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Gastronomy and Wine Portal

Bordeaux harvest 2021: less wine, but of high quality!

Because of difficult weather conditions in the spring of 2021, the harvest in Bordeaux was 20% below the average for 10 years.

Against the background of very sunny weather in March, the buds bloomed earlier than usual. And in early April, the region was hit by severe frosts, and many young buds were destroyed.

As a result, according to the regional industrial body, the Bordeaux harvest in 2021 fell to 3.77 hectoliters. This means that producers will have only 503 million bottles of the 2021 harvest, which is well below average.

The largest decrease in volume compared to the previous year was experienced by sweet white wines of the region, including Sauternes: this category decreased by 51%.

However, the climatic conditions were ideal to promote the growth of the fungus Botrytis cinerea, and producers reported high levels of acidity and concentration, so although there will be less wine, the quality must be high.

Harvesting of red grapes began in late September, much later than in recent years. However, Bordeaux “bathed” in the sun of the warmest October since 1991, which allowed Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc to reach full maturity in ideal conditions.

In Medoc, the harvest decreased by only 6% compared to the same period last year, and with a volume of 565,000 ha accounted for 15% of total production. However, the situation was worse for red wine from the Right Bank, as the combined yields of Saint-Emilion, Pomerol and Fronsac fell by 21% compared to the same period last year.

Manufacturers in Graves reported a 25% drop in production compared to 2020.

Production of Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur fell by 15% to 1.65 million hl, accounting for 55% of production, while the Côtes de Bordeaux fell by 14% to 480,000 hl.

Dry white wine production fell by 15%, but rosé fell by only 3% and Crémant de Bordeaux increased by 1% compared to 2020.

Professor Laurence Geny and Professor Axel Marchal from the Research Department of Oenology at the Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin de l’Université de Bordeaux presented a concise report on the 2021 harvest: “Exceptional dry white, rare but excellent sweet wines and stable quality red”.

Based on materials: decanter.com

Because of difficult weather conditions in the spring of 2021, the harvest in Bordeaux was 20% below the average for 10 years.

Monferrato wine production achieved new milestones

The Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato presents the closing numbers for 2021. A year that despite the pandemic, registered a growth trend for the 13 protected appellations: 9 DOC (Albugnano; Cortese dell’Alto Monferrato; Dolcetto d’Asti; Freisa d’Asti; Grignolino d’Asti; Loazzolo; Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco; Monferrato, Piemonte) and 4 DOCG (Barbera d’Asti; Nizza; Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato; Terre Alfieri).

Among the denominations that have seen significant increases is the Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG which stands out from the crowd with over 5 million bottles (+ 5.6%). “It refers to a Barbera that is aged for 14 months, 6 of which are in barrel, confirming a constant positive trend in recent years proving how quality is an essential component in the path to growth,” states Filippo Mobrici, President of the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato.

The “Nizza” Phenomenon. Speaking of Barbera, the +13% achieved by the Nizza DOCG appellation performed extremely well together with the other producers coming from 18 municipalities in the south of Asti, committed to producing over 700,000 bottles (average price around 20 euro/bottle): “It is a fact that goes beyond our wildest expectations also because we have had an almost total blockage of supplies to hotels and restaurants for many months, obviously due to Covid” reveals Stefano Chiarlo, President of the Associazione dei Produttori del Nizza (Nizza Producer’s Association), comprised of about 70 wineries of 90 in total.

Monferrato wine

Chiarlo (also Vice President of the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato together with Lorenzo Giordano) thanks the producers of the Association for the “extraordinary work done as well as the Consortium for the protection and support of promotion that is carried out on foreign markets. We export half of the bottles produced and are present in about 40 countries. For example, we have presence in the American market where Nizza is in high demand. There are also American and Northern European entrepreneurs who purchase vineyards from our area.”

Ruchè makes history. Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG broke the barrier of 1 million bottles. Starting from an almost “forgotten” grape variety until the 1980s to arrive as the star of an extraordinary great red that is now considered “trendy.” “A special year has closed for us. The milestone of 1 million bottles is finally a reality. We are a group of about 30 producers as well as a few bottlers, and for us this is truly a special number,” underlines Luca Ferraris, President of the Associazione Produttori del Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato. Cultivated in 7 municipalities (Castagnole Monferrato, Grana, Scurzolengo, Viarigi, Montemagno, Refrancore, and Portacomaro, the town of Pope Francis), as Ferraris reiterates, “the potential of this wine is still to be discovered for us as well. In the premises of Turin, 6 out of 10 glasses of red wine are Ruchè.” Customers actively request it. Our wine is also popular in Asia as well as the US, demonstrating the fact that it is now an internationally recognized wine” says Ferraris.

Monferrato wine

The “little” Albugnano. Produced in a very narrow strip of vineyards (composed of 4 municipalities: Albugnano, Pino d’Asti, Castelnuovo Don Bosco, and Passerano Marmorito) by a handful of about 20 producers in what is called the “Terra dei Santi”, this Nebbiolo pays tribute to Piedmontese tradition. “Since 2017 when we created the Association of producers, we have since made a lot of progress” states Andrea Pirollo, President of the Association Albugnano 549, which has produced over 60,000 bottles (+18%). He also adds: “The strength of the team has allowed us to achieve goals that seemed impossible. We must try to grow while safeguarding this unique territory as well for its biodiversity. We are a stone’s throw from Turin and this sort of enclave of ours with vineyards nestled between a territory of forest and pastures is really something unique.”

Boom of reds, whites, and rosé. Other interesting elements stand out from the data. Like the +142% in the 1.5 million bottles achieved by the “Piemonte DOC Rosato” which is especially popular with the Chinese market, or the 2.4 million bottles of Piemonte DOC Rosso (+42%): 1 million bottles more than the previous 12 months for this product which combines different varieties (Barbera, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Freisa, and Croatina). How can we forget the elegant Piemonte DOC Viognier, which is now finding many new admirers for the Piedmontese market as well as others. With 142,000 bottles produced, Piemonte DOC Viognier recorded an incredible +190% compared with 2020. The performance of Monferrato DOC Nebbiolo is even more extraordinary: 200,000 bottles with an increase of 313%.

Monferrato wine

Other growth is recorded for export (primarily to North Europe, USA, Canada, China, and Asia). And more and more investors are attracted by the opportunities offered by this territory: 11,500 hectares (equal to one third of the Piemontese DOC winemaking area, distributed mainly between Asti and Alessandria, with offshoots also in the Cuneo and Turin areas) in which thousands of winemakers from hundreds of wineries (about 400 are members of the Consortium) work in contributing to a total production of 65 million bottles (20 million of this is Barbera d’Asti DOCG).

In economic terms; an estimated turnover of around 400 million euro, with a quarter of Piemontese exported wine protected by the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato.

These are some of the interesting statistics that have emerged from the 2021 production data surveyed by the Consorzio of Barbera d’Asti led by Filippo Mobrici, closing a year still affected by the pandemic. “It was obviously a difficult year, as for everyone, but the various indicators tell us that not only have we held our positions extremely well, but that our Consorzio is growing in numbers, and most importantly in quality – explains Mobrici -: this means that not only the professionalism pays off, but the ability that our producers have had to invest in their territory, making themselves ambassadors of these wonderful UNESCO protected lands. This is not about celebrating one wine over the other. Each of our DOC and DOCG’s has unique qualities. We must insist on this path, in the wake of tradition, change, and extraordinary collective work. So much so that more and more entrepreneurs, also from abroad, are investing in our vineyards.”

The Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato presents the closing numbers for 2021. A year that despite the pandemic, registered a growth trend for the 13 protected appellations: 9 DOC and 4 DOCG.

Sustainable wine tourism: relevance, measures, drivers, barriers

The results of the study “Sustainable Wine Tourism – Findings of a global survey” conducted by Geisenheim University and WineTourism.com were presented online on January 25, 2022. The streaming took place on Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube at 4 PM (CET).

Together with his colleague from Sweden Niklas Ridoff, CEO at WineTourism.com, Gergely Szolnoki, a professor of Market Research at Geisenheim University (Germany) and Judge of the Wine Travel Awards, presented the study entitled “Sustainable Wine Tourism – Findings of a global survey.” The aim of the study was to better understand the importance of sustainability in global wine tourism.

At the beginning, Gergely Szolnoki admitted: “Cooperation with WineTourism.com is the best thing that could happen. That was the moment when industry meets academics in a joint cooperation.”

Niklas Ridoff and Gergely Szolnoki

Sustainability gained importance over 15 last years. Now everyone is talking about sustainable tourism and sustainability in wine tourism. But what does sustainability mean exactly? What measures can we use for sustainable development? These questions the survey tried to solve in order to share the results and certain guidelines with the industry.

The stage of conducting the survey took place in November 2021. 1579 wineries from 42 countries participated. Italy and Spain were the most responsive. The full comparative cross-country analysis you can find in the final report.

The survey investigated different areas which consist of five focal points:

  • Relevance of sustainability in wine tourism.
  • The three-pillar model of sustainable wine tourism.
  • Measures contributing to sustainable wine tourism.
  • Drivers and barriers to sustainable wine tourism.
  • Communication and visitors’ perception.

Sustainable Wine Tourism

Chile and certified organic, biodynamic wineries perceive sustainability is highly important. Every third winery believes that wine tourism operations are sustainable (mostly in Italy and Spain). But there is a room for improvement. Not seeing overlap, correlation of sustainable wine production and wine tourism prevents the further development in this field.

The model of sustainability includes environmental, economic and social pillars. The cultural aspect is integrated in social one. Wineries of different scale and from different countries evaluated more or less equally these dimensions.

Sustainable Wine Tourism

Qualitative research was conducted in Germany. The open survey suggested to answer the following questions: Could you please define what sustainable wine tourism is and what are the measures? Wineries’ managers were not ready to answer it right away. So, the researchers perceived with a list of measures, and they selected top measures for each dimension.

Proceeding with drivers and barriers, Gergely Szolnoki noted: Saving money is not the main driver, fortunately. Because sustainability is not about saving money. Though, it could be a side-effect of sustainability.” Most of the top drivers are consumer oriented.

Sustainable Wine Tourism

On the other hand, when you start practicing sustainability, it requires investment, infrastructure which should be built first, human resources (having enough know-how and being motivated enough). This is an active ongoing process for which wineries need information, governmental subsidies and guidelines.

How important sustainability is in the winery’s communication? Will it be important for their visitors? Answers for these and other issues you can find in the final report here.

The results of the study “Sustainable Wine Tourism – Findings of a global survey” conducted by Geisenheim University and WineTourism.com were presented online on January 25, 2022. The streaming took place on Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube at 4 PM (CET).

Wine pairing with vegan dishes: what do we choose first?

The choice of wine for your meal is not always straightforward. Vegan dishes are often light and less reach comparing to meat or fish dishes and cheese plates. How then should we choose the right wine? Chefs and sommeliers of reputable gastronomic restaurants from Denmark, Austria, Ukraine and USA helped me to answer this question.

Lots of wines are recommended to be paired with meat and fish dishes, or cheese. I often come across these “prescriptions” on back labels of wine bottles or in wine blogs. And there is nothing wrong with pork, hamburger, meat tartare or venison, which can be perfectly combined with full-bodied, solid wine, the qualities of which will not be lost against their background, such as rich red Grenache, Syrah or Mourvèdre.

However, how should a vegan or vegetarian choose wine for their dishes? Are there any rules for wine pairing? Сan vegan dishes be gastronomic? These and some other questions, I will try to answer in the article due to short interviews with chefs and sommeliers of reputable restaurants all over the world.


TIAN Restaurant

The global movement of the transition from vegetarian to vegan has gained incredible strength, so that The Economist declared 2019 ‘The Year of the Vegan’. Google search for ‘veganism’ has increased by 580 percent over the last five years. Currently, the total number of vegans, vegetarians, and all related categories, is close to 14 percent of the world population. And I believe wine marketers should take a closer look at this trend.

So, we are starting with the bread-and-butter issue regarding the wine pairing principles. In her book “The 24-hour wine expert”, Jancis Robinson shares a couple of tricks: if you are planning to drink a young energetic red with a high tannin content, i.e., somewhat astringent, generous and rich in taste dishes will be the optimal pair for it; aromatic, full-bodied white wines such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer, especially with pronounced fruitiness, go well with spicy food, for example in an Asian style; if you want to keep drinking wine with something sweet, make sure the wine is sweeter than food – otherwise, the taste of the wine will be very tart and poor; beware of artichokes, they will play a trick on your palate and give any wine a metallic after-taste, so expensive wines are inappropriate in this case.

Søren Ledet

Søren Ledet, wine director and general manager at Geranium, commented on how different wine can be paired with plant-based dishes: “There are basically no limits today on what you can cook plant-based, so I actually think that all wine styles can be used with the right dish. It’s a matter of understanding the acidity, sweetness and balance in the dish and choosing the right wine to compliment that or highlight those flavours. I would always recommend tasting the food first and looking for the structural elements like acidity, bitterness and sweetness before picking the wine.”

Beetroot steak

Geranium is a 3-star Michelin Guide restaurant located in Denmark, on the 8th floor in Fælledparken (Common Gardens) in the centre of Copenhagen, from where one can follow the seasons’ journey through the tree crowns, catch glimpses of the city’s green copper roofs and just see the windmills of Oeresund. The location emphasizes Geranium’s vision of gastronomic clarity and diversity.

Søren Ledet

“On our vegan menu, we serve a red beet steak with horseradish and capers. That dish pairs really well with a fruity Pinot Noir from California or a northern Rhone Syrah. My favourite is a good plant-based hot dog with celeriac, pickled cucumber, roasted onions and ketchup. This would be best paired with 2018 Etna Rosso from Federico Graziani,” noted Søren Ledet.

plant-based hot dog

*Photos are taken from Geranium’s more casual pop-up, plant-based restaurant Angelika and are not served in the same form in Geranium.

Paul Ivić, Chef of TIAN Restaurant, together with Andre Drechsel, TIAN Sommelier, kindly agreed to share their experience of pairing wine with plant-based dishes: “Our entire menu can also be ordered vegan. There is no exact recommendation that fits all vegan dishes. It varies from dish to dish. However, we like to serve the wine “Birdscape” by Christian Tschida or “Anadjucka” by Erich Andert because these wines have a super acidity and good balance.”

TIAN is a one-star Michelin Guide restaurant specializing in exclusively vegan and vegetarian dishes and organic wines. It is located in Vienna, Austria. The philosophy of the restaurant says that a truly well made, creative, vegetarian cuisine can be an integral part of the modern lifestyle. The restaurant team respects natural cycles and pays attention to preferably organic products. Their seasonal ingredients are predominantly supplied by regional partners that understand and adhere to their high standards of quality concerning fresh food.


Does all wine can be paired with plant-based dishes? Or should we prefer certain grape varieties, wine regions, etc.?

