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Gastronomy and Wine Portal

Wines of Ukraine at ProWein 2024: new gains, new perspectives

On March 10-12, Dusseldorf (Germany) will once again host the biggest international wine and spirits expo, ProWein 2024, gathering producers, buyers, importers, experts, media and influencers from around the world. Ukrainian winemakers will participate in this event under the Wines of Ukraine brand with the support of the USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine. Drinks+ Media Group, the project’s international infopartner, will keep you updated.

Wines of Ukraine is a relatively new brand, created on the initiative and active participation of the Association of Craft Winemakers of Ukraine. Its full-fledged debut at ProWein last year was extremely successful: the Ukrainian stand attracted the attention of many experts, journalists and importers. 

“During the three days of the exhibition, we had many useful and interesting contacts, conducted hundreds of blitz tastings and business negotiations. A certain percentage of these contacts have already been converted into existing and prospective export contracts,” comments Svitlana Tsybak, co-founder of Wines of Ukraine, head of the Association of Craft Winemakers of Ukraine and CEO of Beykush Winery. 

Expanding the geography of exports, winning awards from international and national tasting competitions, the development of new wine regions, new wineries that have appeared despite the challenges of the full-scale invasion of Russia, which has been terrorizing Ukraine for two years, are incredible achievements and a sign of talent and hard work, as well as an indomitable Ukrainian character. 

Below are some figures and facts that illustrate the current state and dynamics of the development of Ukrainian winemaking*. 

✔️Currently, 160 wineries are officially registered in Ukraine, of which 40 are craft wineries with a production capacity of up to 100,000 liters per year. 

✔️Total area of vineyards: 30.2 thousand hectares (excluding temporarily occupied territories, since there is no reliable data on the condition of vineyards on these lands). 

✔The Black Sea and Zakarpattia regions are the most typical for viticulture and winemaking. In recent years however winemaking has been actively developing in the western, central and northern regions. At present, vineyards and wineries can be found around Kyiv, Lviv, Ternopil, Chernihiv etc. 

✔️More than 200 varieties of grapes are grown in Ukraine. The most significant local and indigenous varieties are Telti-Kuruk, Sukholimansky White, Citronny of Magarach, Kokur, Odessa Black, Ekim Kara, Magarach Bastardo. Ukrainian winegrowers and winemakers work with a large number of international and European varieties, including the PIWI varieties producing high-quality, elegant and interesting wines — Souvignier Gris, Solaris, Muscaris, Johanniter etc.

✔️Only in 2023, Ukrainian wines won 150 awards from prestigious international tasting competitions, including the first Ukrainian platinum medal from the Decanter Worldwide Awards for Muscat Ottonel Limited Edition 2016 by SHABO winery.

✔️The total export volume of Ukrainian wines in 2023 is $9 million. Last year, Wines of Ukraine beneficiaries exported and contracted wines worth $229,190. Due to the fact that several large producers have recently joined Wines of Ukraine, this number will increase significantly in 2024. 

✔️Key importer countries for Ukrainian wines in 2022-2023 are Estonia, Great Britain, USA, Sweden, Norway, Japan. 

*data provided by the State Statistics Committee of Ukraine, 2022-2023. 

“Ukrainian winemakers, officially, have not been exporting their products to the terrorist country of russia since 2014. The loss of the significant export gave impetus to more active cooperation with the European, British, American and Asian markets, and we consider these changes positive. Last year alone, the Wines of Ukraine team organized successful trade missions to 12 countries and held more than 30 tastings for experts, importers and media representatives. This year, we plan to expand the geography and number of such events. We are very grateful to our partners, the USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine, for their support in promoting Ukrainian winemaking on international markets and expanding the export of our wines,” Serhiy Klimov, co-founder of Wines of Ukraine, comments on the situation.

The following wineries and spirit producers will be presented at the Wines of Ukraine stand at ProWein 2024: 

Beykush Winery (Mykolaiv region) 

Big Wines (Kyiv region) 

Biologist Craft Winery (Kyiv region) 

Bolgrad / Alcoline LLC (Odesa region) 

Chateau Chizay (Zakarpattia) 

Cikera / Medovyi Spas LLC (Kyiv region) 

Grande Vallee / Vintrest LLC (Odesa region) 

Honey Badger (Kyiv region) 

Kolonist / Veles LLC (Odesa region) 

Koblevo (Mykolaiv region) 

My Wine by Eduard Gorodetsky / Tiras winery LLC (Odesa region) 

46 Parallel Wine Group (Odesa region) 

SHABO Family Winery (Odesa region) 

Stoic Ukrainian Winery (Kherson region / Odesa region) 

Shosh Winery (Zakarpattia) 

Villa Tinta / Vinhol Oksamitnoe LLC (Odesa region).

The promising and successful Odesos Winery from Odesa will also present their wines at the expo. 

For more info about the participants please check their profiles at the Wines of Ukraine website

Welcome to visit the Wines of Ukraine stand at ProWein 2024 and taste wines and spirits from the best producers of Ukraine!

When: March 10-12, 2024. 

Where: Messe Düsseldorf, Stockumer Kirchstraße 61, 40474 Düsseldorf, Germany. 

Wines of Ukraine stand: 13Н52. 

The Wines of Ukraine team and the participants of the Ukrainian national stand are ready for communication and collaboration. Tasting and business appointments can be arranged in advance. 

✉️ For appointments and interviews please contact the team at: 



The Association of Craft Winemakers of Ukraine was established in 2021. Its tasks are the coordination and development of the Ukrainian wine industry, increasing the competitiveness of Ukrainian wines at the international markets, and promoting the Wines of Ukraine brand. During the war, the Association also invests a lot of effort in the restoration of destroyed wineries and demining of vineyards in the territories liberated from russian occupation. Currently, the Association includes 72 wineries.

The USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine supports Ukrainian business in order to increase competitiveness in the domestic market of Ukraine and in international markets, helps in building a comprehensive and transparent business climate, also providing Ukrainian companies with opportunities to expand international trade. Wines of Ukraine have been cooperating with the USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine since 2023. This grant-based collaboration is aimed to support Ukrainian winemaking, small and medium-sized enterprises of the wine and spirit industry, both in Ukraine and at the international markets. 

The participation of Wines of Ukraine in ProWein 2024 international expo supported by the USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine will give a new push to the export of Ukrainian wines, increase the international recognition of Ukrainian winemaking and consolidate the status of Ukraine as a wine-producing country.

On March 10-12, Dusseldorf (Germany) will once again host the biggest international wine and spirits expo, ProWein 2024, gathering producers, buyers, importers, experts, media and influencers from around the world. Ukrainian winemakers will participate in this event under the Wines of Ukraine brand with the support of the USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine. Drinks+ […]

Warsaw Wine Experience – a truly successful experience

In recent years, Poland’s wine market has been growing by 10% annually, and this is undoubtedly facilitated by events such as the Warsaw Wine Experience. The international Wine Travel Awards project joined the information partners of the Polish exhibition, thanks to which the wines of the award winners were presented at the Warsaw exposition.

The Warsaw Wine Experience, which took place for the first time in 2019, was founded by a team of experienced wine professionals. In 2012, they launched the Winicjatywa website. In 2017, they created Ferment, a magazine for wine lovers. Currently, the Ferment family of products includes a magazine, a website, wine awards, a wine school, a wine tourism agency and, launched in 2019, a new wine fair in Poland for consumers – Warsaw Wine Experience. The talented and professional team of the event organizers includes Tomasz Prange-Barczynski, who is a Wine Travel Awards nominee, editor-in-chief of Ferment and a regular judge at Mundus Vini.

Warsaw Wine Experience, held in October, attracted representatives of trade, winemakers and wine lovers. The organizers reported the participation of 45 exhibitors from 12 countries.

Visitors to the event had the opportunity to try a range of imported wines not yet available in Poland, meet producers and enjoy tasting an increasingly impressive selection of local wines.The organizers also offered a series of interesting workshops, seminars and tastings with commentary by Ferment editors:

  • “Polish wines: a new discovery” – Maciej Nowicki;
  • “Best Ferment Wines” – Wojciech Bońkowski MW;
  • “German Riesling and Terroir” – Tomasz Prange-Barczynski;
  • “Barolo 2018 – the new harvest of the king of Italian wines” – Maciej Świetlik.

Fernando Mora MW and Wojciech Bonkowski MW held a seminar “Aragon – Wines from the Mountains”, where they talked about the terroir and unsurpassed wines of the Spanish winery Bodegas Frontonio.

In turn, the media partner of the exhibition, Wine Travel Awards, represented SHUMI Winery, one of the most famous Georgian wineries of the new generation, winner of the WTA 2022–2023 awards in three categories: Visiting Card of the Country, Must Visit, Progressive Approach, Art & History Object.

It is worth reminding that Shumi also became the most successful Georgian winery at this year’s Mundus Vini competition (7 gold medals!). As part of the presentation, WTA held an author’s tasting of her company’s wines by Salome Lomsadze, Commercial Director of SHUMI Winery, who represents the younger generation of top managers of this unique winery complex.

The WTA team also presented the wines of SHUMI Winery and Vinos de La Luz at its stand throughout the exhibition. Vinos de La Luz has its own wineries around the world: in California, Spain (in three DOs), Argentina, Italy and Ukraine.

The premiere Ukrainian product is BIG WINES BIG ART limited edition. Ivan Marchuk 2020 Odesa Black has already collected many awards from world-famous competitions: Mundus  Vini-2023, Berliner Wine Trophy-2023 and Cervim-Viticoltura  Eroica-2023. And here’s another fact that our team is proud of: in 2022, our sponsor, Vinos de La Luz, was the only one among the participants of the DECANTER WORLD WINE AWARDS 2022 whose wines were awarded three platinum medals.

Among those invited to participate in the exhibition, our observers also particularly noted the impressions of Shabo Family Winery from Ukraine, Lenz Moser with samples of his Austrian and Chinese wines, as well as communication with the former editor of Meininger Verlag Richard Grosche, who now heads the Geheimrat J. Wegeler winery in Estrich-Winkel (Germany).

Richard Grosche, who is sincerely passionate about the Polish market, said: “Warsaw Wine Experience is a great showcase of what is available from the best importers and distributors. The organizers manage to hold exemplary master classes and generate a lot of interest in the world of fine wine, and they are very selective about what they present at this event.”

According to some economists, by 2035, average incomes in Poland could exceed those in the UK. Regardless of whether this happens over the next 12 years, there is no doubt that wine producers who once considered the UK, home of WSET and Masters of Wine, their main export destination are now paying much more attention to the rapidly developing Polish market.

The Warsaw Wine Experience will become an increasingly important date in the international calendar, competing for audience attention with those taking place in other wine-producing countries.

In recent years, Poland’s wine market has been growing by 10% annually, and this is undoubtedly facilitated by events such as the Warsaw Wine Experience. The international Wine Travel Awards project joined the information partners of the Polish exhibition, thanks to which the wines of the award winners were presented at the Warsaw exposition. The […]

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023. All signs of the revival

On 1–3 November, the capital of Ukraine hosted the Wine & Spirits Ukraine exhibition of wine and alcohol. The D+ observer collected the opinions and impressions of the participants.

The Wine & Spirits Ukraine exhibition is one of the most significant events in the wine and spirits industry, and this year, despite all the wartime difficulties, it brought together the country’s best winemakers for the fifth time. The event included an exposition of Ukrainian producers and importers, the WS Awards tasting competition, and the Wine & Spirits Congress. During the exhibition, Drinks+ Communications Media Group presented the first iteration of DRINKS+ magazine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, dedicated to our heroic winemakers, importers, sommeliers, restaurateurs, and other enthusiasts who make the industry work today.

According to Wine & Spirits Ukraine CEO Victoria Agromakova, the number of participants has increased significantly compared to the previous spring exhibition: 53 exhibitors, including 50 Ukrainian producers. It is the largest number of Ukrainian exhibitors in the history of the exhibition. This year, many new exhibitors participated in the event: Alcoline/Bolgrad, Chateau Pinot, Narovylo Winery, etc. The energy and motivation with which our winemakers, craft beverage producers, and distillers continue their business in such a difficult time is impressive! 

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Despite the war, there were also foreign participants: the brother of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is now under arrest by the country’s pro-Russian leadership, came to Kyiv and presented a wine made in his honour; there were importers from Estonia, representatives from Israel and Lithuania, etc. This year, 3,291 participants attended the exhibition.

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Another positive point is the record number of medals in the history of the tasting competition: 132 (including 7 platinum, 66 gold, 43 silver, and 16 bronze). 

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Victoria Agromakova commented on the event: “At first, we doubted whether we should hold another competition, as the last one we had in spring. But we felt a great demand and decided to repeat the tasting competition in November. After all, we were approached by many winemakers, for whom the competition is a professional opinion, a confirmation that they are doing everything right. We made four commissions instead of three because there were so many wines. Moreover, every year the jury notes that the quality of the wines is growing exponentially.”

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Another difference in the autumn exhibition is that while in spring there were many ordinary wine lovers among the visitors, now 95% of the visitors are professionals and buyers, which is very useful for the participating wineries, who are now particularly cautious about marketing activities and related costs. The exhibition was very lively, with a significant number of visitors even though they needed to buy tickets this time (100% of ticket sales we are going to use to support a Wine & Spirits Ukraine employee who is currently fighting at the front).

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Another sign of Ukrainian wine market development: this time, there were two collective stands at the exhibition the Association of Craft Winemakers (where 10 producers were represented) and the Association of Craft Distillers. For some participants, it was their first appearance in the world: for example, we can mention the wines of Valeriy Narovylo, which were awarded gold medals at the competition. According to Victoria Agromakova, the organisers used to not accept producers who did not yet have a production licence, but now with rules facilitation, we can state that medals at the competition give small winemakers an additional incentive to obtain a licence and move on. This allows them to reach a new level of production. 

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Today, it is trendy to drink Ukrainian wine and support small producers, so for craft winemakers, the exhibition is an impetus for development, an incentive to turn a hobby into a business. That is why Wine & Spirits Ukraine also holds seminars for craft producers under the auspices of the Association of Craft Winemakers of Ukraine, the first of which took place in the summer. At the seminars, winemakers can learn about the details of obtaining a licence, accounting rules, and get professional answers to their questions.

Thus, Wine & Spirits exhibition still maintains its reputation as a traditional meeting place for wine, spirits, and beer producers, experts, sommeliers, retailers, restaurateurs, importers, and distributors from all regions of Ukraine and abroad.

The autumn Wine & Spirits exhibition included several events at once: 

  • Exposition of Ukrainian producers and importers
  • Exposition of beer and low-alcohol drinks BeerEx Ukraine
  • International tasting competition of wines and spirits from around the world WS Awards
  • All-Ukrainian Wine & Spirits Congress

For exhibitors, such events are a great opportunity not only to meet colleagues and partners but also to meet potential customers and gather new contacts. Feedback from guests and exhibitors has repeatedly confirmed this. 

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Oksana Buyachok, co-founder of Father’s Winery, notes the successful outcome: “My impressions of the Wine & Spirits exhibition held in November this year are surprisingly positive. The key point of such an event is communication: meetings with new market players (winemakers, buyers, HoReCa representatives, publishers, etc.), with already familiar colleagues, and with professionals in the wine and spirits field. Therefore, the exhibition is an opportunity to gather useful contacts and discuss plans and experiences of overcoming crises. It is positive that Ukrainian producers together with foreign guests attended the event: for example, we were very pleased to welcome our partners from Estonia.”

Valeriy Narovylo, founder and chief winemaker of Narovylo Winery, who won a gold medal at the WS Awards for his wines Odesa Black, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Aged Chardonnay, also speaks of the successful participation: “This is a first experience for us: it is the first time we participate in such an exhibition. It was an interesting experience, so we liked everything. The main point I would like to note is communication with potential buyers and meetings with colleagues. Besides, it was a great competition! I got absolutely pleasant emotions from the exhibition.”

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Olena Krapivina, Leading Marketing Specialist at Prestige Group, also notes the benefits of the exhibition for the exchange of experience (Olena joined the pool of DRINKS+ columnists and debuted as the author of an article about the formation of the Wine of Ukraine brand during the war in the magazine #1, 2023): “Thank you to the organisers! I would like to note the high level of service and conscientious staff. One of the most useful aspects of the exhibition for us is, of course, the target audience, guests, and representatives of the HoReCa sector. We communicate and share experiences. Everything was great!”

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

For most participants, such events are primarily image-building, as they allow them not only to find new contacts but also to increase brand visibility and find new fans of their products. This is what Olena Platko from Stakhovsky Wines says: “We enjoyed the exhibition this time. Especially the way everything was organised: clean glasses that were always delivered on time, convenience, and speed of service. This is very important because we do not spend extra time on preparation. I would also like to say something about people: the audience is relevant retailers and representatives of the HoReCa sector are interested in our wines. They ask about technologies and varieties, new products in the range. For us, this is primarily an image participation.”

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Sergey Parkhomchuk, Marketing Director at Prince Trubetskoi Winery: “I liked everything! Compared to the previous exhibition, today there are more producers represented and more guests. Moreover, visitors are from all over Ukraine. For us, this is primarily an information component. And this is the key. We talk about our brand, about the winery, which is almost on the front line. The second component is contacts: both consumers and market professionals come to the exhibition. Chains, restaurants, and distributors are represented here. Even foreigners have come, ignoring the war. For example, guests from Estonia. Finally, it is worth noting the image component, the presence of a competition. It is important for us because we have seen our strengths.”

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

The three days of work at our stand at Wine & Spirits for the Drinks+ Communication Media Group were also very fruitful. First of all, we informed our colleagues, partners, and potential Ukrainian WTA nominees about the start of the new 20232024 season of the innovative Wine Travel Awards project. 

Ukraine Wine & Spirits Awards 2023

In addition, despite the war and the difficult situation for the Ukrainian market, the first issue of DRINKS+ magazine for this year was published and presented to guests and exhibitors just in time for the exhibition opening. 

It is a special edition of Wine&War. Ukrainian Chronicles which includes useful and interesting cases from the key players in the wine and spirits industry in Ukraine lives: stories of doing business during the war, and overcoming challenges and crises by importers, restaurateurs, sommeliers, and winemakers. In addition, the issue features our cultural achievements and unfortunate human losses. It is a kind of chronicle of the Ukrainian wine industry during the war. We wanted to introduce the world to our country and our industry’s heroic presence. 

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

The next stop of the magazine’s distribution is Enoexpo/HoReCa2023 in Krakow (810 November). Later, the magazine will be available to participants and exhibitors at international exhibitions in Germany (Düsseldorf), France (Paris), the UK (London), and Italy (Verona).

On 1–3 November, the capital of Ukraine hosted the Wine & Spirits Ukraine exhibition of wine and alcohol. The D+ observer collected the opinions and impressions of the participants. The Wine & Spirits Ukraine exhibition is one of the most significant events in the wine and spirits industry, and this year, despite all the wartime […]

Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. How it works

Concours Mondial de Bruxelles (CMB) was founded in 1994 by Louis Havaux. Since 2006, the competition has traveled to the wine regions of several continents, holding tasting sessions in Lisbon, Bordeaux, Palermo, Luxembourg, Guimarães, Bratislava, Aigle, Beijing and Brno.

This year, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles celebrated its 30th anniversary in Poreč, Istria, Croatia, where a large-scale tasting of red and white wines was organized. More than 7500 wines from all over the world were evaluated by 320 wine professionals from 50 nationalities. Poreč has become the starting point for numerous wine routes and educational events, which have been perfectly organized by the CMB team in cooperation with Vinistra (the Istrian Vineyards and Winemakers Association), joined by national and regional organizations.

CMB Chairman Baudouin Havaux noted that the competition he leads reflects the latest market trends. One of the most important trends nowadays claims that wine culture has become an integral part of tourism. Croatia and Istria have a rich history, magnificent nature, exquisite cuisine and quality wines. This is one of the fastest growing wine tourism destinations. The incredible beauty of nature and the diversity of opportunities for wine and gastronomic tourism were demonstrated to an international team of judges, part of which were the journalists of Drinks+ and Wine Travel Awards.

The first day started with a presentation of the Istrian region and the Vinistra association by Caroline Gilby, MW, and a master class where the flagship varieties Malvasia Istriana and Teran were presented with different styles of wines – young and aged. The judges also had the opportunity to taste olive oil made from different varieties of olives, organoleptically diverse, but consistently high-quality olive oil – a product for which Istria is famous, and later to see the oldest olive tree in the Mediterranean, about 1600 years old, which grows in national park on the island of Brijuni and even continues to bear fruit (!).

The wines of Istria, and Croatia in general, were widely represented at the competition, which deservedly has the reputation of an independent, honest and one of the most influential wine competitions in the world.

The next three days began with intensive tastings, the wines of each flight were evaluated according to a strict protocol by multinational judging commissions of six members —  professionals from different areas of the wine business, headed by the chairmen, the most experienced and skilled tasters. In our commission, the chairman was Pasi Ketolainen, MW from Finland. The rest of the judges represented Macedonia, France, Greece, Mexico and Ukraine.

At the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, wines are evaluated, but not only wine producers are valued, rewarded and promoted. The organizers celebrate the work and publicly welcome the most experienced judges, many of whom have been participating in the competition for decades.

Companies that have been participating in the competition since the first years of its foundation and have special achievements, also receive special recognition. This is how Casa Santos Lima from Portugal received the title of the “Most awarded company at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles 1994-2023”.

In every manifestation, in every activity, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles demonstrates competent, proactive and organic marketing. Which is only natural, considering that CMB is a project of Vinopres, a very experienced marketing agency, which has been promoting wines and spirits for more than 30 years, publishing its own magazine called VINO!, hosting successful wine competitions, as well as other successful projects. At the anniversary Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, a capacious presentation of the development of the project was made.

In order to facilitate international communications, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles will be, as of now, increasingly referred to as CMB. Each year the CMB competition takes place in four sessions: Rose Wine session, Red & White Wine session, Sparkling Wine session and Sweet & Fortified Wine session. Some sessions are held on individual grape varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Vranec and Marselan. Under the CMB umbrella, special national competitions are held, as well as competitions for specific products: Spirit selection and Sake selection.

Two new CMB projects have been launched in Mexico  recently. One of them is Wine Bar by Сoncours Mondial de Bruxelles, the first wine bar to open in Mexico City that exclusively serves CMB-winning wines by the glass and bottle. The second one is Wine Corner by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, which has been launched in collaboration with United Airlines: in the first terminal of Mexico City International Airport, United Airlines passengers can choose wines and spirits from a wine list of CMB-winning wines.

Considering the new projects, it is quite logical that the next Сoncours Mondial de Bruxelles 2024 will be held in Mexico, in Guanajuato. The new host country was announced during the last tasting session and a special lunch with national cuisine and Mexican wines, both held in Poreč.

Сoncours Mondial de Bruxelles has become a meeting place for old friends and partners of Drinks +, as well as members of the Wine Travel Awards community. We were happy to welcome Thomas Brandl, Per Karlsson, Rojita Tiwari, who became the winners of the WTA 2022-2023 in the The brightest journey nomination in the Food & Wine Influencer category, partners from Wines of Moldova, and many others.

The CMB results give cause for congratulations to the WTA nominees. Among the gold medal winners are companies such as Zlaten Rozhen, Bulgaria – two golds; Armenia Wine Factory and Gevorkian Winery, Armenia; Vinaria Purcari, Moldova – ten gold medals!

The anniversary Сoncours Mondial de Bruxelle, Red & White Wine session opened new names on the world wine map: India won its first gold, Kazakhstan and Albania joined the ranks of medalists.

Find all results by the link: https://resultats.concoursmondial.com/en/results

The next Sparkling wine session will take place June 1-3 in Campania, Italy.

Concours Mondial de Bruxelles (CMB) was founded in 1994 by Louis Havaux. Since 2006, the competition has traveled to the wine regions of several continents, holding tasting sessions in Lisbon, Bordeaux, Palermo, Luxembourg, Guimarães, Bratislava, Aigle, Beijing and Brno. This year, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles celebrated its 30th anniversary in Poreč, Istria, Croatia, where a […]

ASI Best Sommelier of the World: peace, love and sommellerie

On 12th of February at Paris La Défense Arena, after the high-level competition between three finalists, Raimonds Tomsons from Latvia became the ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2023. Oleksandra Hryhorieva, Drinks+ Editor and Project Lead at the Wine Travel Awards, was invited to the final to share the course of events with our readers.

The festive music is playing. The Defence Arena is welcoming the public: 4,000 wine professionals and wine lovers coming from different countries, as well as students involved in the wine programs accompanied by their professors from all over France. After the welcome words are said by ASI President William Wouters and USDF (L’Union de la Sommellerie Française) President, and event organizer, Philippe Faure-Brac, 68 candidates are appearing on the stage under the spotlight. Here is the moment when we get to know the names of three finalists. Nina Jensen (Denmark), Raimonds Tomsons (Latvia), and Reeze Choi (China) keep competing for the title of ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2023.

ASI Best Sommelier of the World

The first finalist Reeze Choi from China is ready to perform. To imitate true scenes at the restaurant, tables, a cocktail and wine bar are installed directly on the stage. Even a professional bartender is invited to assist. Who are the clients? Of course, they are members of the jury committee sitting at the tables and making their orders, meaning scrutinizing and evaluating every move and word of the sommelier.

The first table is ordering two cocktails, Margarita and Old fashioned, and sparkling wine for a big celebration. This is the first contest of such a prestigious level for Reeze Choi, so he is quite nervous. However, the public is very supportive. Within three minutes, Reeze helps the bartender to prepare cocktails and serves the champagne elaborating on the vintage. Moving to the other two tables, Reeze has 14 minutes for a service. The second table asks for Château D’Issan 2016 (Margaux, magnum) which needs to be decanted. At the same time, the third table goes for Dom Pérignon Brut 2013 served immediately. One of the judges also requests a sommelier’s professional opinion on a red wine from Beaujolais they would like to serve at the corporate evening. This is an incredible scene to observe which gives you an impression to be at the theater and watch a performance of professional actors.

ASI Best Sommelier of the World

In her turn, the second finalist Nina Jensen from Denmark serves confidently and gracefully. She uses every minute of her time in order to provide more details on wines and suggest possible pairings. We can say that she is juggling ideas. She is open and smiling. So, it is not surprising that the public immediately fell in love with her.

Raimonds Tomsons from Latvia is performing the third. He is pretty well put together. He is polite and attentive to his clients. He is the only one who apologizes to the second table for waiting in order he can immediately serve the champagne to the third table. To reduce the tension, he adds some hints of humor: “Yeah, what a night here!” or “This is a Macaron decanter, almost like Macron, but a bit different.”

Sommeliers do not have to be good bartenders, but they have to be able to work in the restaurant environment with colleagues and to collaborate together. The first task is designed to check exactly those skills, as well as knowledge of service and drinks, in particular cocktails for which a guest can have different preferences.

ASI Best Sommelier of the World

The second task is a blind tasting where the candidates need to identify four white wines for 4 minutes. This appears to be tough as the finalists confuse Riesling with Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon with Chardonnay. The stress from a big responsibility reminds of itself. So, the four white wines are Nik Weis Goldtröpfchen G.G 2021 Mosel, Germany, Dom. Wachau Riesling Federspiel Loibenberg 2021 Wachau, Austria, Alheit Vineyards Monument Semillon 2021 Franschhoek, South Africa and Riccitelli Semillon 2021 Rio Negro, Patagonia. Straight after the tasting, the finalists need to associate two pieces of rock with two of the wines in front of them.

The next task is a food pairing. Chef Anne-Sophie Pic asks candidates to pair the proposed wines with the menu at her 3-Michelin-starred restaurant in Valencia.

The fourth task concerns the knowledge of the wine market. In the list of 12 wines, there are mistakes to be identified. All three finalists spotted some mistakes in vintages. For example, Krug Clos du Mesnil 1978 Champagne, France (the first vintage was in 1979), Vega Sicilia Único 2001 Ribera del Duero, Castilla y Leon, Spain (2001 vintage was not released). Some prices also contained errors: Château Margaux 1983 Margaux, Bordeaux, France cannot cost €250 (there should be one more zero) and this wine should be more expensive than Château Margaux 1982 Margaux, Bordeaux, France with the price of €1600 in the list.

ASI Best Sommelier of the World

The fifth individual task is a blind tasting where the sommeliers should, firstly, provide full organoleptic characteristics of a proposed red wine on their left and, secondly, identify the vintage and sell to the audience a red wine on their right. What is interesting here is that the two wines are Château Pétrus Pomerol but of different vintages, 2012 and 2003 respectively. This fact is not noticed by the finalists, however they easily define that the second wine is older with aging potential.

As each of the finalists passes all the tasks within 45 minutes in their turn, they do not actually see the performance and do not hear the answers of each other. However, they are gathered together for the final task. They are shown a series of images due to which they have to guess the wine. The earlier they guess the more points they gain. There are 5 wines in total to guess. Some are not obvious as in the case of Jean Louis Chave Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin.

Now it is done, all the tasks are accomplished, the finalists did their best. The audience froze in anticipation of the announcement of the winner. And the ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2023 becomes Raimonds Tomsons from Latvia. What emotions and a large round of applause! Raimonds is thrilled: “I cannot believe! I am extremely happy!” In his speech, there are many words of gratitude to all his supporters, coaches, trainers and family.

ASI Best Sommelier of the World

Raimonds Tomsons is a Board member at the Latvian Sommelier association, wine director at Barents Wine collectors (Riga, Latvia) and owner of Wine Consulting Ltd. Raimonds Tomsons. He is A.S.I. 3rd Best Sommelier of the world 2019 (Belgium), A.S.I. Best Sommelier of Europe and Africa 2017 (Austria), 3 times Best Sommelier of the Baltics, Vana Tallinn Grand Prix competition, 3 times Best Sommelier of Latvia.

Of the competition, ASI President William Wouters says, “it took more than 30 years for this contest to return to Paris. It was worth the wait! From the first day candidates arrived, they were treated to the hospitality and amazing gastronomy of France. As for the contest itself, it honoured the commitment of our candidates by being both challenging and fair. It is with great pride that we announce Raimonds Tomsons as the winner. I have no doubts they will be a fantastic representative of ASI, and an inspiration to our global sommelier community.”

Nina Basset, FIH Hotelier, who must have watched dozens of competitions, but for the first time in Paris in the status of ASI General Secretary was also sitting at the table in the restaurant installed on the stage. In our conversation, she noted the high level of preparation of candidates despite the stress that they experienced while passing all the tasks. This year, Nina Basset joined the Jury Committee at the Wine Travel Awards where the winner of the Ambassador of the Year category will be awarded with the Gérard Basset Prize “Ambassador of the Year”. Sommeliers are more than welcome to participate.

ASI Best Sommelier of the World

Drinks+ expresses its congratulations and warmest wishes to all the candidates and to the winner Raimonds Tomsons. Sommeliers put a lot of effort, time and money in order to learn different angles of the profession, travel to different wine-producing regions, taste many wines and develop their receptors. It inspires respect and admiration. Bravo!

In the following material about this year’s contest, we will shed light on the participation of the Ukrainian candidate. In the interview with Maryna Revkova, you will learn about her preparation to the ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2023, her impressions and personal favorites, as well as plans for the future and projects she is involved in.


On 12th of February at Paris La Défense Arena, after the high-level competition between three finalists, Raimonds Tomsons from Latvia became the ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2023. Oleksandra Hryhorieva, Drinks+ Editor and Project Lead at the Wine Travel Awards, was invited to the final to share the course of events with our readers. […]

Iryna Bystrytska: «The national brand “Wines of Ukraine” must belong to the state or industry»

The columnist D+ asked Iryna Bystrytska, international consultant of European donors projects aimed to support the wine industry in Ukraine, former Deputy Director of the National Office of Vine and Wine (ONVV) in 2018-2021, about the process of formation of Wines of Ukraine and the prospects of the Ukrainian industry, which is suffering from Russian aggression.

Iryna, your mission is very serious, so it is probably worth starting the conversation by what areas of your activity are addressed to the wine industry of Ukraine. 

In May 2021, we started to work with Ukrainian small businesses in the fields of viticulture and winemaking, as this industry has experienced a significant economic decline in recent years.

We provide technical assistance to small winemakers of Ukraine in the development of an integrated approach to the development of the industry. As part of our activities, multiple trainings are held. They are dedicated to the technological features of the production of natural grape wines in accordance with international quality and safety requirements. We organize events to raise winemakers’ awareness of sustainable development, provide consulting assistance in planning a development strategy, in particular, we have developed a Roadmap for Ukrainian winemaking sector.

Please provide more details about the Roadmap.

I was lucky enough to work with international expert Marco Tiggelman (Netherlands) on its development. And finally, exactly one month before the start of the war in Ukraine, on January 25, 2022, we presented the Roadmap for the development of winemaking in Ukraine to the industry representatives. The Roadmap includes the strategy for the development of Ukrainian viticulture and winemaking, and also outlines the difficulties faced by industry enterprises. The document includes the analysis of the current market situation, consumption and export statistics, the results of research into the state of the industry in Ukraine and other countries, the structure of the main players, as well as a number of recommendations and the action plan for the period until 2030. But, of course, the events in Ukraine made adjustments to our plans.

Can you share the most important domestic consumption and export figures – both positive and negative – from this document?

Let me show you the dynamics: if in 1996 the area under vineyards was 144,000 hectares, then in 2017, only 43,000 hectares remained. Production in 2020 amounted to 5.6 million dL. At the same time, in the same year, consumption in the domestic market reached 9.5 million dL. The share of imports reached about 43% of the total consumption, i.e. – 4.1 million dL. Instead, exports amounted to 244,000 dL, which corresponds to only 4% (according to Your Total Market). That is, local production satisfies only 50% of the market’s consumer demand, moreover, it has a tendency to decrease, primarily due to the annual decrease in the area of ​​vineyards. So, Ukraine, in principle, has a significant potential for the growth of the wine industry only at the expense of the domestic market. Even without considering export opportunities. But, of course, under the conditions of a stable increase in the quality of the produced wine – both for local consumption and for international markets. 

Is it possible to compare Ukraine with any other country that has followed a similar path?

Probably, it is worth comparing with Moldova, Georgia and Armenia – countries with a similar recent history and similar needs to transition from the mass production of the Soviet period and to reorganize the industry with a focus on quality and export. At the same time, there is a key difference between Ukraine and these countries – a capacious domestic market, while the wineries of Moldova, Georgia and Armenia are extremely dependent on exports. According to the ratio of exports and domestic consumption, it is probably more appropriate to compare Ukraine with Romania, a traditional wine-producing country, where exports do not exceed 10% of production.

What are the most important recommendations you make in the Roadmap?

I would like to start by saying that the Roadmap identifies four main strategic opportunities, each of which is a separate and significant area of ​​effort:

  1. The growth of consumption in the local market should be considered as the main opportunity for the Ukrainian wine industry.
  2. Another favourable factor for the Ukrainian wine industry may be the growth of exports and the diversification of export markets.
  3. The consequences of climate change should also be considered as a long-term perspective for the Ukrainian wine industry.
  4. The country’s wine tourism potential is another powerful prospect. 

As for the recommendations, there are more than 20 of them in the Roadmap, they are laid out in five main sections: “Viticulture”, “Production”, “Quality and compliance with standards”, “Structure of the industry”, “Promotion and communication”. Of course, from the point of view of the management of the industry, it is difficult not to notice a rather strong lag behind neighbouring countries, outdated and confusing legislation, the lack of a clear quality control system, primarily of imported products, and most importantly, the lack of a structure directly responsible for the industry and its development. An urgent recommendation is the integration of Ukraine into the world wine market, adaptation to international standards in production and legislation, membership entry into the international wine organization OIV, creation of the national Register of Vineyards and the Wine Office responsible for the promotion and health of the industry.

Let’s proceed to Wines of Ukraine. The situation around this concept seems strange to us and we are not sure that other countries experienced the same. After all, in our country there are several associations of producers who, independently of each other, promote and use this name in their activities. There are even a couple of sites whose domain names include this concept. Please comment on the situation and give your vision: how things should really be if we are talking about a civilized wine-making community guided by the rule of law.

Yes, indeed, the number of different associations, most of which are nominal, surprised us. Many of them compete with each other and do not make any contribution to the development of the industry, but rather create incomprehensible obstacles and additional difficulties in cases where they have been rejected around the world. For example, there are no longer legally prescribed recipes for wine anywhere, but in Ukraine they exist and associations deal with their coordination with the ministry, instead of seeking their cancellation. I had to communicate with wine associations of various countries, both state and public (For example, Australian Winemakers operate without state participation). However, everyone mentioned how difficult it was at the very beginning to unite producers and even difficult to simply sit down at a common negotiating table. But, as they say, the path will be overcome by the one who walks it. And the experience of different countries will help us in this.

What measures and who should implement them so that the concept of Wines of Ukraine finally becomes a reality?

Currently, we are working on the possible structure in Ukraine that should represent this brand. Of course, it cannot belong to a single association or individual. There are many possible options, we consider the formats of offices in different countries, prescribe the functionality of this structure, which we will later discuss with the industry. God willing, we will come up with the format that will suit Ukraine. If we talk about the financing of this structure, then in the first years it can also be international donor projects. In fact, Wines of Ukraine, like the rest of Wines of …. or identical brands of countries – rather needed for promotion in foreign markets and better for countries – new players in the wine world. For example, have you heard a lot about Wines of France? But you probably know the associations of the regions of France and specific wine brands that are not interested in acting under the umbrella brand of the country, they are world famous or too strong for it. The same logic works in the domestic market, where the consumer buys a specific brand, not Wines of Ukraine. To begin with, I would advise you to brainstorm and carefully understand what the umbrella state brand is for and how it works, and then take on the ambition of owning it.

Then maybe let’s talk, at least briefly, about the principles of the state brand Wines of…? During your work in the management of the National Vine and Wine Office of Moldova, you dealt with this concept, because it has been working successfully in Moldova for a long time. What are the mandate and objectives of Wines of…? As far as we understand it, the brand relates to the scope of issues of the National Office. In general, can it belong to a state institution? What could it look like in Ukraine?

A national brand, any, in this case in the field of winemaking, must belong to the state or the industry. That is, the right holder of the brand can be the state or a structure that represents the state and the industry. For example, in Moldova, the right holder of the Wine of Moldova brand is the National Vine and Wine Office of Moldova – the structure based on private-state partnership and acting under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture. It is an umbrella brand under which all wineries participate in exhibitions and various events. At the same time, according to the law, all wineries pay mandatory contributions to the vine and wine fund, depending on the volume of their sales. To the funds collected from the private sector – 50%, the state adds another 50% of its own. The resulting annual budget is spent on supporting and promoting Wines of Moldova both on foreign and domestic markets, for example, on the organization of the National Wine Day. Wine of Moldova was launched 7-8 years ago, not so long ago, and the National Vine and Wine Office was founded in 2013. What it should or can be in Ukraine  should be decided by the industry itself, in any case, Wines of Ukraine should represent the interests of all producers, and first of all the big ones, which will be the country’s visiting card and have a significant export volume.

How important do you think it is for emerging wine markets to have national, or if the country is lucky, international level media that would carry information to export markets about the country’s businesses and tourist destinations? Today, the world is watching what influence the mass media can have if they are supported at the state level. Are there any support programs for existing industry media?

I believe that a wine-producing country must have both professional journalists with education in the wine industry and a specialized press. This is one of the indicators of the level of wine culture in the state. For example, there are dozens of such editions in Great Britain or France, they organize international competitions and are doing well. Ukraine definitely needs media specialized in alcoholic beverages and the industry in general. Of course, today it is difficult to talk about any support from the state, but in the future, of course, industry support for the specialized media should be considered. Your editorial group has gone beyond the borders of Ukraine a long time ago, you can rather be called a regional or even international media, taking into account your long-standing presentations of Ukrainian winemakers at international expo hubs or the new Wine Travel Awards project, etc. I am expressing my sincere respect and admiration for the resilience of your team in these difficult times.

Thank you very much. Iryna, listening to you, a natural question arises: this complex field of industry management with integration into state institutions, even in the context of different countries, requires special experience, perhaps certain education or skills and knowledge. What path did you take to become an international expert of this level?

My career developed and grew in parallel with the economic development of the markets of Ukraine and Moldova. I started as a manager in large international companies, where I was responsible for a group of brands, then I worked as the head of the export development department in a company that was the leading alcohol producer in Ukraine, at that time we were the #2 vodka in the world and exported drinks to 82 countries. I was invited to work at the National Vine and Wine Office of Moldova by the project under the auspices of USAID. At first as a consultant on a number of projects, then I was offered to become a Deputy Director and, in addition to administrative activities, to directly deal with the international development of the industry and the national brand of Wine of Moldova. Hence, I got my experience and knowledge. That way turned out to be the best university.

Allow me to note that Moldova, as a wine-producing country, has really done a miracle over the years: it is not only united, not only performs brilliantly on the international arena, it (everyone understands that this is the achievement of the National Office and the people who worked on it!) managed to break the stereotype regarding the quality of Moldovan wine. So, for Ukraine, this is an example that nothing is impossible. We are sure that soon Ukraine will win and free its wine-growing regions from the invaders. What prospects await them, outlined by the Roadmap you have developed?

Despite the war and all the difficulties, we are focused on the future and are already conducting a number of programs and trainings for Ukrainian producers aimed at improving the quality of wines. These programs touch on important issues of production and sustainable development. Active consultation is currently underway with the sector and the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food  regarding the recommendations of the Roadmap and the creation of the Wine Office, we are discussing important issues of the industry’s vitality in military and occupation conditions, as well as relationships with retail chains and how to maintain focus on national producers. We are working on the expansion of assistance to the wine industry and the involvement of various donor organizations for its support. I would not like to announce everything planned now, because we live in unstable times. But we look at the prospects of Ukrainian winemaking with great optimism, efforts are being made, so I will be happy to tell you more during our next meeting.

In view of the war that is being waged in Ukraine, what are the immediate plans of action?

For winemakers, in addition to trainings, we are planning study visits to Georgia and Armenia at the end of 2022 to exchange experience with associations of producers in different countries and to facilitate cooperation with leading scientific institutes

Thank you, Iryna, both for your work for the good of Ukraine and for the meaningful conversation!

The columnist D+ asked Iryna Bystrytska, international consultant of European donors projects aimed to support the wine industry in Ukraine, former Deputy Director of the National Office of Vine and Wine (ONVV) in 2018-2021, about the process of formation of Wines of Ukraine and the prospects of the Ukrainian industry, which is suffering from Russian […]

ProWein 2022: Same but Different

This year, one of the slogans of the world’s largest exhibition of wine and spirits was Same But Different, and ProWein fully confirmed this statement: the event’s immensity and grandeur which are usually associated with this meeting of the industry of professionals in viticulture, production, trade, and gastronomy have remained unchanged, but there were innovations and surprises, too: from the dates when events were conducted, to premieres and shows held during the exhibition. However, we are going to tell you about everything in the right order: as always, Drinks+ was in the heart of events, and we are ready to share these impressions with our readers.

Let us start with the fact that the long-awaited meeting of wine professionals in Düsseldorf took place after 2 years of forced “downtime” caused by the pandemic, so exhibitors and visitors came to Germany with special feelings and hopes. This year, more than 5,700 exhibitors from 62 countries took part in the exhibition, and the hospitable Messe Düsseldorf opened its doors to 38,000 visitors from 145 countries of the world.

Prowein flags

All three days long, 13 exhibition pavilions were filled with positive energy, which we, Drinks + journalists, could not help feeling. Large wine-producing countries – France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany and Austria – traditionally, had separate halls for wine connoisseurs from specific countries and regions: for example, the French wine-growing regions of Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Loire Valley and Corsica and other had large areas.

 ProWein French stand

The pavilion, where the countries of the New World exhibited their products, caused a great sensation: the overall interest in wines produced outside the traditional regions of Europe, has recently become a general trend in the wine world. So it is not surprising that the stands of winemakers from the United States, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia have always been crowded.

 ProWein Argentina

Another popular “attraction” of this year’s ProWein was the pavilion of organic and biological wines. The global environmental agenda launched this trend some time ago, and year after year, despite the fact that the share of such wines is still quite small in total (for example, organic grapes are now cultivated by just over 2,000 wineries worldwide), the winemakers’ and wine professionals’ interest in such wines is constantly growing. We would like to distinguish two giants of this trend, which had their stands on ProWein: the German Federal Association of Organic Viticulture ECOVIN with ten wineries that are forming it, and the French organization Vignerons de Nature, which unites 30 winemakers introducing organic and biodynamic practices. Incidentally, France is a leader in this trend: on its terroirs, approximately one half of all global organic wineries have been operating.

ProWein organic wine

The pavilion of craft alcohol, beer and cider was interesting: it was probably the liveliest area of the whole exhibition, a meeting place for young creative representatives of craft winemaking and bar culture. Loud music, light shows, clothes which are far from being formal, and relaxed style of communication among exhibitors and visitors, as well as their relatively young age – all this suggested that you are not in the exhibition pavilion, but rather in a nightclub.

ProWein craft alcohol

Naturally, our team’s representatives spent most of their time in pavilion No.11, where the products of Central and Eastern Europe were exhibited, because this is where the stands of our numerous friends and partners who had participated in the first international wine tourism award Wine Travel Awards launched by Drinks+, were located. Our journalists brought to Düsseldorf an exclusive PR catalog of nominees and winners of the Wine Travel Awards Guide 2021-2022. We are proud that our catalog “kept good company” with other world publications about wine at the press stand of the International Trade Press, where visitors of the exhibition had an opportunity to review it for free.

ProWein International Trade Press

In addition to the printed version, it was possible to scan the catalog electronically using QR-code on posters that were placed in different areas of the exhibition.

ProWein WTA Guide

Incidentally, everyone can review the electronic version of the WTA Guide even now: it is posted on a special online platform Digital: online trade press stand of the website prowein.com, which is a new digital offer from Messe Düsseldorf.

Prowein WTA guide

Thus, among the participants of ProWein were WTA participants and sponsors, many of whom are long-standing friends of our editorial board: in the first instance, it is Dr. Ricardo Nunez, owner of Vinos de La Luz group of companies, whom we met in the pavilions of the exhibition. We are expressing sincere gratitude to the Doctor for his kind words dedicated to our project, in which he participated as a member of the jury and sponsor of the nomination Wine & Food Influencer. We should add that the brand ambassador of the international company Vinos de La Luz Nataliia Burlachenko received a special prize – Judge’s Choice Award, so we are waiting for her and Dr. Nunez at the Wine Travel Awards Ceremony at the London Wine Fair, which will take place at 12.30-14.30 on June 8, 2022 at the Industry Briefing Room.

Burlachenko and Dr. Nunez

We are giving you heads up: there were many pleasant meetings of such kind in the ProWein pavilions: for example, we had an opportunity to meet the legend of the wine world Robert Joseph, who is a member of the WTA judiciary board. We are proud that Mr. Joseph, having received a copy of the WTA Guide, appreciated the results of our work.

prowein Robert Joseph

Incidentally, our meeting with Robert Joseph took place at the stand of Moldovan winemakers, where he was holding a master class. The participation of the Moldovan “wine team” in ProWein was organized by the National Bureau of Grapes and Wine of Moldova: Parascovia Ignat, head of marketing department told us that this year, 37 companies presented their products under the brand “Wine of Moldova”. Despite the fact that the Moldovan stand had a record size – 224 square meters (!) – this time, not everyone had an opportunity to be represented at the world’s largest wine exhibition. So we can expect that next year the stand of Moldovan winemakers will be even larger. Well, this trend is quite natural, giving due consideration to rapid growth of the quality of Moldovan wines and their recognition in the world.

Prowein wine of Moldova

Several Moldovan winemakers had separate stands, including Vinari Purcari, which won in the category: Brand – the visiting card of the country.

Prowein Purcari

It should be emphasized that the winemakers of this company are very supportive of Ukraine: the company’s premises have become a refuge for our fellow citizens who are fleeing the war in Ukraine and coming to Moldova, and their exhibition stand was decorated with a poster depicting the wine called Freedom Blend: a drink created by combining local grape varieties of three countries that have been attacked by Russia in recent decades: Rara Niagre (Moldova), Bastardo (Ukraine), and Saperavi (Georgia).

Prowein purcari wine

Incidentally, Georgians were also widely represented at this exhibition: a joint stand of Georgian winemakers was organized by the Georgian Wine Association with the support of the National Wine Agency of Georgia. It was also crowded, and we could hardly get to one of the winners of the WTA – The Shumi Winery, which won the public vote in a record number of nominations, and also became the best in the Magnet of the region category. We look forward to seeing the Shumi Winery at the official Wine Travel Awards ceremony in London, where they will receive “Oscar” in the field of wine tourism.

Prowein Shumi

Another country that acted within the “united front” at the exhibition in Dusseldorf is Armenia. 20 Armenian winemakers had a joint stand organized with the support of the Vine and Wine Foundation of Armenia.

Prowein Armenia

It should be pointed out that this trend – to participate in large profile events under a single national brand – was very clear at ProWein: we saw stands uniting winemakers from Croatia, Ireland, Hungary, Slovenia, Tunisia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries.

ProWein magazines

Unfortunately, this year, visitors of the world’s largest wine exhibition did not see a joint stand of the Ukrainian winemakers: the war and related difficulties – from funding problems to the inability of men to cross the Ukrainian border during the martial law – did not allow Ukraine to be properly represented at such a respectful and prestigious event. We do believe and hope that next time the circumstances will be more favorable for our winemakers, who, along with other fellow citizens, are facing difficult challenges.

ProWein Ukraine

Nevertheless, the Ukrainian flag was still available at the exhibition in Dusseldorf: in the first instance, a group of our winemakers managed to hold a small presentation and tasting of their wines despite all difficulties faced by our country.

Secondly, SHABO, another winner of the Wine Travel Awards in the Must Visit category (The Visiting Card of the Country nomination), presented its products at ProWein on its own.

prowein Shabo

It should be emphasized that a pleasant surprise was that foreign companies, having nothing to do with Ukraine, displayed our flag on their stands just to show that they are on the side of good – the side of kindness, truth, civilization, on the side of Ukraine. The Italian company Savio Trading, which produces and imports alcohol, is among such companies.

ProWein Italians

The entire world has been supporting us, so we hope that this year will be victorious for Ukraine, and 2023, when the next ProWein is scheduled to take place on March 19-21, will bring victory for the Ukrainian wines.

This year, one of the slogans of the world’s largest exhibition of wine and spirits was Same But Different, and ProWein fully confirmed this statement.

The magic seven of Nebbiolo Prima 2022: Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero are in the spotlight

This year, Albeisa Consortium brought to the winewalk the star wines of their regions – both premiere and retrospective vintages.

In 2022, Nebbiolo Prima, which had been first held in 1996 at the initiative of Albeisa Consortium to present Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero DOCG wines, was held for the 26th time. Due to the invitation of relevant consortia and AB Comunicazione, our editorial staff was lucky enough to join the large-scale tasting (the tasting took three days, and more than 300 samples from 180 winemakers were involved) of regular releases of famous wines: Barolo DOCG 2018 and Riserva 2016, Barbaresco DOCG 2019, Riserva 2017, Riserva 2019, Riserva 2019, Roero DOCG 2019, and Riserva 2018. And there was a cheery on the cake: retrospective Barolo DOCG 2008/2006 Riserva, Barbaresco DOCG 2009 Riserva, Roero DOCG 2008 Riserva.

Nebbiolo Prima 2022

First, we would like to express our gratitude to the organizers for the invitation and apologize for the delay in publishing the material, which was caused by the start of the war in Ukraine; it forced Drinks+ journalists to leave their homes and work places simultaneously. In fact, Nebbiolo Prima was our last pre-war event, the last major event of peacetime…

Nebbiolo Prima 2022

Indeed, the premiere, which brought together wine journalists from all over the world, was extremely friendly and emotional. Every night, after a busy day of rhythmic blind tastings, the international journalistic community would gather in the hotel lobby for private meetings with Piedmont winemakers, scientists, oenologists, ampelographers and more. These wine parties were respectfully chaired by Marina Marcarino, President of Albeisa Consortium, who took care of each guest. This was followed by gastronomic dinners with the Lange star wines, which were artfully emphasized by the performances of the famous Italian opera stars, and that greatly adorned our round-the-clock stay at the hotel in Alba, due to the then pandemic restrictions.

Nebbiolo Prima 2022

Today, through the prism of the war imposed on us, the wines premiere is remembered with a special sense of nostalgia for a peaceful life, when friendly discussions about wines prevailed.

However, on the average, a high quality of all presented sets did not cause many differences among the journalistic community, so there was nothing to argue about. The general opinion is that despite some seasonal natural anomalies of certain vintages, the vast majority of samples are ready to go to the world arena.

Nebbiolo Prima 2022

Thus, let’s look at the premiere wine sets through the prism of natural circumstances. To all appearances, the vintage Barbaresco DOCG 2019 and Roero DOCG 2019 were formed in all areas in very favorable conditions, though somewhat agitated by prolonged winter colds, mid-summer peak temperatures, and September hail. So, Nebbiolo 2019 was harvested with almost classic characteristics, and observers almost unanimously declared vintage as “traditional”, marked by decent quality, overall elegance, though emphasized its slightly reduced quantity. All samples, with very rare exceptions, were assessed by us as almost ready for the table. Although most of them will reach their prime time within at least five years.

Nebbiolo Prima 2022

To adequately assess the vintage 2018 Barolo DOCG and Roero Riserva DOCG, it should be noted that the year began with prolonged rains, which lasted throughout cool spring and until early June. However, by the blossom time, the weather had improved, and a period of stable optimum temperature commenced and lasted until September. If we compare Nebbiolo with terroirs Barolo and Roero, the vegetative period of the latter seemed shorter, but it did not affect the ripening of berries. Yields decreased slightly, but quality remained high. At the same time, in Barolo and Barbaresco areas, sugar levels increased, and phenolic maturation accelerated. In general, vintage showed a good balance of acidity with some deviations in Roero wines. Generally speaking, we could observe a solid territorial identity, a tendency to long aging.

Nebbiolo Prima 2022

Vintage 2017 was presented at the premiere by Barbaresco Riserva DOCG. After a mild winter, Piedmont experienced sudden frosts in April and thereupon summer heat. Well,  Lange’s winemakers expected terrible consequences, but as previous tastings show, the vintage of Nebbiolo from the Barbaresco area turned out to be unexpectedly promising. Spring frosts could damage the early buds of grapes, but went through the valleys, bypassing most of the slopes. The summer heat relieved the local growers of the need to resort to excessive cultivation of vines, and the ideal temperatures in early autumn provided a slow ripening of berries and a fairly harmonious balance of Barbaresco Riserva, as well as a tendency to long aging.

At the preview, vintage 2016 was presented by Barolo Riserva DOCG. And here, we should remind that Nebbiolo variety requires the longest growing cycle, and 2016 met this requirement as best as possible. From the second half of winter, the weather was mild, with little rainfall, but it rained until the end of March, which provided good soil moisture. Low spring temperatures turned into an advantage, due to which it was possible to avoid vine diseases. Summer was balanced, and the beginning of autumn was comfortable for ripening berries, which gave a healthy and high-quality harvest with a harmonious balance. The 2022 premiere of Barolo Riserva 2016 demonstrated a pleasant average quality and noticeable freshness. If I allow myself generalizing, it appears that organoleptic profile of the presented samples corresponded to my idea of the typical Barolo.

Nebbiolo Prima 2022

Harmony reigns within the set – we saw wines with a perfect balance between structure and acidity, and they obviously come up to the expectations of the highest level of elegance and premium quality. If we are detailing about the natural circumstances under which the vintage presented to the journalistic community was formed, it should be noted that the harvest seemed generous, which gave excellent wines, including those of extraordinary class. The bouquet usually showed richness of the gamut, and the taste was distinguished due to juiciness, spectacular tannins. Undoubtedly, each sample revealed its own particularities.

Tasting notes

Day one.

Barbaresco DOCG 2019

In my opinion, the most captivating wines were those produced by the following producers.

  1. Luidgi Diordano. The aroma is light, fruity, the taste is quite balanced, with a hint of tannins, light, harmonious sweetness that does not overshadow freshness, quite finished.
  2. Moccagatta. The first nose reveals a perfume, barely perceptible notes of freesia, then tobacco leaves and tones of wood appear in the bouquet. The body is light, tannins are noticeable, astringent flavor with a hint of balsamico, good potential.
  3. Cascina Morassino. The flavor is characterized by summer honeysuckle, red fruits, light body, tannins are fresh, but are not yet quite mature. It may appear to be a very good “ladies’ wine”. For strong ladies with a touch of style)).
  4. Cortese Guseppe. It already reveals itself well in the aroma dominated by fresh red fruits, quite friendly tannins. Relatively finished.
  5. Саscina Luisin. Red fruits and berries, lemon notes and freshness, juiciness in aroma and taste, the shade of ripe raspberries dominates. Elastic body.
  6. Musso. Elegant pomegranate color, red plum in aroma, slightly noticeable jam, pleasant, distant shade of prunes, tannins still young, but quite ready to be served on the table.
  7. Poderi Colla. The first nose reveals animal notes, but distant, non-irritating tannins are noticeable, the taste is balanced, it is better to wait one year before use, great potential.
  8. Giacosa Fratelli. Minerality and fruit in aroma, charming taste with balanced sweetness. Slightly astringent tannins, but polite, docile. Good wine!
  9. Adriano Marco e Vittorio. The light honey sweetness in the aroma evokes magical memories of a summer garden strewn with juicy red berries. The second nose reveals grassy tones, a distant aroma of honeysuckle, and a slightly astringent taste. I recommend waiting for its prime time before drinking this wonderful wine.
  10. Cascina Vano. A pleasant combination of aromas of soft tawed leather and fruits. Balanced in acidity, noble sweetness breaks through young tannins. Very potential!
  11. Pietro Rinaldi. Tobacco leaves break through the basket of ripe fruit, adding a bouquet of originality, the taste reveals barely perceptible tactical jamming, the body is silky, tannins are almost smoothed, but I would still wait another year or two.
  12. Cecilia Monte. Aroma of barberry, the taste reveals fruits and freshness, it is a wine on the rise, with excellent potential, light tannins in the taste, we would prescribe a couple of years of aging to enter “adulthood”.
  13. Paitin. Bright fruit, a kind of cherry orchard, with a light but elegant color of young pomegranate, the taste is quite dense, well-formed, but tannins are noticeable.
  14. Ca’ del Baio. The wine is completely ready for consumption, tannins are subdued, only a little noticeable – distant, quite pleasant trace, the wine is fresh, the acidity is high but restrained, the aroma is red ripe plum, a little jam. Good wine.

Nebbiolo Prima 2022

Roero 2019

  1. Cascina Lanzarotti. Fruity aroma with a distant jasmine note. The taste is fresh, wonderful, with a slight interference of tannins – literally within a year it will turn into a wonderful wine.
  2. Deltetto. The aroma is a boiled fruit mix with an emphasis on dried pears. The taste is fresh, fruity, tannins smoothed, rounded. It is a wine ready for drinking.
  3. Socré. Pleasant multi-component aroma, elegant, unfolded in a luxurious multifarious aftermath with barely recognizable animal tones, later dominated by jasmine. Tannins are ripe, rounded.
  4. Punset. An outstanding example, a luxurious, layered aroma. Herbal and balsamico notes, juicy dark cherry, shaded with chocolate, wilted rose petals, delicate, elegant taste, tannins are already soft, docile.
  5. Mustela di Iuorio Giuliano. Bouquet with a hint of balsamico, herbs, it reminds vermouth, beautiful and elegant body, almost mature tannins, complex taste, also with great potential.

Day two.

Barolo 2018

  1. Marengo Mario. Aroma of precious leather accessories, with a delicate note of tobacco. The taste is typical, harmonious, with obvious tannins. Great potential.
  2. Voerzio Martini. Sophisticated noble aroma, deep elegant color. The taste is fresh, with a good balance, begins to round, but the tannins are young.
  3. Aurelio Settimo. Elegant, well-developed wine, but still in the process of maturing. The aroma is interesting, with tertiary notes of salty breeze from the coast.
  4. Dosio Vigneti. Elegant, well-developed wine, but still in the process of maturing. The aroma is interesting, with tertiary notes of salty breeze from the coast.
  5. Diego e Damiano Barale. Noble aroma of barolo, light shades of jam, which flow into a powerful aftermath of noble leather, soft and rounded in general. The taste is harmonious, typical of barolo, although the aftertaste is quite short, and tannins are still irritating.
  6. Roberto Sarotto Az. Agr. Pleasant complex aroma of leather, tobacco, with a distant note of spices, including pepper. Spices are felt and tasted; tannins are “courteous”. This is a very potential, good wine.
  7. Diego Morra. Expressive aroma, this wine represents the best example of barolo: leather, tobacco, with distant notes of sweet aroma produced by making cream with chocolate, pleasant taste, freshness, tannins are noticeable.

Nebbiolo Prima 2022

Day three.

Barolo DOCG 2018

  1. Anna Maria Abbona. Wonderful fresh aroma of barolo, precious, delicate leather mixed with a fruit bouquet, balanced taste, harmonious balance of acidity. Some vivid tannins, but conditionally finished.
  2. Agricola Gian Piero Marrone. Expressive aroma of precious leather, taste is elegant but expressive, tannins are orderly.
  3. Podere Ruggeri Corsini. Deep color of pomegranate, summer aroma of red fruits, but restrained, balanced, taste with light astringency.
  4. Barale Fratelli. Beautiful, dignified aroma, in a “masculine” style, soft leather and cherry stone, taste with a distinguished emphasis on juicy dark cherry, smoothed but noticeable tannins.
  5. Costa di Bussia Tenuta Arnulfo. Beautiful, elegant color. The aroma of a night flower breaking through, a pleasant taste where tannins still win.
  6. Parusso (Mosconi). Bright aroma with a distant note of exotic fruit with typical Baroque tones in the background. Tangible identity and taste, still young tannins. Potential.
  7. Parusso (Perarmando). Complex elegant aroma, with an emphasis on the passion fruit, quite stable. Maybe atypical, but attractive. Unfortunately, the acidity in the taste prevails a bit, and the tannins are bravura, although they promise to calm down soon. Too light body, in my opinion. However, with lapse of time, it can give an interesting result.
  8. Principiano Giuseppe e Francesco. Already ripe formed aroma, good balance of taste, tannins are still young. We can talk about a good prospect in an elegant style.
  9. Giovanni Rosso. Berry note in aroma, mild taste with harmonious acidity, slightly young tannins. Apparently, another year or two before joyful drinking.
  10. Revello Fratelli. Red plum in aroma, pleasant taste, round, playful and still vivid tannins. In my opinion, it will be an outstanding wine with lapse of time.
  11. Boasso Franco. Beautiful, elegant deep dark pomegranate color. Formed body. The first nose reveals pectusin. A little alcoholic, the taste is pleasant, plum, young tannins creak.
  12. Pira Luigi. The aroma is expressive and warm. Remote tobacco leaf. The taste is fruity, expressive, with a note of dried fruits.
  13. Giovanni Rosso. The aroma is typical, tender, the taste is harmonious with a good balance of acidity. Tannins are young, but potentially it is a very good wine!

Day three. Retrospective.

The retrospective tasting turned out to be spectacular and generous: 47 samples of aged wines from the Lange star areas.

Roero DOCG, 2008 Riserva

Malvira. A complex bouquet of aged wine, slightly overripe, the taste is harmonious, the wine is absolutely in its prime time, it is the time to drink it, and there is no need to wait any longer.

Barbaresco DOCG, 2009 Riserva

  1. Giuseppe Cortese. Aroma of ripe fruit, warmed by the sun, and May jasmine. The taste is light, fresh, pleasant, fruity. Tannins are vivid, but polite.
  2. Grasso Fratelli. Dark pomegranate color, complex aroma of licorice, sweet fruit, a bit high-alcohol, rich. The taste is round, with good balance, pleasant, astringent.

Barbaresco DOCG, 2007 Riserva

  1. Castello di Neive. The aroma is complex, jam with spices, the body is formed, mature, the taste is pleasant, expressive, tannins are vivid.

Barolo DOCG, 2008 Riserva

  1. Marchesi di Barolo. The color of precious stones, the body is beautiful, the aroma is complex and elegant. The taste is moderately rounded, pleasant, the balance of acidity is perfect, the tannins are fast, but nice. The aftertaste is long.
  2. Curto Marco. Luxurious aroma, characteristic of barolo, complex, beautiful. Bouquet decoration – fragile violet. The taste is appropriate, pleasant, with a prolonged aftertaste.
  3. Revello Fratelli. If you come across this wine, I advise you to buy it without hesitation. A real masterpiece! A complex, powerful bouquet, reminiscent of paintings by old Italian masters: the same dark, deep colors and tones. A range of precious spices, sandalwood, rounded taste, soft, complex, with a distinct aftertaste.
  4. Mauro Molino. Friendly aroma with typical tones of adult barolo: treated leather, roses, later – licorice, tobacco leaves. The taste is decent, the tannins are vivid, the wine is in its prime.
  5. Silvano Bolmida. Sophisticated luxurious aroma, jam notes, spices. The taste is fresh, pleasant, slightly astringent with a noticeable note of high-quality chocolate, long aftertaste.
  6. Agricola Marrone. Deep, elegant color of the royal mantle. Mature body, with velvety blinks, the taste is complex with a noticeable fruity accent, as if you taste juicy spirited fruit, in dark premium chocolate. Pleasant, rounded taste. Wonderful wine!

Nebbiolo Prima 2022

Day four.

Barolo Riserva DOCG 2016

The last day was dedicated to the culmination of any event in Piedmont – Barolo successful vintage 2016.

288 bis. Virna Borgogno. The aroma is expressive, complex, harmonious. The first nose reveals leather, light fruity notes. The taste is fresh, harmonious with vivid but good tannins.

  1. Brezza Giacomo e Figli. Notes of red berries appear, then leather, coffee beans of high-quality roasting. The taste is somewhat astringent, the balance of acidity is good.
  2. Cavallotto. Expressive, surprisingly beautiful aroma, complex: soft leather, spices, light notes of spring jasmine. The taste is round, fresh, a bit atringent, but a very decent example.
  3. Giacosa Fratelli. Bright example, worthy of attention of connoisseurs. Expressive, complex, luxurious aroma of the famous barolo. Blackberry notes in the first nose are thereupon emphasized by tender well-treated leather, and in the second by sweet fruity notes. Very mature but fresh wine. The taste is also expressive, fresh, with a noticeable aftertaste.
  4. Cascina del Monastero. Complex expressive aroma of beautiful leather, chokeberry. The taste of chokeberry, too. The aftertaste is long, pleasant.
  5. Aurelio Settimo. Very elegant aroma with hints of berries in the first nose, then leather, tobacco leaf. The taste is great, balanced, vivid tannins.
  6. Cascina Sot. The aroma is typical, elegant, the body is mature, beautiful, the color of a ripe pomegranate. The taste is balanced.
  7. Livia Fontana. Very warm, expressive aroma, complex and soothing: red summer fruits, spices, leather tone. The taste is also expressive, balanced, with a fresh, slightly astringent taste.
  8. Costa di Bussia Tenuta Arnulfo. To all appearances, it is the best example in today’s set due to its aroma. Precious spices, leather, sweet blackberries – all in a complex, colorful, but harmonious bouquet. Exquisite wine for special events. The color is appropriate: deep pomegranate with playful highlights, beautiful body, formed. The taste is expressive, round, fresh. Noticeable tannins.
  9. Sara Vezza. Deep warm elegant aroma of dark chocolate, spices, prunes in chocolate. In the future, boiled berries, and a light shade of wild mushrooms. The taste is balanced, pleasant, fresh. The aftertaste is a bit herbal.
  10. Famiglia Anselma. The first nose: animal tones, but pleasant, good and worthy wine, then fine spices. The taste is expressive, fruity, slightly astringent.
  11. Schiavenza. The first nose is a little perfumy, of the “for men” type: sandalwood, spices. The taste reveals tannins, but already ripe and smooth.
  12. Paolo Manzone. Ripe, pleasant aroma with a sweet light fruity note, a little spicy. The taste is fresh, fruity, pleasant. Tannins are a little more vivid than we would like them to be.
  13. Palladino. A striking example in all respects. The first nose reveals berries, thereupon leather. Tannins are noticeable, but moderate.

D+ Files

In our view, Albeisa is a unique association that became a consortium in 2020. It originated as a means of promoting the territory and wines of Lange in a very specific way: the marketing flagship and symbol of Albeisa is a characteristic bottle with a specific design and a high level of aesthetics. This bottle ensures the identity of the wines of certain areas. Its history dates back to the 18th century, when winemakers around the city of Alba wanted to have unique bottles for their wines, such as the famous bottles for Bordeaux and Burgundy. Their ambitious plan was entrusted to masterful glassblowers, who created a shape with an instantly recognizable contour of the shoulders. Bottles were made only manually, and immediately became an elegant decoration on the tables of the nobility. Subsequently, their popularity declined, but in 1973, due to the collective dream of 16 producers from Alba region and in response to the ideas of Renato Ratti, the Albeisa bottle was recreated, and its use is regulated by an unprecedented charter protecting and defining its use.

The real innovation, unique in its category, was not the reproduction of the old bottle itself, but its combination with the territory where grapes are growing. The new version of the bottle from 1973 is called literally similarly to epaulets: by referring to four places on the shoulders where they could be worn. Associazione dei Produttori dell’Albese has been protecting the right of use, clarifying the rules, in particular, for which grape varieties and DOC/DOCG names it may be used. Since 2007, the Albeisa bottle is also available in a lightweight version, which weighs about 30% less than the traditional model. Manufacturers are increasingly using this alternative, and demand for it has grown from an initial one million bottles in 2007 to more than five million a year. This innovation means reduction in the consumption of energy and raw materials for the production of the bottle, as well as a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. Albeisa is a progressive and large-scale, internationally renowned project that covers the craftsmanship of the winemakers, the natural and gastronomic delights of the regions, the preservation of the environment and a truly unique oenological heritage. Today, it includes about 300 producers who export nearly 18 million bottles of fine wines to wine lovers around the world.

This year, Albeisa Consortium brought to the winewalk the star wines of their regions – both premiere and retrospective vintages.

Two-day Italian Taste Summit at Lake Garda

From the 13th to 14th of April, Lake Garda again became a meeting point for wine professionals, buyers and wine writers from all over the world. Veronika Busel, Managing Partner at the Wine Travel Awards, joined this year’s Italian Taste Summit.

Professional wine community came here from different parts of Europe, United States, Asia and Middle East to discover new Italian explorations in order to bring new wines to their home countries, exchange knowledge and stories with their network.

Italian Taste Summit

The 5th edition of the Italian Taste Summit was hosted by the Masi Tenuta Canova (Lazise, Verona) and Le Possessioni Serego Alighieri (Sant’Ambrogio di Valpollicella, Verona) wineries, which have historical tight connection to Garda and Valpolicella. It should be noted that the Italian Taste Summit event is closed to the public and is accessible only by invitation and only to operators of the sector previously confirmed. The concept and organization of the event was done by a team of Italian and foreign professionals from the Wine Global Aspect – Miro & Co. agency, with the leadership of the guiding star Joanna Miro. The main partner of the Summit was a local bank Crédit Agricole FriulAdria – a banking partner specialized in services to the wine supply chains.

Italian Taste Summit

50 wineries of excellence, selected among the most representative in Italy, such as Masi Agricola, Endrizzi, Maeli, Onepiò, Ermacora, Panizzari, Ronco Margherita, Briziarelli and many others, in a private and stylish atmosphere, did their best to demonstrate their strong points and craftsmanship. All these wineries expressed high appraisal for their regions and terroir.

And this is a perfect way to differentiate yourself in competition in a post-pandemic reality! 

Italian Taste Summit

On Wednesday 13th, an intense morning of wine degustations and seminars was elevated by the highly anticipated Bubble Party in the Sala Fruttaio, Masi Tenuta Canova, responsibility of chef Giacomo Sacchetto, who is now at the helm of his La Cru di Grezzana, about twenty kilometers from Verona, where he gives life to a cuisine that he defines as “refined, local, concrete”. Love and respect for the area and its products have led it to obtain a Green Star alongside the classic Michelin Star, awarded to restaurants that stand out for their attention to sustainability. Giacomo Sacchetto is the executive chef of the Masi Wine Experience.

The menu, strongly linked to the region and it’s raw materials, was created in combination with each of the 6 wines: Sauvignon Friuli Colli Orientali Doc di Ermacora, Piancastello Brut Riserva Trento Doc Classic Method by Endrizzi, Party Lugana Doc Spumante Extra Dry by Onepiò, Dilì Moscato Giallo Igt Veneto organic by Maeli, Quaranta Lune VSQ Classic Method Millesimato Extra Brut by Panizzari.

Giacomo Sacchetto

On Thursday 14th April, the B2B meetings and technical tastings with wine sector guides continued. At the same time, organizers encouraged a dialogue involving local producers and international stakeholders, and this laid the groundwork for future collaborations. 

Italian Taste Summit

For Drinks+ and the Wine Travel Awards, the Italian Taste Summit is an event not to be missed, not only to learn about Italian wine and to meet the professionals behind it – an event full of meetings, seminars and tastings was expected, but also to invest in new cooperation opportunities! 

During the event Veronika Busel – WTA Managing partner made a pitch presentation of the Wine Travel Awards project and spoke with guests on perspectives on wine tourism in the post-pandemic world. The WTA team is ready to welcome on board new members of the WTA Community for the second year of the campaign, 2022-2023!

From the 13th to 14th of April, Lake Garda again became a meeting point for wine professionals, buyers and wine writers from all over the world. Veronika Busel, Managing Partner at the Wine Travel Awards, joined this year’s Italian Taste Summit.

Vinitaly 2022 in all its glory after a two-year compelled break

The most eagerly-awaited business and promotion event in the wine sector returned with attendance in person after two years on the side-lines: Veronafiere at last hosted Vinitaly again from 10-13 April.

Impressive, large-scale, uniting, tasty, welcoming, ambitious, reputable and many more… All this is about this year’s Vinitaly; in fact, as always! Numerous beautifully dressed, sometimes even glamorous, visitors were quickly moving between the halls in order to fulfill their intense programs and not miss a single scheduled meeting. In total, there were 17 halls (identified by a number from one to 12 and A-F letters of the alphabet).

Vinitaly 2022

The 54th International Exhibition of Wines and Spirits featured 4,400 companies from 19 countries, more than 30 conferences and 76 super-tastings on the schedule. An integrated system with the online VinitalyPlus b2b platform, with more than 17,000 labels uploaded in digital format by producers. Vinitaly 2022 set a new record for attendance by international foreign buyers as a percentage to total admissions: 25,000 operators from 139 countries in fact represent 28% of the total number of operators attending the event (88,000).

Innovations in the 17 show halls – over and above the ‘fourth colour of wine’ area focusing on Orange wine – included “MicroMegaWines – Micro Size, Mega Quality”, the new section specifically for niche and limited edition production of the highest quality, the Organic Hall implementing the offering by Vinitaly Bio, and the Mixology section making its official debut with its own format.

Vinitaly also offered space for international exhibitors in the International Wine Hall set up exclusively for international wines from France, Brazil, Slovenia, Argentina, Spain, Serbia, Macedonia, Lebanon and South Africa, as well as international media where Drinks+ welcomed visitors at its own stand.

In the evening of 9 April, when the night was falling on the city of Verona, Vinitaly 2022 was officially open! The magic of opera and the largest theatre under the stars in the world were the protagonist of the first act, together with creations of chef Davide Oldani and wines selected by VINITALY.

Awards ceremony for the 2022 International Vinitaly Prize and announcement of the IWSC The Wine Communicator of the Year (Sarah Heller, the youngest Master of Wine in Pacific Asia) took place this evening as well.

Vinitaly Theatre

The Vinitaly program was diverse and intense, raising such questions as emergencies and competitiveness of Italian wine at the conference organized by Coldiretti, biodiversity in the Italian Constitution, Italian autochthonous reds, the strength of lightness (Grand Tasting), organic wine and its trends and challenges, etc.

One of the brightest discussions of the first day – “Iconic Women in Italian Wine” – was hold by two leading international female journalists Monica Larner of Robert Parker Wine Advocate and Alison Napjus of Wine Spectator, the female managing director of Vinitaly International, and seven renowned Italian women wine producers:

  • Chiara Boschis of E. Pira & Figli in Barolo
  • Elisabetta Foradori from Trentino
  • Arianna Occhipinti from Sicily
  • Marilisa Allegrini of Allegrini Estates
  • Elena Fucci from Mt. Vulture in Basilicata
  • Albiera Antinori from Tignaello
  • Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta with her legendary Sassicaia.

The event followed by the wine tasting focused on personal stories, camaraderie, and the aspiration all these women hold for the future of Italian wine.

The second day of Vinitaly opens under the banner of solidarity for Ukraine. As a media communication group who always represents and promotes the Ukrainian wine industry, Drinks+ cannot help but mention some events and discussions in support of Ukraine that took place in the course of this large-scale exhibition. Thanks to our partner “Ukrvinprom” in cooperation with Italian team from Tony Sasa, two Ukrainian wineries, WTA nominees, Beykush Winery and Château Kurin were presented at Vinitaly 2022.

The international exhibition of wines and spirits, scheduled at Veronafiere until April 13, has chosen to allocate all the proceeds of the 76 super-tastings and all the paid masterclasses to Caritas initiatives in support of the populations affected by the war in Ukraine. The amount, estimated at 80 thousand euros, will be entirely donated to the reception of refugees and, in particular, Ukrainian families.

In the afternoon of 11 April, in hopes of the war’s imminent ending, the Consortium of Brunello di Montalcino DOCG in collaboration with the Consortium of Chianti Classico DOCG and the Consortium of Bolgheri and Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC joined forces to bring to life a charitable auction for the people of Ukraine. 33 impressive lots of prized bottles and vintage wines offered by the member producers of each Consortium were bid both online and in the hall. Almost all bottles had a volume of magnum (1.5 l) or Jeroboam (3 l).

The auction “Wine for Peace” started with an opening speech of the President of Vinitaly and proceeded with words of support from representatives of consortiums. The organisers noted that nowadays we are used to doing charity silently, but we cannot help but use such a big and well-known platform as Vinitaly to voice the devastating war taking place in Ukraine and thousands of ruined lives. Ukraine and its people should feel supported by the world of wine!

Dr. Ricardo Nuñez, an owner of Vinos de La Luz, a big friend of Ukraine and a sponsor of Wine Travel Awards (WTA), actively participated in the auction showing once again his support to Ukraine. “Ukraine is my country,” he said.

Talking about our innovative project in the wine tourism industry, Vinitaly turned out also to be a place where we could reunite with the WTA nominees and partners, as well as build bridges and develop our international community even further.

Photos: Ukrvinprom, VINITALY

The most eagerly-awaited business and promotion event in the wine sector returned with attendance in person after two years on the side-lines: Veronafiere at last hosted Vinitaly again from 10-13 April.