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Gastronomy and Wine Portal

Wine design in Ukraine

Winemakers, striving to create the perfect wine, can pay maximum attention to caring for the vines and experimenting with technology. But the time and effort spent getting the blend flawless will be wasted if you fail … the label design.

Oleksandr Andreiev, co-founder of the Reynolds and Reyner agency, which has been engaged in wine design for more than ten years, both for Ukrainian and foreign products, told us about the peculiarities of creating labels for wine.

The buyer loves with their eyes

No matter what, but people tend to judge a book by its cover. And, of course, the label acts as the “cover” of wine. Wine.net recently surveyed 2,000 buyers about what influences their wine choices. The researchers asked to clarify what factors were most important for them in their choice: the visual of the label, the shape of the bottle, familiarity with the wine itself, the variety or the vineyard. And during the experiment, it turned out that 82% of respondents made their choice only on the basis of the appearance of the labels.


The subtleties of wine design

Every brand manager or company owner should know that wine design is a separate area of ​​design, it should not be ordered from those who have never done it, for example, from web designers or identity designers, and even from those who deal with packaging of other mass market products. Wine design has its own world with its own rules and subtleties. It is necessary not only to feel the category, but also to understand the properties of paper, effects, technical limitations, why capsules are needed, and the rules for gluing labels depending on the shape of the bottle and the characteristics of their storage.

As for the visual part, it should be noted that each wine brand is unique. Therefore, the general rules and trends that can be found on the Internet will not suit it. You need interesting solutions to stand out on the shelf filled with a huge number of competitors. Placing photos of vineyards, wineries, terroir or barrels on labels is a long-worn solution that no longer works. It is necessary to search for a deeper idea, which is vividly visualized on the label.

When a new effective design is created

If you are creating a new brand or line of wine, you should make an effort to carve your niche on the shelf. A well-thought-out brand strategy will help you find your way to stand out and become noticeable: why you need a product, who will buy it, how to attract consumers, and most importantly – how we will be different and stand out. With the theory out of the way, you need to start practicing and create a visual feature for the label.

Shabo Special Edition

One of the most recent works by Reynolds and Reyner is the design for the new Shabo Special Edition line. The main element of the label is the image of a swallow. The idea was based on the fact that it is a positive image, a bird that is loved in Ukraine and welcomed with joy in the spring. This is an easy to remember and noticeable image. The buyer will not pass by.

For this collection, two types of labels were created: one with a large contour image of a swallow, which is read from a distance, for semi-sweet wines. And a swallow on the label in the form of a small print – for dry wines of a slightly higher price category.

Why evolution is important in redesign

If a brand has already existed for 3-5 years, it was originally made with high quality, but the question arises of redesigning the label – there is no need to radically change it. The design must evolve, improve, but remain recognizable and carry the brand’s DNA. Take a look, for example, at the Marengo sparkling wine that Reynolds and Reyner worked on and see how the label design has evolved over time.


1 photo. Old label, roughly 2015: complex configuration, many geometric elements – figured corners, strokes, arched logo writing in compressed font.

2 photos. Slightly updated label, 2019: after the redesign of Marengo vermouths, sparkling wines were also partially updated – the main elements are similar to the old ones, but they have become simpler, the brand spelling already has a weaker curvature, fewer strokes and a simpler font.

3 photos. Completely new label, 2021: a laconic and simple die-cut shape, the brand logo is now centered and has been removed from the bend that previously prevented a simpler label shape design.

We take two designs – an old one and a new one and see if it’s better. Has the branding become more visible, but at the same time has not lost its recognition? The answer is obvious. Moreover, the new label did not come as a shock to the consumer, as he had been accustomed to it for many years. Plus, the design has become more modern and elegant, and your favorite wine is now visible on the shelf even better than before.

What’s inside? The packaging will tell you!

Each wine category has its own unwritten design rules. We are all accustomed to the fact that still wine has one bottle shape, and sparkling wine has another. This is understandable most often even without labels. But sometimes sparkling drinks can be packaged in a different format for sale – for example, in cans. And in this case, it is important that design tells the buyer what exactly is inside. After all, cans contain beer, juices, and drinks.


Working on the case for the Landini carbonated wine drink, Reynolds and Reyner created a design where all lettering and background elements are composed of bubbles. Thanks to this design, the buyer immediately understands that this is a sparkling drink. In addition, the back of the can shows a map of the country of origin – Italy. It identifies a clear place where this drink is actually produced.

We can safely say that label design is just as important as the skill of the winemaker. A wine label needs to grab people’s attention, generate interest, and convey a series of important messages to drive purchasing decisions. Therefore, its creation must be approached with a deep understanding and knowledge of all aspects of wine design.

Photo: marengo, np_landini9, shabo, zamR1

Oleksandr Andreiev, co-founder of the Reynolds and Reyner agency, which has been engaged in wine design for more than ten years, both for Ukrainian and foreign products, told us about the peculiarities of creating labels for wine.

IWINETC – an excellent platform for business contacts and development

Drinks+ Communication Media Group has become an information partner of IWINETC after presentation of its new international project Wine Travel Awards (WTA). In its turn, IWINETC has become the Official Partner of the award as a sponsor of the prize fund, which will provide the winners of the 2021-2022 WTA with the opportunity to attend this leading wine tourism conference next year.

Veronika Busel, WTA Managing Partner, attended the event and shares with the readers of Drinks+, what happened at the event held in the first year after the lockdown.

Despite serious concerns about the possibility of holding the event offline – bearing in mind the last year’s October experience, when the conference was urgently “moved” to the virtual space instead of the planned event in Trieste (Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, Italy) – the event did take place, and the 2021 slogan sounded like this: “Bouncing Back!”, which means “We are recovering!” or “We are returning to normal!”


For many guests who follow the diverse geolocations of IWINETC, this is a truly long-awaited event. It should be pointed out that in addition to admitting new players, since 2009 around IWINETC, a community was being formed during the next 13 years, and in fact, now it is a club of more than 700 wine tourism professionals from 45 countries, whose members do not miss a chance to meet each other face to face.


Exclusive wine trip

On October 25, the IWINETC team hosted a welcome reception for guests from all over the world – an exclusive one-day tour around the authentic Portuguese Ribeira,  with wine tasting in Calem cellars. The speakers and delegates were exploring the old cellars together and enjoying various styles of port wines.


After a busy day, the participants were invited to a private event held that evening in the cellars of one of the oldest wine houses in Portugal – Ferreira; it was accompanied by a light dinner and tasting of local wines from Algarve, Madeira, Alentejo, Douro, Vinho Verde, Dão. It should be emphasized that it was a real wine journey led by a renowned wine expert in Portugal. We should add that the event took place to the accompaniment of traditional Portuguese fado music.


Speeches by experts, bright events, and one-to-one business meetings

On October 26-27, during the two days of the conference, the participants had many opportunities to learn more about the world’s leading wine tourism destinations and their products, get access to professional and educational seminars, and make new connections with representatives of the wine tourism sector. The conferences and trade event were organized at the newly opened 5-star luxury hotel overlooking the Ribeiro – The Lodge Wine & Business Hotel.


During two busy days of the conference, 17 presentations and panel discussions were held.

The opening ceremony included welcoming speeches by Anthony Swift, Director of IWINETC, Ricardo Valente, Vice Chairman of the Porto and Northern Portugal Tourism Board, Filipe Silva, Member of the Portuguese Tourism Council, and José Guilherme Aguiar, Member of the Gaia City Council.

The Porto and North of Portugal Tourism Board opened the conference program with a plenary session consisting of two lectures: “Porto and North of Portugal as a wine tourism region” and “Porto and North Portugal wine routes”. Thereupon, wine tastings, including the wines from these regions, were held.


This was followed by inspiring presentations from industry experts such as Chris Torres, who presented the results of his research on wine tourism consumer trends that will be relevant in the coming years and how to use this knowledge to promote the companies’ own products and initiatives. … Carlos Brito, who spoke about the role of branding in wine tourism and territorial development, Felicity Carter (nota bene: one of the 12 judges of the Wine Travel Awards), who spoke about overcoming consequences of the pandemic for the food sector by positioning and finding one’s own uniqueness, Judith Lewis, who shared her ideas regarding rebuilding the food industry after the pandemic by resorting to digital technology, with an emphasis on SEO and unique content, Adrian Bridge, winner of the Wine Personality of the Year award, who examined “under a magnifying glass” the strategy of the 2020 largest European tourism project of 105 million euros – the World Of Wine project, Peter Syme, who analyzed the wine tourism industry in the post-Covid era and shared what digital changes we need to be aware of, how technology will change the society, what, in turn, will change the approach to wine tourism, and how to work with it long-term. Renowned experts: Andrea Kaiser, Roberta Garibaldi, and Federico Ceretto, during their speeches, emphasized the need for sustainable regional development and innovation. And we named only a few of the many forum speakers!