Paul Ivić: All wines can be served with vegetarian-vegan cuisine. In general, we can say that white wines are more suitable. Of course, all wines have to fit our philosophy when it comes to sustainability. Therefore, we enjoy working with natural wines.


How does the process of wine pairing take place? For example, what would you recommend to an amateur who follows a plant-based lifestyle and likes wine, to start with a wine or a dish choice?

Paul Ivić: We first taste the food to identify the individual components. Then we taste different wines. After the tasting, we decide which wine harmonises well with the food.

TIAN Sunny Side Up

TIAN Sunny Side Up

What is your personal go-to wine and plant-based food matching?

Andre Drechsel: Personally, I always recommend Austrian wines first. Not because I am a patriot, but because we are blessed with super wine-growing regions in Austria.

Yevhen Klopotenko

As the Drinks+ magazine has a Ukrainian origin, I could not miss a chance to discover an approach and tendencies at the Ukrainian restaurant business. Yevhen Klopotenko, Chef, Co-Owner of the Restaurant “100 rokiv tomu vpered” (Kyiv), combines Ukrainian gastronomic heritage and modern culinary techniques in order to create a new Ukrainian cuisine without stereotypes. This is a fundamentally new form of Ukrainian cuisine with its own superfoods, amazing recipes and rethought traditions.

100 rokiv tomu vpered

Yevhen, you have repeatedly said that traditionally Ukrainian cuisine is quite healthy and balanced. And are there dishes that can fit into the category of plant-based?

Indeed, Ukrainians have always been vegetarians, because pork or veal on our table was only for the holidays. The basis of the diet was vegetables and cereals. That’s why we had so many fasts – there was no opportunity to eat meat during those periods. So, we are historically vegetarians, situational.

Vegan borshch

Once you come to the restaurant “100 rokiv tomu vpered”, is it possible to taste Ukrainian vegan dishes? What are those dishes on your menu?

Our restaurant does not specialize in vegetarian dishes, but they are on our menu. So, from vegan dishes we have an opportunity to serve:

  • Zucchini with green peas and ripe apricot sauce.
  • Salad with spinach, sorrel, apple, French fries and green cream (Ukrainian avocado).
  • Lean borsch from the oven with plum marmalade.
  • Baked eggplant with tomatoes and thyme.
  • Sorbet to make cold (with Cahors and juniper).

These dishes show our love for the concept of slow food, which we support in every way in the restaurant.

Sorbet with cahors and juniper

In your opinion, can all wines be combined with vegan dishes? Or maybe one should focus on certain regions, grape varieties?

Wines aged for 3 years (our restaurant, for example, has wines aged for 10 years) are better combined with the same complex dishes. Vegan dishes are mostly light, so we recommend choosing a light young wine. However, we always leave room for the individual preferences of our guests, they clearly have priority over all the rules of wine pairing.

Baked eggplant with tomatoes and thyme

How does the process of wine pairing take place? Would you recommend starting with the choice of wine or dish?

The classic method indicates that you should first choose the dishes, and according to this choice – wine. However, in my opinion, it is not necessary to set priorities here and thus create a “framework” for something. The only recommendation will be to try as many different wines as possible, to shape your experience, to experiment with tastes.

Salad with spinach, sorrel, apple, French fries

What is your personal vegan dish favourite? And what wine do you choose for it? Maybe something from Ukrainian wine producers?

The restaurant menu includes a salad with a “Ukrainian avocado”. Of course, an avocado has never been in our cuisine, because it is not a Ukrainian product, but the chefs managed to prepare a delicate cream of green peas, reminiscent of guacamole. This is definitely one of my favourite dishes. To pair with it, I would recommend a glass of EL CAPITAN PINO GRIS from 46 PARALLEL.

The process of choosing wine for your dish or a dish for your wine seems so interesting, complex, but at the same time creative and versatile to me, that I could not help but discuss it with the chefs who participated in the 3d edition of the Worldwide oeufs en meurette Championship organized by the Château du Clos de Vougeot at the beginning of October. And here I would like to finish up with the comment of Eric Ziebold, Chef at Kinship (one Michelin Star), Washington D.C., that he gave to me:

Eric Ziebold

“I do both: sometimes I decide what I am having for dinner, sometimes I decide what I want to drink. It depends on what kind of night or celebration it is. And if I decide what I want to drink, then I build the dish around that. I think all wines can be paired with plant-based dishes, there is nothing about vegan that makes it work with certain wines. And if you want to do a red wine with a vegan dish, then you need to be conscious of that and think about how you will give the dish enough weight, enough richness, and enough texture.”

Eric Ziebold

Despite some basic wine and food pairing principles, there are different approaches to it. And you should not be necessarily a professional to create your own experiences and develop your own tastes. In my opinion, celebration of Christmas and New Year is a great opportunity to practice!

Photo credits: Clase Bech-Poulsen (Geranium), Ingo Pertramer (TIAN), Vlad Nahornyi (100 rokiv tomu vpered), Bénédicte Maniere (Eric Ziebold)

The choice of wine for your meal is not always straightforward. Vegan dishes are often lighter than meat or fish dishes and cheese plates. How then should we choose the right wine? Chefs and sommeliers of reputable gastronomic restaurants from Denmark, Austria, Ukraine and USA helped me to answer this question.

The OIV’s Director General Pau Roca reports on 2021 wine production

Speaking from the OIV’s headquarters in Paris, by web conference, Director General Pau Roca presented the first estimates of 2021 world wine production.

In 2021 extremely low world wine production volume is expected, at a level similar to 2017. This would be the third consecutive year where the global production level is below average.

Low production volume anticipated in the EU, notably in Italy, Spain, and France, which together lost about 22 mhl with respect to 2020 due late spring frost and overall unfavourable climatic conditions.

The only large EU wine producing countries that recorded harvests bigger than 2020 are Germany, Portugal, Romania and Hungary.

First harvest forecasts in the USA indicate production volumes slightly above those of 2020.

Very positive year for Southern Hemisphere vineyards where relatively favourable climatic conditions lead to record high production levels in countries of South America, South Africa and Australia, with New Zealand being the only exception.

World production

Based on the information collected on 28 countries, which represent 85% of the world production in 2020, 2021 world wine production (excluding juices and musts) is estimated between 247.1 and 253.5 mhl, with a mid-range estimate at 250.3 mhl.

World wine production

The 2021 wine production can be considered extremely low, only slightly above the historically small production of 2017. This year’s expected volume seems to have fallen by 4% compared to 2020 (which was already below- average) and is 7% lower than its 20-year average. This is the result of unfavourable climatic conditions that severely impacted the major wine-producing countries in Europe this year. The South Hemisphere and the USA seem to be exceptions in this overall negative scenario and tend to balance the fall of volume seen in the EU.

This is the third year in a row that world wine production is below average. However, the impact of this downfall for the global wine sector is yet to be evaluated given the current context where the covid-19 pandemic is still generating a relatively high degree of volatility and uncertainty.

Northern hemisphere

European Union

EU wine production

In the European Union (EU), weather conditions did not favour grape growers in 2021 and wine production is estimated at 145 mhl (excluding juices and musts). This volume shows an annual decrease of 21 mhl (-13%) compared to 2020. Overall, preliminary estimates for 2021 wine production in EU countries indicate quite a heterogeneous situation, mainly due to different weather conditions throughout the year.

major EU wine producers

Year 2021 proved to be unfortunate for wine production in the three largest EU producing countries – Italy, Spain and France, which together account for 45% of the world and 79% of the EU wine production – mainly due to the late frosts at the beginning of April. Italy, still ranking first at 44.5 mhl, estimates a drop of 9% in its 2021 wine production compared to 2020 as well as its last-five-year average. Spain is the 2nd largest wine producer in the world in 2021 and estimates to produce 35.0 mhl. This level, however, is expected to be 14% lower compared to 2020 and 9% lower than its five-year average. France bore the hardest brunt of a disastrous vintage with severe frost in April, followed by summer rain, hailstorms, and mildew. Consequently, it foresees a production level of 34.2 mhl, representing a drop of 27% compared to 2020.

EU wine producers

Other EU countries that performed negatively with respect to 2020, are Austria (2.3 mhl, -4% /2020) and Greece (1.7 mhl, -26% /2020). Moreover, Croatia is estimated to register approximately 0.7 mhl, with a 13% drop compared to 2020. Slovenia (0.5 mhl, -26%/2020) and Slovakia (0.3 mhl, -2%/2020) also seem to join the group of countries that saw a fall in their wine production levels.

EU wine

On the other hand, several countries within the EU expect a positive growth with respect to last year. For example, Germany, the fourth largest European wine producer, has an estimated production volume of 8.8 mhl (+4%/2020), notwithstanding the late frost episode that heavily affected some of its neighbouring countries. Portugal, with 6.5 mhl, is expected to record a wine production volume slightly above its 2020 level (+1%). Another large producer, Romania, whose harvests have been subject to very high volatility in the recent years, anticipates a surge in wine production in 2021, with 5.3 mhl (+37%/2020), a level 29% above its last five-year average. Hungary’s estimated wine production is 3.1 mhl in 2021, a level 6% above 2020 and 4% higher than its five-year average. Bulgaria, with a production level of 0.9 mhl is 7% higher compared to last year, but 15% lower than its last five-year-average. Lastly, Czech Republic expects a wine production of 0.6 mhl, a level 2% higher than 2020 and in line with its average.

Outside EU

In the USA, the preliminary estimate for 2021 wine production is 24.1 mhl. This figure is 6% higher compared to last year, which was characterized by a relatively low harvest due to wildfires and smoke taint. However, the production is expected to be 3% lower than its five-year average, which can partially be attributed to drought-like conditions in summer in certain wine regions.

At this time of the year, data on grapes harvest in China is not available. However, wine production is likely to continue the contraction that started in 2016 for structural reasons outlined in previous OIV reports on the state of the vitivinicultural1 sector.

Outside EU wine

In the Eastern European countries, the scenario is overall quite positive. Russia’s 2021 wine production, estimated at 4.5 mhl, is marginally higher than last year (+2%/2020) but 2% below its five-year-average. Wine production in Georgia is estimated to increase by 22% compared to the already large production of 2020, with a record-high level of 2.2 mhl, due to a high grape yield this year. In Moldova, despite the unfavourable weather conditions such as late frost and heavy rains, 2021 wine production is estimated at 1.1 mhl, marking an increase of approximately 20% compared to a low 2020 volume which was impacted by a drought.

Wine production volume in Switzerland continues to decline in 2021, due to bad weather – notably frost in April – followed by hail and then mildew hitting the crops in midsummer, thereby recording 0.8 mhl, the lowest volume in 20 years. Swiss wine production volume is expected to be 10% lower compared to 2020 and 22% lower than the average observed over the last five-year period.

Southern Hemisphere

Southern Hemisphere wine

In the Southern Hemisphere, where harvests end in the first trimester of 2021, preliminary figures on wine production tend to be more accurate and reliable in this period of the year. After a strong decline in wine production last year caused by unfavourable climatic conditions, 2021 has witnessed a sharp increase among all major producing countries. The wine production estimate for the Southern Hemisphere in 2021 is a record-high 59 mhl, +19% compared to 2020.

South American countries have registered steep increases in the production levels with respect to 2020. The lack of severe weather conditions this year, usually caused by El Nino seems to have contributed to successful harvests and high wine production levels in 2021. Chile is the largest producer of the region in 2021, with wine production peaking at 13.4 mhl, the highest volume recorded in 20 years, with a 30% increase compared to its 2020 level. In 2021, Argentina’s wine production has risen significantly to 12.5 mhl (+16%/2020) after a very low production registered last year. Brazil has a high estimated wine production volume of 3.6mhl in 2021. This is Brazil’s largest production volume since 2008, recording a +60% with respect to the last year and +46% compared to its five-year average.

South American wine

In South Africa, wine production in 2021 is estimated at 10.6 mhl, which marks an increase of 2% in production compared to 2020. This is the third consecutive year of continuous growth after a prolonged period of drought which started in 2016.

In Oceania, Australia registered its highest harvest since 2006, shooting its wine production level in 2021 up to 14.2 mhl, (+30% compared to 2020 and +14% with respect to its last five-year average). A combination of mild temperatures, low disease pressure and favourable harvest conditions have accrued to this large harvest in Australia, after the previous two vintages being ravaged by drought and fires. New Zealand is the only exception in the Southern Hemisphere. After a record-high wine production level last year, New Zealand has produced 2.7 mhl in 2021 which is 19% lower than last year and 13% below the last-five-year average. This reduced harvest has largely been caused by late frosts in springtime.

Source: OIV

Speaking from the OIV’s headquarters in Paris, by web conference, Director General Pau Roca presented the first estimates of 2021 world wine production.

Italian wines: exports are growing

The exports of Italian wines in the first half of 2021 increased by 16%.

In the first half of 2021, Italian wine exports in value increased by 16% to 3.3 billion euros, largely driven by strong performances among sparkling wines and wines from Piedmont and Tuscany.

By the end of the year, exports are expected to reach a record high of 7 billion euros, with Italian sparkling wines up 26% and still wines up 16%.

Bag-in-box wine exports, which saw an increase in the previous period thanks to lockdowns, are now down 7%, in part due to competition from Spanish producers.

According to the data released by Unione Italiana Vini, the leading export market is the United States, where Italian sparkling wines grew by 75% between 2015 and 2018, followed by France with an increase of + 45%. In the first half of 2021, exports of Italian still bottled wines increased by 12% in the US, 18% in Germany and 19% in Canada. In the UK, still wine exports fell by 8%.

Among the Italian regions, Piedmont holds the lead, with its exports growing by 24%, while exports from Tuscany have grown by 20%.

Giovanni Mantovani, general manager of Veronafiere and Vinitaly, said: “The sector has, hopefully definitively, emerged from an unprecedented crisis. Now, particularly with our iconic wines, we are at the centre of the phenomenon linked to post-Covid revenge consumption: a driving effect from which to start again, consolidating market shares even more.”

Photo: winescholarguild.org

The exports of Italian wines in the first half of 2021 increased by 16%.

UK Consumer Survey: Central and Eastern European wine

Drinks+ as an IEF2021 media partner joined the session organized by OenoCo International, where Rose Murray Brown talked about “Engaging with the wine consumer on a limited budget”. As a part of her talk, she shared the results of the UK Consumer Survey on Central and Eastern European wine.

Rose Murray Brown, Master of Wine is Scotland’s leading award-winning drinks journalist, working as The Scotsman’s weekly drinks columnist and expert for the past 34 years.

Rose Murray Brown

During her session at the International Economic Forum 2021, Ms. Brown focused on how Central and Eastern European countries could engage better with wine consumers. Over the last week, she has been running a survey with her UK consumers data base on the Central and Eastern European wines.

Based on her research, Ms. Brown states that lots of people like Central and Eastern European countries all together, but each county has its own clearly defined identity and long authentic wine history. Some of them had 30-40-year gap and they had to restart their wine industry, some are a little bit more advanced.Central and Eastern European wine

Among challenges to mention, Central and Eastern European countries compose fragmented market, they have limited resources and little generic funding. In addition, there is a worldwide competition – the amount of money spent in the UK by the Australians, the New Zealanders, the Chileans on quality wines turned to be a good habit and it is truly difficult to compete against these countries.

However, a lot of the UK consumers are used to these wines, and they want to taste new wines as well. They want stimulation, they want to explore new tastes and flavours.

At the same time, there are lots of advantages of the Central and Eastern European wine region. Those are diversity, novelty value, native grapes, unique tastes, and different cultures – there is so much to learn, and it requires solidarity and ability to work together whether you are a region or a country. “When you pull resources, you can get your message across much better,” Rose Murray Brown convinces.UK Wine Consumer SurveyUK Consumer Survey on Central and Eastern European wine demonstrates that UK consumers do not know much about this region’s wines as 80 respondents failed to complete the survey because of lack of knowledge. But 125 people did complete the survey.

The research was focused on 12 countries: Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania, Moldova, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Hungary, Ukraine, Croatia, Slovenia. The list of countries was composed randomly in the survey forms.

One of the questions was “Which country do you rate highest in terms of ‘wine quality’?” and the following one – “…in terms of ‘value for money’ for wine?” The absolute leaders turned to be Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova. Ukraine is not in top 9 countries in this list.

    wine quality CEE Value for money wine

The fourth question concerned the country which the respondents were most likely to attend a ‘virtual tasting’ on. Again, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria lead the ranking. Ukraine holds the 11th position – one before the last.virtual tasting CEE

Answering the question which country they are most likely to visit post-pandemic to explore its wine regions, the UK consumers chose Hungary as the most preferable destination. However, as a matter of fact, people visiting Hungary are likely to stay only in Budapest. And the challenge is to bring tourists to vineyards and wineries outside the capital. In this list, Ukraine ranks the last.Wine tourism CEE

There is no need to despair as the survey represents the UK market only. However, a few takeaways are necessary to bring on the table. Firstly, there is lack of knowledge about and interest in certain Central and Eastern European countries, including Ukraine. Secondly, there is a great chance to fill the gap by working out branding and digital marketing strategies, by cooperating with other wine regions and countries, as well as to take part in different completions and awards to demonstrate your product.

Drinks+ Media Group fully realizes the challenge and aims to support the Central and Eastern European wine region. We invite all active, optimistic and creative entrepreneurs to become a nominee at the Wine Travel Awards that seek to re-energize the tourism and wine industry affected by the pandemic. WTA is an efficient and cost-effective tool for your global and national advancement!

Drinks+ as an IEF2021 media partner joined the session organized by OenoCo International, where Rose Murray Brown talked about “Engaging with the wine consumer on a limited budget”. As a part of her talk, she shared the results of the UK Consumer Survey on Central and Eastern European wine.

Trends to 2025 for the global beverage alcohol industry

Daniel Mettyear looked at how the global beverage alcohol industry is changing through the Covid-19 era with insights and analysis from the latest IWSR data.

On June 10, the Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris held a session with Daniel Mettyear, Research Director (Africa & Wine), who dived into performance and future development expectations of the key markets and categories.

Looking at total beverage alcohol (TBA) volume consumption at the global level, the actual resilience of the drinks market can be remarked over the past year. In fact, it exceeded previous expectations of 12% TBA decline in 2020 against 2019. In the end, it turned to be just a 6,2% decline what shows strong market resilience.

Total Beverage alcohol

Even though every country has experienced a different path during the pandemic, there are certain components which drove the global tendency. Firstly, the industry pivoted quickly into the market. Adaptation was a key throughout the pandemic for everybody – distributors, retailers, legislators, even consumers.

The second of those features was related to strong alcohol consumption culture. It was supported by the e-commerce development sector and virtual tastings trend.

Two key drivers of global TBA are the USA and Chine. The return of TBA is expected to reach pre-Covid levels by 2023 growing 1,5% per year. Considering the consumption of pure alcohol, it is going to grow less – around 1% per year. Therefore, it underlines the movement towards lower alcohol products.

TBA regions

Breaking down TBA by regions, North America and the CIS were among the best performing regions. The USA, Canada, Russia demonstrated growth during 2020 depending on how severely affected those of the countries were by the virus itself. Similarly impacted, Brazil fostered some remarkable results as well. Those also impacted the South America region as a whole which only declined by below 3% during 2020.

However, in the rest of the regions, exposure to the own trade and to tourism, extending lockdowns and even alcohol bans in case of South Africa, India, and Mexico have made Europe, Asia, and Central America particularly susceptible to the situation. And Africa posted one of the worst results in 2020.

2021 is considered a year of transition rather than of starting recovery. Looking forward to 2025, we may see some healthy growth rate that is going to help us get back to pre-Covid levels, as mentioned by 2023.

Beer, wine, cider, spirits

On the category level, the performance of key categories may be pursued. Immediate Covid impact leaded to 6% decline in TBA. There is consistent decline between beer, wine, spirits, and to the least extend, cider. In contrast, the RTDs level grew by 26,4% in 2020. It is driven overwhelmingly by the continuing house sales boom in the US.

This is a trend that draws on demand for lower level of refreshment, variety of flavour, and convenience what switches us to a home premise. This was supported by a surprising level of a new product development and innovation despite the timing and the situation.

Looking on the final graph on long-term recovery prospects, all in all, except for RTDs, which remain an outlier, growth rate is going to be steady.

Spirits market

Some spirits markets received one-time Covid boost, such as Russia, Australia, the UK, Canada. There is an inverse V tread with a spike in 2020. They had an existing low on premise share of consumption in common which was quickly switched to the home premise. Furthermore, there has been a decline in socializing, eating out and travel, and it promoted the home consumption increase in 2020.

So, longer term trends of decline will certainly return to Russia, Canada, and the UK. However, Australia was looking dynamic at the moment, a flat year is expected before continuing moving towards 2025.

Still Wine

A similar lockdown boost in still wine can be observed in Canada, the UK, and Germany. However, the long-term trend for wine has declined in these countries. Some of the markets demonstrated better resilience. For example, wine remained stable in Brazil during 2020 and even grew by 28%. The US and Colombia also performed well, and Italy experienced a moderate level of decline despite its harsh situation.

On the other side of the spectrum, China’s still wine market has continuously declined (about 30%) and experienced some difficulties. There was a big decline in Russia related to a new wine legislation of declassification of the market. Lockdowns, travel restrictions and low penetration of e-commerce contributed to the trend.

Sparkling wine

Even though sparkling wine is highly associated with toasting, parting, and celebrating, it showed a remarkable resilience in 2020. Surprisingly, it performs better than still wine market holding in under 5%. The attitude towards when and how sparkling wine can be consumed has been shifting. Colombia had a major home trend. Big female consumption was driven in Russia. Cava, Asti, Prosecco were registered in record sales in 2020.

On the negative side, the loss of tourism hit Thailand particularly hard. Philippines, Chine, and Brazil were impacted by trade exposure and the loss of occasion. The slight decline was observed in South Africa closely due to alcohol bans.

However, all in all, sparkling wine remains extremely robust and resilient. A quicker recovery for the category is expected comparing to previous forecasts. The pre-Covid levels may be regained by 2022.

Daniel Mettyear looked at how the global beverage alcohol industry is changing through the Covid-19 era with insights and analysis from the latest IWSR data.


Dominated by an unprecedented health and economic crisis, 2020 was particularly challenging for the Champagne wine sector and its exports worldwide. However the industry is showing real resistance as the report of the Committee Champagne reveals. The Committee collected data from all shippers and carried out the studies on the various markets to make an analytical report on Champagne sales 2020.

In 2020, Champagne shipments reached 244 million bottles, a decrease of 17.9% compared to 2019. Turnover for the sector was €4.2 billion excluding taxes: a loss of €845 million in just one year.

Champagne wine export drop

The French market, already bearish before the crisis, continues to decline. The United States, the United Kingdom and Japan, the three largest export markets for Champagne wine, also recorded a sharp drop in volume in 2020. However, this drop in exports is mitigated by the relative resilience of traditional continental European markets. There was significant growth in the Australian market as well. Despite a sustained decline, the Champagne’s export markets appear to be more resilient than the French market.

Charles Goemaere

Finally, Champagne’s ability to avoid a much worse hit from the crisis is testimony to the fact that consumers still hold it close to their hearts. “Consumers have been keen to bring a little sparkle into dark days, to treat themselves with quality products when so many other sources of pleasure have been inaccessible. The strength of this emotional bond with consumers is an invitation for both winegrowers and Champagne houses to increase educational efforts around Champagne in 2021 and work to further enhance the appellation’s desirability”, notes Charles Goemaere, General Director.

The Champagne appellation of controlled origin, with which quality, prestige and celebration are associated, constitutes an invaluable heritage. It is a symbol of France in the world. The people of Champagne have been protecting this common heritage for over 150 years.

There are 16 200 winemakers, 130 cooperatives and 360 houses producing Champagne in France. Champagne wine territory constitutes of 34 300 hectares, 3 regions (Grand Est, Hauts-de-France, Île-de-France), 5 departments (Aube, Aisne, Haute-Marne, Marne, Seine-et-Marne), and 319 Crus (communes).

Champagne wine territory

An unusual year

Exports of French wines and spirits suffered from the effects of the global pandemic in 2020. Turnover in the sector fell by 13.9% to €12.1 billion after a record 2019. Nevertheless, the sector remains France’s second biggest trade surplus (€11 billion) after aeronautics. Wine exports decreased by volume (-5.1%) and by value (-11.3%).

Despite suffering a greater decrease in exports than the rest of the sector, Champagne wine retained the second highest turnover among French wines and spirits, accounting by value for 30% of wine exports and 20% of wine and spirit exports combined. Despite a particularly testing 2020, Cognac remains the number one French wine and spirit export, with a turnover of €2.7 billion (-21.4%).

The closure of bars and restaurants, restrictions on celebrations and the cancellation of numerous events have curtailed Champagne sales and consumption, often drastically. The year has been a roller coaster, with very sharp falls (April -68%, May -56%) and equally sharp rises (+50 points between April and June), demonstrating the circumstantial nature of the drop in sales.

Champagne wine shipment

The global pandemic has accelerated the shrinking of the French market, with 2020 marking its tenth consecutive year of decline (-19.9%). The domestic market now accounts for 46.4% of Champagne sales, compared to 47.5% in 2019. The closure of bars, hotels, and restaurants for part of the year, alongside a major drop in supermarket sales, particularly in spring, had a significant impact on sales within France.

Exports also suffered because of the pandemic and the uncertainty that marked 2020. Champagne exports fell by 16.1% to 130.8 million bottles. In contrast to previous years, it was the European Union—including the United Kingdom— that weathered the storm best, with sales dropping 13.4% to 66.2 million bottles. In the rest of the world, the downturn was stronger: 64.6 million bottles were sold, down 18.8% compared to 2019. Export markets now account for 53.6% of Champagne sales (compared to 52.5% last year).

The turnover of Champagne shipments in 2020 reached 4.2 billion euros (excluding taxes, from Champagne), thus shrinking by 16.7% compared to 2019. In France, it stands at 1.6 billion euros (-17.9%) and 2.6 billion euros for exports (-15.9%).

In 2020, for the third consecutive year, Champagne wine exports overtook sales inside France, albeit in a very different context to previous years. Sales outside of France totalled 130.8 million bottles (-16.1%), resulting in a turnover of €2.6 billion (-15.9%). This meant exports accounted for 53.6% of sales by volume (+1.1 points) and 61.0% of turnover (+0.6 points).

Leading markets experiencing difficulty

5 first markets on volume and value of Champagne wine are the UK, the US, Japan, Germany, and Belgium.

Champagne wine markets

The year was marked by severe disruption to Champagne distribution. The closure of bars and restaurants for part of the year forced distributors to reinvent themselves: they developed a whole host of innovative solutions to try to weather the crisis, from food and wine pairings for delivery or to take away to diversification and the growth of online sales.

However, it was not enough to maintain Champagne sales: the United States recorded a drop of 18.8%, the United Kingdom was down 21.7%, and Japan—a country particularly affected by the closure of bars and restaurants—saw volumes fall by 24.5%.

That said, four of Champagne’s leading markets managed to withstand the challenges of 2020 or even post growth: Canada (-5.1%), Belgium (-1.9%), Sweden (+1.0%) and Australia (+11.2%).

Regional pockets of resistance emerge

There were some regional trends towards stability and growth in 2020. The Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway) all saw a growth in volumes compared to 2019.

While this trend was less marked in East Asia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea managed to withstand the crisis, with a fall in exports of less than 10% and growth in the latter case.

Finally, Oceania emerged from 2020 with a clean sheet, thanks to dynamic growth in Australia, stability in New Zealand and the region’s effective handling of the pandemic.

Evolution of Champagne wine shipment

French overseas territories

In 2020, Champagne exports to French overseas territories amounted to 4.1 million bottles, down by 16.4%. As a result of this decrease in volumes, turnover shrank by 16.4% to €58.4 million.

Martinique and Réunion were the two main markets in the French overseas territories, with 1.2 million bottles each, down by 18.7% for Martinique and stable at -0.3% for Réunion. Guadeloupe completed the top three, with 1.0 million bottles (-28.9%).

All the markets experienced a drop in sales, with the exception of New Caledonia (+2.0% at 0.3 million bottles) and Saint Martin (+18.5% at 0.1 million bottles).

Based on the materials of the Committee Champagne.

Dominated by an unprecedented health and economic crisis, 2020 was particularly challenging for the Champagne wine exports worldwide. However the industry is showing real resistance as the report of the Committee Champagne on Champagne wine sales 2020 reveals.

Ukrainian wine hit the headlines of Financial Times

Jancis Robinson gave recommendations to the Londoners, where they may find the wines Shabo and Beykush; as concerns 46 Parallel – she is ready to taste this wine in Kyiv.

Given the number of views counted on drinks.ua for our news that Jancis Robinson tasted wines by three Ukrainian producers, this information was appealing to the many. “This piece of news was lost today on very few,” – one of our friends on FB commented. Indeed, more than two thousand readers during the first three days allowed the publication to become a leader among professional resources. Those were only Easter baking recipes that surpassed it in terms of popularity on gastronomic channels🙂 .

And here’s another piece of news: the tasting of Ukrainian wines initiated by Drinks+ Media Group was featured in the last Saturday issue of the Financial Times. Moreover, Ukraine was even in the headline, which, believe me, is worth much. And even too much🙂. Frankly speaking, our wines were featured along with the exotic Ethiopian ones. But when you get down to it, you understand that, for us, Ethiopia is a flagship, from the perspective of promotion on the international stage. After all, Ethiopia which was an exclusively “coffee country” not so long ago, currently has its national stand at international wine exhibitions, whereas Ukraine is only talking about it (not too confidently and amicably yet) .

So what did the readers of the Financial Times published in 24 cities around the world, read about our wines? In her regular publication, Jancis Robinson focused, again, on six Ukrainian wines offered by Drinks+, which she had previously assessed and described on her website. We should remind our readers that Mrs. Robinson is one of the world’s top-end wine critics and one may appreciate her no-compromise approach to assessing wines as well as her sense of humor, by subscribing to JancisRobinson.com. Jancis is undoubtedly the most talented, but also the most principled wine journalist and writer of our time (co-author of Hugh Johnson’s “World Atlas of Wine”), a regular columnist for the Financial Times since 1989, holder of the Order of the British Empire and honorary advisor to Her Majesty Queen of Great Britain.

Robinson’s principled approach is legendary, culminating in a true story that happened in 2004, when after blind tasting Mrs. Robinson gave 12/20 to Château Pavie vintage 2003. Zest was added to the situation due to the fact that Robert Parker had given 98/100 to that wine coming from St. Emilion (at that time, it was sold at $ 230 in the US stores). Moreover, the tasting notes were unambiguous: “Completely unappetising overripe aromas. Why? Porty sweet. Port is best from the Douro not St. Emilion. Ridiculous wine more reminiscent of a late-harvest Zinfandel than a red Bordeaux with its unappetising green notes. 12/20”.

Thus, despite her inherent rigour, Jancis Robinson gave excellent points to six Ukrainian wines and provided her tasting comments on JancisRobinson.com. In the article published by the Financial Times, she reiterated the impression that the wines had made. Without skirting contentious issues, which primarily related to packaging (which is fixable if our winemakers find these remarks well-grounded), Mrs. Robinson noted that Ukraine had pleasantly surprised her and particularly emphasized the autochthonous Telti Kuruk, calling it the “star of the show”. Due to the fact that FT’s headquarters is located in London, in the end of the article, the columnist also recommended to the Londoners affordable exotic wines (although these wines were not included into the tasting pool) and a place in the UK’s capital, where they could buy such wines: «Shabo, Grande Reserve Saperavi 2015 Ukraine 13.3%. £55.20 Hedonism». In addition, she noted that earlier the same store there was selling – attention! – quotation: Beykush’s seriously good Ukrainian dried-grape blend of Saperavi and Tempranillo”.

Thus, the precedent has been set: Ukrainian wines were in the headlines of one of the world’s oldest and most reputable newspapers. And the most discerning wine critic recommends Ukrainian wines to her readers a priori. Moreover, she is so confident in the new-wave Ukrainian producers that assesses their work as seriously good. Now, perhaps, it’s high time to figure out, which of the Ukrainian wines were tasted by Jancis Robinson and what gave her such confidence.

Jancis Robinson’s tasting pool included six Ukrainian wines by three companies: 46 Parallel, Beykush, and Shabo. As we wrote earlier, she assessed them pursuant to a 20-point scale ranging from Outstanding Wine to Excellent. Note that Jancis Robinson’s comments are addressed to the professionals and can be adequately perceived only by a trained audience. As shoutcasters used to announce: take your children away from the screens!

In other words, we ask the wine neophytes not to disturb: it is only a professional who will understand that there is not always a defect implied by a remark from Robinson. As a rule, this is an ordinary business remark from one of the most principled judges in the world. Incidentally, we would like to speak aside and provide glimpses of Jancis Robinson’s and her team’s fresh impressions of the successful 2020 vintage in Bordeaux, published on JancisRobinson.com: Ch Beychevelle 2020 St-Julien– 16 points; Ch Pichon Baron, Les Tourelles de Longueville 2020 Pauillac – 16 points; Ch Montrose, La Dame de Montrose 2020 St-Estèphe (we should remind you that this wine participated in the landmark Paris tasting organized by Steven Spurrier) – 16.5 points; Ch Léoville Las Cases, La Petite Marquise 2020 St-Julien – 15.5+; Ch Pape Clément 2020 Pessac-Léognan – 16.5+; Ch Lascombes 2020 Margaux – 15.5; Ch Marquis de Terme 2020 Margaux – 15.5; Ch du Glana 2020 St-Julien – 15 … These figures are the points given to the wineries of the sacramental 46 parallel, and are provided here in order to understand, what kind of wine pool the Ukrainian wines got into.

Thus, Jancis Robinson’s note that she was “delighted to taste this sample” and “would love to taste this wine in Kyiv” – should be read as the highest praise. In fact, as we understand, for Jancis Robinson, tasting these wines even became a motivation – though only a desire yet – to come to Ukraine. To be more precise: to come again. I hope we do not give out Jancis’ personal secret, but in one of her letters to Drinks+ editorial board, she told us about her visit to our country: “By the way, in 1970 I visited Odessa, but on the very first night I was woken to a message that cholera outbreak had begun and we had to leave immediately!” And now, more than half a century later, in her comments about two Ukrainian wines, Jancis expressed her readiness to taste them at the place of their origin🙂.

We would venture a guess: it was due to the Ukrainian winemakers, whose new Ukrainian wines had captivated the critic to such extent that the impressions made by the Ukrainian wines supplanted the memories of the turbulent night and the Odessa epidemic in the critic’s mind.

46 Parallel Grand Admiral Brut Nature 2018

46 Parallel Grand Admiral Brut Nature 2018

Drinks+ Files:

100% handwork. Limited edition of 2620 bottles. «Late degorgage» is used in a technology process: discharge of sediment (degorgage) is made as needed, and not for entire batching as a whole. Aged on lees for min 26 months, the subsequent ones are still being aged.

Comments by Mrs. Jancis Robinson JancisRobinson.com:

16 points.

“Blend of Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. Traditional method. There is a host of text on the back label but it’s so tiny that, alas, it’s illegible. Not much mousse visible but on the palate there is no shortage of tiny bubbles. Clean but very light nose. The fruit/acid balance has been well judged in terms of dosage; it’s dry enough – just. I would happily drink this at one of Kyiv’s wine bars. Light astringency on the finish but not too much. Light lemon mousse flavour. Perfectly respectable even if a little light on flavor.”

Alcohol 12,3%

When to drink: 2021-2023

46 Parallel Grand Admiral Merlot 2016 

46 Parallel Grand Admiral Merlot 2016 

Drinks+ Files:

Grapes are delivered from Kherson region. Fully manual production and micro wine-making principles. The wine was aged in 100% new French oak with “medium” and “medium+” burning. The highest requirements at all stages of production. It is a limited edition of premium wines produced in Ukraine from grapes of the best suppliers. In 2020, the company’s wines came into the export markets of Canada, China, Nigeria and were represented at the exhibitions in Paris and New York.

Comments by Mrs. Jancis Robinson JancisRobinson.com:

15,5 points.

“From 20-year-old vines, ‘the best grape suppliers’ and, according to the label, ‘proudly Ukrainian’. This producer makes much of being in the same 46th parallel as Bordeaux. Aged for 24 months in 100% new Bordeaux barriques and then for 12 months in bottle. Limited edition of 272 bottles (one barrique?). This bottle number 251 has a leather neck pennant. Transparent garnet. Pretty mature nose! But definitely sweet, spicy Merlot, plus a bit of sweet, spicy oak. I’d happily drink this in Kyiv. But I suspect it might have had a bit more fruit concentration a year or two ago. Just a little stringy on the finish. But fascinating to have tasted it”.

Alcohol 12,3%

When to drink: 2019-2022

Comments by Anna Gorkun, СЕО and owner of 46 Parallel Wine Group:

“Presenting the wines of such a young company as ours for assessment by such a principled critic as Jancis Robinson was a risky step: after all, so much effort was put into our premium line that, of course, waiting for the world critic’s verdict was tense. But, as many of you might have understood already: we are not looking for simple ways and are bound to get to the top. And, yes, we are confident in our work and proud of it! The production of premium quality wines in a high price segment is a long, risky, and uncompromising process. Given that from the very start, the company has relied on premium, and, therefore, ideal, quality of wines, we use only selected grapes of the highest quality in our production, while controlling all stages of vine cultivation, including, significant reduction of load on grapes clusters and harvesting grapes by hand. In addition, we have been using only new French barrique. All this is implemented in the framework of a very limited release. I am pleased that Jancis Robinson appreciated our wines and even expressed her readiness to taste both samples in Kyiv. I hope it will come true and if advisor to Her Majesty Queen of Great Britain ever comes to Ukraine, we will again have something to surprise her with! I think that in the near future, we will be able to offer our wines in the UK retail, too: it is a promising market for the wines of the class like ours. This is not just acknowledgement; it is a confirmation that we are moving in the right direction. Our goal is to put Ukraine on the world’s winemaking map and worthily confirm our credo “Proudly Ukrainian”. Together with our colleagues – SHABO and Beykush Winery – we demonstrate to the world, once again, that the wine-making Ukraine is entering the world arena. And we also demonstrate to the Ukrainians that domestic wines deserve to be highly appreciated on all continents and preferred in their own homeland. I would like to extend my gratitude Drinks+ for the idea and the realized opportunity to familiarize the English wine critic # 1 with the wines by 46 Parallel Wine Group”.

Shabo Telti-Kuruk Grande Reserve 2017 

Shabo Telti-Kuruk Grande Reserve 2017 

Drinks+ Files:

The wine that gained the status of AOC, vintage varietal dry white wine. Made from autochthonous grapes Telti Kuruk. All stages of production are controlled by international experts of SARL «Derenoncourt» (France). Grapes harvested by hand only from the best micro-plots of unique Shabo terroir when the air temperature is relatively low, carefully placed into the boxes (up to 12 kg per container) and loaded into refrigerated trucks with the temperature between +8 °С and +10 °С. Fifteen minutes later, the grapes are already at the Fine wine department where they pass 3 stages selection. The wine has a refreshing taste with light mineral notes.

Comments by Mrs. Jancis Robinson JancisRobinson.com:

16 points

“This is apparently an indigenous variety associated with the Ottoman period and the name means ‘fox’s tail’, the shape of the bunches. Shabo is the name of a village near Odessa where winemaking was revived by Swiss colonists in 1822. There are 1,200 ha of vineyards in Shabo. Stéphane Derenoncourt is cited on the back  label.  Numbered bottles. The background notes say that production is always limited to 4,000 bottles but my bottle is number 8,336. Aged in French and Austrian oak for ‘at least nine months’. Hand-picked grapes into small crates. Gravity-fed winery. Shabo is both the name of the producer (founded in 2003) and the village/terroir. Light, fresh nose of almonds. Quite a phenolic grip on the palate but no particular oaky flavour. This is clearly a variety with quite a distinctive minerally character and nobility. There’s a laurel-leaf freshness. I can see why they boast it can last ‘at least five to seven years’. Intriguing! I wonder whether it’s identical to some Turkish grape variety?”

Alcohol: 12,4%

When to drink: 2021-2025

Comments by Giorgi Iukuridze, co-founder and СЕО of SHABO:

“The world community is already very well-familiar with our wines aged 5+ years. They have regularly gained the highest awards at the most prestigious tasting competitions. Including our 2014 Cabernet, which entered the TOP-5 of the world’s best cabernets. In order to achieve such results, our family created SHABO almost 20 years ago. This year, we are presenting a collection of Great wines called Iukuridze Family Wine Heritage. At the same time, at the current stage, our winemakers see a great potential in the 2017 vintage. Therefore, it was interesting for us to receive a feedback on the Grande Reserve wine line. The high appreciation from Jancis Robinson of this still young wine, which has not yet unveiled itself, confirms to us that it has very high chances of becoming the Great wine”.

Beykush Timorasso 2018

Beykush Timorasso 2018

Drinks+ Files:

9 years old vines of Temorasso, which are growing in the unique place, on Cape Beykush, whose shores are washed on one side by Berezansky Liman, on the other by Beykush Bay. The variety was recently considered endangered, at the time of planting in Ukraine there were only 50 hectares in Italy.

100% handwork. Fermentation at 15 °C at stainless steel tanks during 14 days. Aging in French oak barriques for 12 months.

Comments by Mrs. Jancis Robinson JancisRobinson.com:

15,5 points.

“Family-owned estate of 11 ha. ‘Made in the Ukraine with love … on the Black Sea coast of Mykolaiv region according to the front label. Apparently the vineyard is on a promontory. Who would have thought to have found a varietal Timorasso here? Vines are nine years old. Aged for 12 months in French barriques.

Deep colour and that characteristic ‘burnished’ nose of Timorasso, followed by slight ‘cheesiness’. On the palate it’s a little more ordinary and the oak may not have been tip-top. The phenolics are a little rasping. But the label’s attractive and it’s a very enterprising effort. No shortage of acidity.”

Alcohol: 13,8%

When to drink: 2021-2025

Beykush Kara Kermen 2016 

Beykush Kara Kermen 2016 

Comments by Mrs. Jancis Robinson JancisRobinson.com:

16,5 points.

“Nine year-old vines in the Mykolaiv region, Chernomorka. 50/50 Saperavi/Tempranillo. Grapes are dried so that they lose 40% of their weight which can apparently take up to 14 days. Dried grapes are slowly pressed, and the resulting wine is aged for 24 months in French oak. I wonder what the potential alcohol of the grapes was when they were picked? Skillful handling of the sweet oak on the nose of this wine. Good balance of ripe fruit and freshness with no apparent residual sugar nor excess of acidity. Very clean, ripe fruit. I don’t think I’d ever be able to pick out the two grape varieties blind but they make a very pleasing whole.”

Alcohol: 14,5%

When to drink: 2020-2025

Comments by Evgeny Shneyderis, owner of Beykush Winery:

“The wine critic, who is at the industry’s top level, has tasted the Ukrainian wines, and assessment of such wines has resulted in establishing that they are on a par with the worthiest European samples. I hope this will help those who still have the [inferiority] complexes related to the wines made in Ukraine, to get rid of them. My special gratitude is extended to Drinks+ for organizing the tasting”.

Note by Drinks+ editorial board

We presume that it would be fair to say “thank you” to Mrs. Jancis Robinson on behalf of the entire Ukrainian wine community: not only did she find time and agreed to taste the Ukrainian wines of the “new wave”, but also told about such wines the readers of one of the world’s most reputable and serious newspapers. The media are the fifth power, which is equally capable of destroying the winemaker’s reputation and lauding it. It is particularly the case, when the world’s class media are implied. We hope that was the moment of truth enabling the Ukrainian winemaking industry to turn over a new leaf in its history.

Jancis Robinson gave recommendations to the Londoners, where they may find the wines Shabo and Beykush; as concerns 46 Parallel – she is ready to taste this wine in Kyiv.