volodymyr Pechko, and the international affairs consultant of “UKRSADVYNPROM”, Nataliia Burlachenko (known to our readers as a Drinks+ columnist and the author of the blog @nataliiawines.com.ua for a number of topical articles on world winemaking).
The result of this competent and long-term collective activity was the invitation of the Ukrainian delegation to Mexico, where during the General Assembly, Ukraine was readmitted to the OIV.

The President of the OIV, Luigi Moio, gives the OIV flag to the Ukrainian Official Delegation.

Note that all other 48 members of the respected organization (which, by the way, has more than 100 years of existence) welcomed the return of Ukraine to the world wine family. And as a sign of special respect and solidarity, the leadership of the OIV provided our representatives with an unprecedented opportunity for a large-scale speech at the plenary session, which concluded the 43rd Annual Congress of the OIV. Ukrainian ambassadors – Nataliia Burlachenko and Volodymyr Pechko – expressed their gratitude to the world wine community and hope for mutually beneficial cooperation.

The head of the official delegation of Ukraine, Volodymyr Pechko, delivered a meaningful speech, which included the following words: “Our land is currently going through difficult times, but I can assure you that the spirit of our winemakers is stronger than ever. We brought greetings from all Ukrainian wine-growing regions, from all wine professionals who are now unable to do their life’s work because they are protecting their country.”

From the left  to the right: Volodymyr Pechko, Head of the Public Association “Ukrsadvynprom”, the Ukrainian Official Delegation Lead to the OIV and Nataliia Burlachenko, Wine International and National Specialist, member of the Ukrainian Official Delegation to the OIV, before the historical speech to the Assembly.

Nataliia and Volodymyr, in their address to the OIV leaders and the delegates of the assembly, spoke about the terrible blow that the war had inflicted on the Ukrainian wine industry. After all, many vineyards were damaged, destroyed or ended up in the occupied territories. Ukraine has hundreds of destroyed and looted wineries, broken supply chains, destroyed warehouses with finished products. And most importantly, people suffered. There are wounded and dead among grape growers and winemakers…

By the way, in Mr. Pechko’s speech, the following figures are given: at the beginning of the Russian invasion in February 2022, Ukraine ranked 31st in the world in terms of the area of vineyards – 41,800 hectares. In 2021, the country produced 660,000 hectoliters of wine. The wine import market was also actively developing, where the level of consumption showed growth against the background of sometimes negative global trends. Of course, after the Victory, Ukraine faces a difficult period of industry recovery. So today, more than ever, is the time to take care of the future.

Nataliia Burlachenko commented on the relevance of Ukraine’s return to the world organization: “Although the war is still going on, we are working for a better future for our country and the Ukrainian wine industry. This is undoubtedly facilitated by the restoration of OIV membership, thanks to which Ukraine benefits from important channels of information and cooperation with winemakers from other countries. This is an important support for the wine industry, which is struggling with serious economic and structural problems. In the long term, membership will also allow Ukraine to access important resources for a full recovery and give the country a chance to play its role in shaping the evolution of the wine sector.”

We will also cite a quote from a speech on behalf of Ukraine made by Volodymyr Pechko during the assembly in Mexico City (the transcript was kindly provided to the Drinks+ editors by Nataliia Burlachenko):«…Not many years have passed since the last time we were part of the Assembly of the International Organization of Vine and Wine. During these years a lot of things have happened in the world but more in our country.

The world has changed.  It is no longer the same world as it was a few years ago and the challenges are much more serious. We have witnessed the great work done by the OIV to protect the important fundamentals of the industry, to teach the frames we must all take to meet our friends – modernity and its technology, but also to confront the great enemy created by ourselves – climate change. Ukraine once again joins this international forum of nations, with the conviction that united we are much more than the simple sum of all its members. We are a part of the Old New World, the one that created wine, and the one that has resurrected with all its energy in the last 20 years. We all know that our land is experiencing violence, but I assure you that on this damaged land, the wine morale of the Ukrainian people is as strong as ever.

We bring greetings from the Ukrainian wine regions, from Odesa, from Crimea, from Transcarpathia, from Kherson, from Mykolaiv, and from every vineyard planted on our Ukrainian soil. We also bring greetings from many men and women of wine, viticulturists, oenologists, sommeliers, and all those who today cannot dedicate themselves to their work because the Homeland demands them to defend it. We bring the aromas of our native vines.

We come to learn, because we need to learn from all of you and from the more than one thousand experts of the OIV, how to modernize our industry to take our place in the world, to welcome knowledge and investments to Ukraine! Also we come to offer our scientific knowledge and our research, hand in hand with our institutions, including the Tairov Research Center in Odesa region.

And we also come to show, without any doubt, our territorial integrity and our will of steel to save wine in Ukraine, which is like saving the world’s wine.

I would like to dedicate my final words to thank the OIV, and fundamentally, its General Director, Mr. Pau Roca, and the Chief of Staff, Rodrigo de Casas, for having guided us on the way back home. The commitment of Mr Roca and Mr de Casas to OIV and to the wine community has been able to overcome not only the obstacles along the way, but even a war.  Thank you dear gentlemen! And thank you all for welcoming us back to our family.

Glory to Ukraine.”

From the right to the left: Volodymyr Pechko, Head of the Public Association “Ukrsadvynprom”, the Ukrainian Official Delegation Lead to the OIV and Nataliia Burlachenko, Wine International and National Specialist, member of the Ukrainian Official Delegation to the OIV; Giorgio Delgrosso, Head of Statistics and Digital Transformation Department of the OIV and Dr. Ricardo F. Nunez, owner of Vinos de La Luz, businessman and philanthropist.

OIV President Luigi Moyo and OIV General Director Pau Roka congratulated Ukraine on its return and emphasized the deep symbolism and importance of the event in this difficult time for our country.
After all, this return is actually a step into the future.

*On the main picture from the right to the left: Rodrigo de Casas, Chief of Cabinet at the OIV; Pau Roca, Director General of the OIV; Volodymyr Pechko, Head of the Public Association “Ukrsadvynprom”, the Ukrainian Official Delegation Lead to the OIV; Nataliia Burlachenko, Wine International and National Specialist, member of the Ukrainian Official Delegation to the OIV and Dr. Ricardo F. Nunez, owner of Vinos de La Luz, businessman and philanthropist.

Watch the video of the speech here: