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Gastronomy and Wine Portal

War-Time Ukrainian Wine Imports. We Are Awaiting a Chance to Drink Champagne!

The war has become a challenge for all types of Ukrainian business. It has also influenced wine importers.


During the defence emergency, in 2022, the turnover of all types of alcoholic beverages, including products of the local wine market, sharply decreased. In January-June 2022, Ukrainians bought 58% less wine than in the same period in 2021. According to the results of 2022, the value of imported alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to Ukraine was USD 490 million. It is 32% less than in 2021*. The most significant decline in the wine market was related to sparkling wines. In January-April 2022, imports of sparkling wines in Ukraine decreased by 31% compared to 2021. However, in the same time, in 2023, this figure increased by 61% in volume and almost doubled in value. The closer we get to the Victory, the higher the demand for sparkling wines. In general, the volume of imports of sparkling wine from the key supplier countries in 2022 decreased in the following shares compared to 2021: Italy by 43.5%, Spain by 33.6%, France by 18.1%, Georgia by 68%, and Moldova by 46%. The main importers saw a decrease in the supply of sparkling wine as follows: Bureau of Wines 34.5%, Wine Hall 5.5%, ATB-Market 20.4%, Fozzy Group 65.9%, Bacardi-Martini Ukraine 46.3%, METRO Cash & Carry Ukraine 31.9%.**

Because of the negative consequences of russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, large companies – importers, distributors, retailers – whose business is related to wine and high-proof alcohol experienced significant logistical difficulties. These changes prompted them to transform and optimise their business processes. One of the key challenges that Ukrainian companies had to face was wine logistics improvements, both on the foreign and domestic markets. In addition, from the beginning of the war, the government introduced a list of critical imports for about five months, which allowed limited cross-border foreign currency payments. Of course, there was no wine in this list… Wine logistics are now settling down, but there is a problem with the risks of paying for the goods. Many companies have switched to deferring payments for 30 days instead of 120, which leads to the search for additional payment resources and changes the principles of supply. Importers mainly import wines that sell faster.

Another pain for importers is that the occupiers are mercilessly destroying Ukrainian infrastructure, causing millions of euros in damage. For example, in May 2022, the warehouse of the wine importer and distributor Bureau of Wines, which owns Europe’s biggest wine store, GoodWine, was damaged. The losses amounted to about EUR 15 million. In August 2023, an enemy missile completely destroyed the FOZZY Cash&Carry hypermarket in Odesa – everything in the store burned down, with preliminary estimates of the damage reaching hundreds of millions of hryvnias. As for the forecasts, market experts hope that consumer indicators will be able to return to 2021 levels in about two years after the end of the war. D+ surveyed key importing companies. You can read about the changes in business during the war, the losses suffered by companies, and what helps them survive despite everything in the first-person comments.

*Data from the National Research Centre Institute of Agrarian Economics

**Analytics of AR-Group


Dmytro Saifudinov, Director of Vinfort LLC: “Plans for the coming year: to continue living and working in order to spite our enemies and please our friends”

Дмитро Сайфудинов

How did your business change during the war?

Today, all our transformations or problems are the same as those faced by all Ukrainian businesses. I will try to list the main ones:

– Significant shortage of staff, mainly due to emigration. Unfortunately, some were killed on the front line.

– Range decrease – not all products remained as popular among the buyers, as they were before.

– Significant increase in selling prices: due to the increased prices set by the suppliers; growth of the cost of logistics, both domestic and international.

– Deterioration of terms of cooperation with many partners, both internal and external.

– Reduction of mark-ups to maintain more or less acceptable prices.

How did the volumes of deliveries and sales change? What factors particularly affected the decrease/increase in these indicators?

According to the 2022 results, the sales volumes fell by 30% in Hryvnias and by 40% in bottles, compared to the 2021 results. In the first half of 2023, there remains a significant drop in pieces, compared to the 2021 figure (40%) and a small drop in Hryvnias. The main factors behind the fall include closure of a large number of retail outlets, a continuous «prohibition», curfews, and, certainly, a significant increase in prices. As concerns deliveries, everything is simple: there had been no deliveries virtually until the 4-th quarter of 2022. This is due to the ban on imports, but even more to the unwillingness of foreign suppliers to make deliveries to the country at war.

ТОВ «Вінфорт»

Vinfort and partners. Chateau Magnol, Bordeaux, September 2023

Has the company’s price segment selection strategy in the procurement system changed? Can you give percentages of such changes by categories?

The procurement system has not undergone any significant changes. Undoubtedly, we are looking for products from a lower price segment, but we do not refuse the high segment ones, either. If analyzed by price categories, the 2021-2023 transformations are insignificant and are as follows:

– low-priced segment or segment of economy offers (low-priced): -12%. This segment has decreased significantly, mainly due to the transition of goods to a more expensive category:

– middle-priced segment: +11%. Actually, due to increase in prices for the low-priced goods.

– high-priced segment and premium segment (luxury). These segments virtually have not changed.

What changes has the import system in your company’s portfolio undergone, specifically: procurement channels, supplying countries, logistics routes, and warehouse storage arrangements (your own warehouses or those of your partners)? Can you estimate the increase in these processes’ cost and their impact on the company’s pricing policy for the end consumer.

The import system virtually has not changed. The warehouses were divided: we store a part of the goods in our own warehouse, and a part at our partners’ warehouse located in another city. The cost of storage and logistics did not affect the products’ prices significantly, though it did affect them.

What new trademarks of wines, strong alcoholic beverages, etc. appeared during this time in your company’s portfolio, what is their proportion by countries (kindly specify, at least, the first three)?

I presume that contracts with the producer of Irish whiskey Irishman (they changed the distributor in Ukraine), and with the wonderful Italian winemaker Castello di Bolgheri are among our biggest achievements of the last period. In addition, the range was expanded with the existing suppliers – wherever it was possible and expedient. Many brands had to be abandoned. Our cooperation ceased at least with those who did not want to/could not continue cooperating with us. It should be emphasized that the main part of the abandoned brands merely did not survive the competition, when moving to a more expensive price category.

How did the system of distribution (by regions, cities) and delivery of drinks to clients (ordering parties)/sale points change during the war? The number of partners, sale points has decreased, the percentage of HORECA or retail may have increased – please comment on the situation.

The market turned upside down. In other, calmer regions – if I may say so – we suffered a severe blow from the “prohibition”, which simply resulted in suspension of works. In addition, our sales are still being affected by the curfew. As concerns distribution system, in 2022, Transcarpathia (Zakarpattia) was the leader in terms of sales growth. Thereupon, the cities with the population equal to, or exceeding, 1 million people were gradually gaining the volumes back. Currently, everything has been more or less stabilized.

Nevertheless, the number of partners has decreased. We have not found a common language with some of the partners until now, and other partners have been far from behaving in a partner-like manner. We temporarily suspended cooperation with our long-standing partners from Mariupol, Kramatorsk. We are looking forward to their return. A large number of sales points were simply destroyed by the russians, and not all of them have resumed or will resume their operations.

HORECA have suffered significant losses, especially in Odesa, and sales in large shopping centers fell, too. Due to the risk of shelling of such places, people began to visit them less. On the other hand, e-commerce has grown significantly, in particular, via Rozetka: not only did it not stop its operations – in addition to Rozetka’s decent behavior at all times, as befits partners, it proved to be a real friend. A very reliable friend!

Despite the fact that some Ukrainian wineries have suffered greatly from the russian aggression, our winemakers are not giving up, and, according to our feeling, Ukrainian wines, are showing an increase in demand. Kindly provide us with the information on how distribution of the wine range (imported/local products) is changing and what goods prevail in the distribution: domestic or imported trademarks. Unfortunately, we do not possess accurate data, because we do not have time for this right now. The only thing we can say is that we are observing an increase in demand for Ukrainian wines, including against the background of a decline in sales of Moldovan wines, which are more or less in the same price category.

ТОВ «Вінфорт»

ProWein, March 2023

How do you assess the state tax policy in your sector during the war? Do you receive assistance or support in any form whatsoever from foreign partners?

The tax policy has not undergone any significant changes. We do receive assistance from many of our partners, in different forms, undoubtedly, and in different amounts. Even if an amount of such assistance is small, it still means that we have the support, we feel it – and that is very inspirational.

Has the company’s personnel reduced? Are you affected by the personnel shortage, ready to take the risks and invest into the personnel education?

Indeed, there is a shortage of personnel, and we feel that we are a bit understaffed. We invest into the personnel education, and we have always done that. It should be emphasized that today, it is even more important than ever: both for general development, and for distracting people from the everyday challenges.

Can you briefly comment on the current situation and your own plans for the coming year.

The current situation changes almost every day. By the time of this publication, I think that my comments will have been irrelevant. As concerns our plans for the coming year – we plan to continue living and working in order to spite our enemies and please our friends!


Nataliia Burlachenko, CEO of Big Wines (Ukraine), ambassador of Vinos de La Luz: “Our hearts belong to Ukraine!”

Наталія Бурлаченко

All Ukrainian businesses have undergone transformations since the beginning of a fullscale invasion. The alcohol prohibition during the first three months of the war, made no exception. The prohibition applied to sales, and if sales in your business are subject to veto, what consequences can be expected? In fact, they were disastrous. They also included reductions within the network, points of sale, and staff. Complete freezing of everything. It was hard. However, after the moratorium had been lifted, importers started moving, and the alcohol business revived. For us, the particularity of such moment consisted in the fact that we were planning to open our own company. We were preparing for this even before the invasion: we analyzed what directions could be covered, what the then current market dynamics was, what was happening, and what niche we could take.

Thus, the company Vinos de La Luz started its own importing business in Ukraine. Incidentally, this happened after we had launched our own brand of Ukrainian wine. At that moment, we realized that we were ready to enter the market independently with the brands of Vinos de La Luz. I would like to make an announcement: these will be primarily new names that have not yet been presented to the Ukrainian consumer. But I am sure that both wine lovers and professionals know and remember the quality of Vinos de La Luz wines. So we are proud to say that the style and level of quality is maintained in each of our new brands, regardless of the country of origin or how long the brand has been available in the market.

In fact, the owner of Vinos de La Luz – Dr. Ricardo F. Nunez – has long had plans to open his own production and import company here. The first project was launched in the form of a partnership. In the future, despite the beginning of the russian invasion, it was decided to continue working in the Ukrainian market. This is primarily due to the philosophy of Vinos de La Luz, which is based on the mission of supporting everything that is progressive. Secondly, the heart of Dr. Nunez, as well as our hearts belong to Ukraine. Well, thirdly, we reasoned that this war would end – God grant, shortly – and the Ukrainian market would become one of the most attractive: according to Ricardo’s forecasts, the donors’ funds would come to the country (here, we should recall the so-called Marshall Plan) and the economy would definitely start growing rapidly. Bearing that in mind, despite the war, we dared to start an import and export company. As you know, we have our own wineries in Argentina, Italy, Spain, the United States and now, of course, production facilities in Ukraine. It should be also emphasized that in 2023, in Spain, in Cigales region, Vinos de La Luz Group of Companies acquired another winery for white and rosé wines, and launched a new interesting project. Thus, we definitely have something to offer to the most demanding wine lovers, as well as something to demonstrate in the Ukrainian market: both new products and a selection of already well-known wines.

Incidentally, at the exhibition, which is to be held in Kyiv on November 1-4, you will be able to review a new portfolio of our company in Ukraine, which is called Big Wines. As I have already said, there will be wines from five countries. We are also expanding the line of Ukrainian wines. We already have Odesa Black of 2020 vintage, which is distinguished for having gained several gold medals at international competitions. Next year, we will bring Odesa Black of 2021 vintage to the market, and this will be a continuation of the artistic triptych in collaboration with the world-renowned Ukrainian artist Ivan Marchuk. Simultaneously, we are expanding the Ukrainian line of Big Wines: there will be wines not only from the flagship Odesa Black variety, but also from other Ukrainian varieties, on which we are focusing our attention, plus the wines made from international varieties. Our company’s portfolio is formed in such a manner that it has wines representing different price policies: from entry level to the premium segment. We try to anticipate any expectations and tastes of the Ukrainian consumers: some special limited series of Vinos de La Luz will be supplied only for the Ukrainian market, and, of course, our Ukrainian wines will also represent different price levels.

Regarding the conditions created by the state for business at the current stage, I would like to say that starting a company is not difficult and quite rapid. For example, it took only 10 days to have the license issued after submission of the required package of documents. It goes without saying that we plan to comply with all necessary rules and laws to conduct business openly and cooperate with all regulatory bodies – primarily because we care about the safety of our consumers and our reputation. We have proven temporally and territorially that we are honest taxpayers. This is now particularly important for all businesses. Payment of every hryvnia to the budget is a contribution to the Victory. You see, I have revealed our plans – we will be developing, increasing our portfolio, creating new jobs, and working on improving the culture of wine consumption. And we will be proving to our consumers that Ukrainian wines are absolutely competitive with the wines from other countries. Given that we are also a producing company in Ukraine, we are interested in promotion both in the domestic market and in export directions. We have felt a great interest in the Ukrainian wine in the world, and we want to stir up this interest in the future. Therefore, we plan to give a certain share of the portfolio to Ukrainian wines and distribute such wines in other countries through our distribution channels.

Our company is extremely proud that in these difficult times of the russian aggression against Ukraine, we are able to create jobs and pay salaries. And this is our mission for the future. Our development is, shall we say, triggered by the fact that we assume responsibility for Ukrainians by creating jobs, bringing back the people’s hopes.


Henkell Freixenet Ukraine LLC: “We are dreaming and planning!”      

ТОВ «Хенкелль Фрешенет Україна»

Oleg Kasianenko, Director. Valentyn Polyakov, Commercial Director

We faced a total ban on the shipping and sale of alcoholic beverages throughout 2022, especially the first half of the year. So it was a very difficult time. However, we didn’t give up. In the second half of the year, sales volumes began to grow. Of course, we do not talk about the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, where the fighting and occupation continued.

What about sales volumes since the enemy invaded our country? In 2022, they have actually halved – compared to 2021. The supply of products has significantly decreased (in line with demand). I would also like to note that at the same time, our procurement strategy for the company’s price segment has not changed. However, there have been dramatic changes in logistics: transportation tariffs for some itineraries have doubled. Of course, this affected the price of products. Moreover, the cost of containers and packaging has risen too. On average, prices rose by 40-50%. In this situation, it seems logical that we did not change, and at least kept the existing brand portfolio. If we look at the map of our current business, we have to admit that we have completely lost sales in the occupied territories of the east and south of Ukraine. The regional offices barely work there.

The total number of trading partners has not decreased. In addition, there are more retail outlets and fewer HoReCa outlets. It can be explained by the situation in Ukraine and HoReCa’s working schedule. Based on the concept of our company, imported brands dominate the portfolio a priori. I should also note that, regardless of the current situation and the country of origin, traditionally, every year, our high-quality sparkling wines show positive dynamics during the New Year holidays. We are working to keep this trend maintained throughout the current period.

Now, in Ukraine, people say: «You can make plans no further than for today. More like today you can only dream». But we still feel our strength and the power of our brands, so we are not just dreaming, we, as always, are planning. Our company plans to continue developing sales in Ukraine. The immediate goal is to achieve a leading position in the country’s market in all segments of sparkling wines – prosecco and cava. And we are confident that soon Ukrainians will have a reason to celebrate, a reason to raise their glasses of sparkling wine.


Rozetka’s Press Office: “Currently, we are employing even more people than before the beginning of the enemy’s invasion”

Rozetka

The war accelerated changes in logistical processes: new warehouses appeared in more protected areas, security measures were significantly strengthened, and, giving due consideration to the respective situation, the marketplace sellers significantly expanded offers and opportunities for delivery of orders, etc. Currently, our volumes of deliveries and sales are increasing, partly due to the increase in a number of stores, as well as due to the exciting exclusive offers, loyalty price programs, etc.

On the import side, we are constantly looking for new interesting offers, and have been cooperating with the Ukrainian importers. As for our own imports, during the war, no producing country was rejected by us, except for Austria and Hungary, the promotion of which still requires some efforts on the part of our country, but it is the issue to be dealt with after the war, because at the current stage, we have to be attentive to the existing demand. We must state that the share of Georgian and Spanish wines has decreased.

Positive trends are also observed: thus, in the category “still wine/Ukrainian wines”, we have an increase of 6% compared to the relevant figure attributable to 2022, and 8% compared to the 2021 results. We even launched a new project with partners from Shabo: a new brand – VDOMA – entered the market; it has a great potential, and is already demonstrating good sales results.

On the sparkling wines side, we have achieved growth of + 5%, although we observe losses related to Georgia and Germany. As concerns our business map, the regions make significant contributions and their shares are growing; the number of stores has changed, and for clients, it is an opportunity to get their goods for free in their own region. Considering the current domestic shipping prices, this results in considerable savings. In addition, such opportunity saves time. We are also active in developing B2B channels.

We do feel support from many (almost all!) partners, suppliers (deferral of payments, messages of support, etc.). Currently, there are more employees working at Rozetka than before the beginning of the enemy’s invasion. We are constantly investing in training courses for the employees, and we plan to continue to do so even on a larger scale than now. We continue to develop our business despite all challenges, and plan to launch our own brands (including alcoholic ones), improve our service, and continue to be active in opening goods delivery points.

Today, every successful Ukrainian business is a contribution to the Victory. We do understand that, and have been working as a team in order to achieve this goal.


Olena Valevska, Commercial Director of ArtWine Company: “The most desired plan: to open a bottle of Dom Perignon on our Victory Day!”

Олена Валевська

Our company started working virtually six months before the war onset, so, unfortunately, we have no reliable representative analytical data yet. We are a small niche company that does only what it loves. We are professionals, who have gained extensive experience in working with the premium segment wines (we are not talking about [high] prices, in this case, “premium” refers to the lifestyle and values). We love these wines, we know how to work with them, so we understand their place in our market.

Even now, during the war, we do see the prospects, and do everything to ensure that Ukrainians have the opportunity to drink the best samples of the world’s wines.

Given the changes that have occurred in the market during these almost two years of the war, I can state that logistics costs have become very high, and we are forced to use the transportation routes under the contracts with all of our partners located outside Europe, through the ports of Poland. It should be emphasized that the situation is aggravated for us by the fact that almost everything we have, appeared after the war onset: in other words, we are currently at the stage of formation of our portfolio. Thus, without a shadow of a doubt, I can say that such portfolio formation period coincided with the most difficult times in the history of our state.


Bogdan Panchuk, brand ambassador of Wine Discovery Selection LLC: “We hope to recover the sales volume of imported wines and believe in the potential of the Ukrainian wine”

Богдан Панчук

Currently, the number of our company’s employees has greatly decreased, and we are observing a significant drop in the sales of imported wines. In fact, we left only one supplying country, and we rejected the others. At the very least, we had to reject imports from Germany, Slovenia, and Spain due to re-fragmentation of sales channels, and a decrease in the purchasing power of consumers. In addition, the delivery time and the cost of logistics have increased significantly, but consumers of our products will not feel the increase in the costs of these processes, due to the fact that the price increase was only based on the exchange rate index. It should be noted that against the background of the import decline witnessed last year, our company has increased the sales of Ukrainian wines, which makes us very happy.

However, as concerns the current import-related situation, I should state that it has somewhat stabilized. At least the decline has stopped. The dynamics show a gradual increase. We hope to recover the sales of imported wines and believe in the potential of the Ukrainian wine.


Serhii Mazur, Director of Vitis Group: “We are launching a new project – production and distribution of the Ukrainian craft alcoholic beverages”

Сергій Мазур

During the war, our business decreased by at least 50%, and the HoReCa sector was the most affected one due to the closure of restaurants. Nevertheless, the retail sales were least affected by the war’s negative impact.

However, a decrease in the volumes of deliveries and sales was caused by such factors as almost a doubling of the cost of logistics to Ukraine, which led to a 15-20% increase in prices, the overall growth of prices for the wines from Burgundy, the Loire Valley, Spain, and Argentina, as well as an increase of the cost of sparkling wines from Italy (a partial increase in prices by 15-20%), as well as by the exchange rate growth.

Sergii Mazur

It should be noted that the share of wines in the mid-price segment increased by 10-15% in the portfolio, and the share of wines in the high-price segment also decreased. The range selection process was complicated due to the restrictions set on business trips (currently, the men of military age in our country are prohibited from traveling abroad). In addition, logistics chains from the New World through the port of Odesa have completely stopped. We are now organizing deliveries from the New World through Poland, which has led to a 50% increase in the logistics costs.

Our company also rejected the “Armenian Cognac” project due to the support of russia by the producing country. However, the share of Ukrainian wines in the portfolio has increased (subdistribution), but due to the wholesale prices increase, the Ukrainian wine brands have not yet attained the level of distribution that we would like them to attain.

Nevertheless, there is a trend towards increase in demand for high-quality domestic alcoholic beverages. I would like to emphasize that we are launching a new project: production and distribution of the Ukrainian craft alcoholic beverages (nalyvka, brandy, gin) throughout Ukraine and for export purposes. However, I need to recognize with regard to the state tax policy that the situation is characterized by an extremely negative attitude towards Ukrainian business in general. Particularly towards the alcohol importers: excise goods are not included into the category, to which the “inspection moratorium” applies. Often, there are no valid reasons for the inspections that are regularly conducted in the companies, and the sanctions imposed as a result of such inspections are prefaced by the phrase: “Go to court, then wait 3-4 years, and try to prove that the fine was not imposed lawfully”. Unfortunately, there is no presumption of innocence for entrepreneurs in Ukraine.

In addition, I would like to add that even at the outbreak of the war, our partners provided shelter to the forced migrants from Ukraine. We also appealed to our partners for donations, and are grateful to everyone who responded. Some of them paid contributions directly to the United24 Foundation, others made a charitable contribution in the form of goods, which are sold and respective sale proceeds are utilised to support other charitable foundations and institutions.

However, we understand that we should rely only on ourselves, and the main task at the current stage is to recover sales and regain positions in the market.

The war has become a challenge for all types of Ukrainian business. It has also influenced wine importers. During the defence emergency, in 2022, the turnover of all types of alcoholic beverages, including products of the local wine market, sharply decreased. In January-June 2022, Ukrainians bought 58% less wine than in the same period in […]

SHUMI TOURIST COMPLEX

SHUMI is the first company in Georgia, which in 2002 offered eno-gastronomic tourism services to customers.


In 2003, in order to preserve the integrity of the genetics of Georgian autochthonous grape varieties, SHUMI created the First Private Ampelographic Collection in Georgia, which today is considered the largest private collection in the world with more than 1500 grape varieties from different countries. To this day, the company successfully fulfills this historic mission, with great enthusiasm continues to find and return rare grape varieties both from local private vineyards and from various collections around the world. Although the Georgian gene pool is rich in unique wine grape varieties which allow you to create ideal wines, today, unfortunately, a large number of grape varieties are forgotten and are not used for economic purposes and wine production. The SHUMI Ampelographic Collection, which serves as a basis for scientific research, is included in the list of the FAO and has its own unique code. At this unique facility, Georgian, French, Italian and Japanese scientists conduct research, experimental work, seminars for students and employees of various educational institutions.

SHUMI

In addition to the production of wine and various alcoholic beverages, SHUMI has many other, no less significant and unique activities. SHUMI is the first company in Georgia, which in 2002 offered eno-gastronomic tourism services to customers. To date, SHUMI Tourist Complex has no analogues in the world, both in infrastructure and in operation. Nowhere else will you find so many examples of Georgian culture gathered in one space as in SHUMI.

Visitors to SHUMI have the opportunity to delve into the history of Georgia and get acquainted with its culture. Here they can meet the heroes and gods of Georgian mythology, depicted on stone frescoes and painted by Saperavi wine, the Georgian alphabet, the largest private collection of vines in the world, where they get acquainted with grape varieties created by folk selection for thousands of years, and taste grapes.

SHUMI

In 2005, SHUMI created the first Wine Museum in Georgia, which contains ancient household items and the oldest exhibits of winemaking. The oldest artifacts of the museum are more than 6,000 years old.

In the Ethnographic Pavilion, guests can learn about Georgian eno-gastronomic traditions, attend various interesting and fun master classes and other events, participate in the traditional Georgian Supra with toastmaster and polyphonic songs performed by the SHUMI ensemble, take part in various rituals, such as the Qvevri Opening and the Lazarus Ritual.

On a regular basis, SHUMI is the winner in the nomination «BEST AWARD FOR WINE TOURISM» within the framework of the National Tourism Award «WELCOME TO GEORGIA», as well as receives TripAdvisor award «Travelers’ Choice». The territory of the SHUMI Tourist Complex is recognized as «the most beautiful place in Georgia». Also, SHUMI is the winner in the nomination «THE BEST PLACE FOR GASTRONOMIC REGIONAL TOURISM».

For the first time in the history of Georgia, SHUMI WINERY became the winner in the nomination «BEST PRACTICE RELATED TO ARCHAEOBOTANY IN WINE TOURISM» at the international competition in Sicily, organized by the Council of Europe.

SHUMI is the first company in Georgia, which in 2002 offered eno-gastronomic tourism services to customers. In 2003, in order to preserve the integrity of the genetics of Georgian autochthonous grape varieties, SHUMI created the First Private Ampelographic Collection in Georgia, which today is considered the largest private collection in the world with more than […]

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

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.

TIAN

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.

TIAN

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.

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