It is interesting that the speakers were representing the group of invited experts, but a separate competition was announced for public wine professionals, who are a little less renowned, but could participate in the forum in order to present their ideas.


One of them, whose report I found particularly interesting, was António Pé-Curto. His presentation focused on trends in wine tourism (“Four Key Areas of Experience in Wine Tourism”), and the findings were based on years of research work at the Iscte Business Research Unit in Lisbon.

After attending the presentations, the delegates witnessed the Rabelo boat regatta on the Douro River from Gran Cruz, Rozes, Sogrape, Sogevinus and Fladgate Partnership, which demonstrated the traditional way of transporting port wines. This colorful performance took place right in front of the IWINETC venue under the bright Portuguese sun.


Within the framework of the event, stands were also organized as mini-exhibitions, where it was possible to find wines and proposals for wine tourism from developing industry players, for example, such as Israel and Armenia. Similarly to previous  events of IWINETC, this year, a large B2B workshop was organized: it included half a day of one-to-one business meetings and a comprehensive business networking program. The format resembled the American speed dating films: the participants sent in advance their inquiries to the business representatives, which were of interest to them, via an online application, in order to negotiate during the subsequent offline workshop. During a short period of time, each participant had an opportunity to communicate with several dozen of potential partners, business representatives and more than 30 agencies specializing in wine and/or gastronomic tourism, which allowed both parties to establish promising business ties. An individualized system of meetings enabled the participants to share their experience, get to know each other, and replenish their catalogs.


Every evening, the IWINETC team organized networking events at the most luxurious restaurants in Porto such as World of Wine (WOW) and Vinum in the Grahams cellars, giving a breathtaking view of Porto at night.

Tour around the Portuguese wineries

On October 28 and 29, trips to the wineries were organized – experts, journalists, international tour operators, and agents were invited on a two-day tour implying a lot of visits, around the four wine regions forming the Porto-North of Portugal Wine Route, in particular Douro and Porto, Vinho Verde, Tavora-Varosa and Traz-ush-Montish.


Among wineries and wine route sites, IWINETC members visited Quinto do Seixa, Quinta da Roeda, Vintage House, Sandeman, and Taylor’s.

In the morning on Saturday, October 30, the delegates were invited to the World of Wine (WOW) complex, a newly opened wine attraction worth over 105 million euros.

Porto and wine routes in north of Portugal

The choice of Porto as the venue for the 2021 event was not accidental – in 2020, a large-scale project was created here: the World of Wine, which was recognized as the largest investment in tourism in Europe in 2020, and already in 2021, Porto & North of Portugal Tourism Board launched a new route within the Visit Portugal project – the wine routes of Porto and the north of Portugal, connecting four regions: Douro, Vinhos Verdes, Távara-Varosa, and Trás-os-Montes.


Luís Pedro Martins, President of the Porto & North of Portugal Tourism Board proudly noted: “The quality events like IWINETC 2021 bring to the region exactly what we strive to achieve by comparing ourselves to other wine tourism destinations. Especially at a time when we are still facing the effects of the pandemic around the world. And that gives us the strength we need to prove internationally that the region has absolutely everything we need for a great experience, including the ability to provide the security that everyone is looking for. The wine and gastronomic tourism event is absolutely in line with our strategy for the wine routes that we have developed, and we decided to launch it exactly during IWINETC 2021: in fact, this is our first marketing event, a B2B event for this route. Therefore, it is with great pleasure and joy that we welcome each participant of this outstanding conference to Porto”.

Anthony Swift, Director of IWINETC, shared his emotions about the event: “Today, we see that the wine tourism industry is booming, and it is a great niche market. Many wine regions around the world are investing into wine tourism, thereby developing their territories. The future looks bright to me, and everyone should understand that wine tourism is an opportunity for business and entrepreneurial activities on a sustainable basis.

Each year, the main goal of IWINETC is to invite and direct the spotlight to the enogastronomic tourism professionals, so that they come together, share their ideas, study the best practices, and gain knowledge and inspiration for new achievements, establish contacts and business relationships. We are glad that this year, the event was attended by more than 140 industry professionals.

As a team, we are focused on creating and delivering the quality experience, because in the end, only one thing matters: that the participants leave happy and take away valuable tools and contacts that are useful for their careers and businesses.

I am very grateful to all our partners who helped us make this event so successful”.

Veronika Busel, Managing Partner of the Wine Travel Awards: “I am very pleased that such influential international players demonstrating the highest standards, will join the Wine Travel Awards, an initiative that was born in Ukraine, but continues to extend its presence globally.

Through IWINETC, which sponsored the WTA prize fund, we plan to provide the winners in 2022 with great opportunities for new experiences, learning and networking. I think this is the very place that can combine educational, business, and playing formats. Most importantly, IWINETC is an excellent platform for business contacts and development”.


Drinks+ Files

The International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC), organized by Wine Events Worldwide, is the most respected global event for the wine and gastronomic tourism industry. At the end of October 2021, IWINETC took place for the second time in the city of Porto (Portugal).

In addition to Portugal, over the years the event was held in Italy, Spain, France, Hungary, Georgia, and Croatia (the organizers also shared with Drinks + that they hope to hold an event in Ukraine in the future).

This year, the main partner and sponsor of IWINETC was the Porto & North of Portugal Tourism Board, which, right during the event, announced for the first time its new program of Portuguese Wine Routes. However, the event could not have taken place without the support of a number of international and influential wine companies, such as Sogrape Original Legacy Wines, Fladgate Partnership, Symington Family Estates, etc.

IWINETC 2021 video:

Drinks+ Communication Media Group has become an information partner of IWINETC after presentation of its new international project Wine Travel Awards (WTA). In its turn, IWINETC has become the Official Partner of the award as a sponsor of the prize fund, which will provide the winners of the 2021-2022 WTA with the opportunity to attend this leading wine tourism conference next year.

Wine2Wine: Ukraine – the treasure island of Europe

The 8th edition of wine2wine Business Forum happened on the 18th and 19th of October 2021 in Verona as a part of the VINITALY Special Edition program event.

The focus of the 2021 edition was reflecting on the multiple limits imposed over the last year. First of all, geographical borders: the advent of COVID-19 restricted import-export opportunities on a global scale, and in order to effectively restart activity, understanding the situation is of primary importance.

This year’s 2 full days’ hybrid format gave two different participation types to choose from: online, from the comfort of your home or office, or onsite, from the Palaexpo of Veronafiere.

On the 18th of October, 2 speakers presented Ukraine’s wine business landscape in the session: “Ukraine – the treasure island of Europe”. As the event was in a hybrid format this year, a part of the audience participated onsite, the other had an opportunity to follow the presentation online.

Representatives of the most reputable companies in their industries Pavel Glazov, Import Director of the importer and distributor Vinfort Ltd., and Veronika Busel, Managing Partner of the Wine Travel Awards, an international wine tourism award founded by Drinks+ Communication Media Group, had an impressive reception to their topic at the wine2wine Business Forum 2021.

Pavel Glazov and Veronika Busel

Drinks+ Files:

Pavel Glazov, the Import director of Vinfort Company – one of the leading distribution companies in Ukraine. Having a legal background, Pavel joined the company more than 20 years ago and in 2008 progressively developed his career becoming the import director. With more than 20 years of experience in the Industry, Pavel has a deep expert knowledge of the Ukrainian and International wine and spirits market.

Veronika Busel is a Wine Marketing Manager, Wine Writer and a Managing Partner at Wine Travel Awards. She finished her Master’s Degree at the University of Bordeaux in Wine Marketing and Tourism, after that she has been collaborating with internationally recognized wine companies in Spain, France and Portugal. Parallelelly, Veronika became a wine writer and columnist for the leading wine specialized media groups in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

The speakers told the international audience about the situation on the Ukrainian wine market and about new tools that help to overcome the consequences of the pandemic.

This is an extraordinary story of a market with some categories growing 5 times in the last 5 years. During the presentation, the audience was introduced to some impressive trends and tendencies in the Ukrainian wine market, as well as insights and market specifics from the experts. No one left the presentation without the answer to why Ukraine is the Treasure Island of Europe.

The name of the topic was chosen to underline the unique features and great potential that Ukrainian wine market brings to multiple international partners. At the same time, the presentation was not pretentious, it invited to discussion, addressing the multiple opportunities that appeared in the market in recent years.

wine2wine Business Forum 2021

Looking back, we must say that this strategy did work, as the presentation stimulated long discussions with the onsite B2B audience.

Market overview

“Why treasure Island? Or Eldorado? Ukraine, indeed is a country of wonders, a country of adventures, a country of challenges. Getting to the market looks like a gold rush – no guarantees, not always perfectly logical, but could become a key to the richness and prosperity. So, what are we about?! This is really the “treasure island” of Europe, this is Eldorado, you can win it all, or you can lose it all,” – said Pavel Glazov.

Ukrainian market is not perfectly logical: while the GDP per capita and population numbers are going down, like from 45 mln in 2013 to 41 in 2020. If to talk about wine consumption it is 0,2 per capita in 2019, if to compare this numbers to Italian it is 4.5-4.6 (L. of pure alcohol) – it is almost nothing. If to check numbers of inflation and devaluation you can have a heart attack J always going up, increasing year-to-year. The figures of wine consumption are small, but stable, and the consumption of spirits are going down. (2014-2020).

wine2wine Business Forum

After showed figures the normal question would be: why should I go to this market? What for?

And here some cons appeared, still illogical, but surprising and worth attention. When we see the imported wine trends, both for still and sparkling wines, everything goes up, and at a great rate. If to look at figures of imported still wines in 9LK , in last 5 years, from 2016 to 2020, the volume grew double, and right now it is 4,7 mln. 9LK. Talking about sparkling wines, the growth more than 5 times in 5 years. Started from 591 9LK in 2016 now it is 3,411 mln. 9LK. And this is impressive result to have a wine category that grew 5 times in the last 5 years.

The best news to Italian producers, numerous of those joined the presentation, is that Italian wines are driving this trend. For still wines, it is more than 2,5 times growth in the last 5 years, for the sparkling wines happened something new, that never happened before: today we must state that sparkling wine category from Italy bypassed the local sparkling wine category. This situation is very different from a general trend in the Ukraine wine and spirits market: as usual, if there is a local product, it would be sold better that the imported one. There are only two exceptions: sparkling wine at the moment, and for the long time it was a vermouth category, specifically represented by Martini. Summing up, the Italian wine category is growing, even booming, and we expect that this trend will stay.

Vinitaly Special Edition

Consumption trends

“Why Ukrainian wine consumers are so much fond of Italian wines this is very complex question. For many years we observe this interest in post-USSR countries in general, this aspiration by Italy as a destination, rich in wine tourism offer, Italian products, specifically wine and gastronomy, and its lifestyle,” – said Pavel Glazov.

Speaking about consumers and trends, unfortunately, there are not much researches going on on this topic, for the last 5 to 10 years, it could be related to number of crises that Ukraine had in this period. What we can see from the numbers of available analytics is that the consumption is changing. People are more interested in wines and wine consumption is growing. And some of the reasons behind are that boomers and generation X, who before used to drink more spirits, now are more interested in lower alcohol content products, so they switch to wines. The similar trend is among young generation, that prefers and switches to lighter and lower alcohol level drinks. The other trend among young people is drinking less, as sometimes they are also limited with their purchasing power. However, though they do drink less, but they do it with more quality. And these facts also give high perspectives on the future of the wine industry in Ukraine.

wine2wine Business Forum

Distribution channels

*Hereinafter are statistics on distribution and sales channels for Italian wines in the Ukrainian market, however trends are similar on all imported wines.

The majority of the market is operated by traditional importers. The market is quite open: no specific restrictions, no complicated license procedure, or quotes, like in neighbor country Belarus for example. Still there are number of specifics, f. e. if you import wines in Ukraine you have to adjust tax stamps, and you have to adjust them in advance before coming to Ukraine, which means that you need to have a partner in the country to help you with the procedure.

But now it is differentiating between traditional importers and distributors, who do the national distribution and cover up to 65% of the market, and the direct importers to supermarkets or specialized retailers – with coverage around 21% of the market. Moreover, the share of specialized retailers in the total import is 15%, which is a lot. And what happens is that sometimes the biggest importers of Italian wines are specialized retailers, that is why you should keep them in focus.

“For producers who decided to penetrate Ukrainian market the decision on distribution strategy is one of the first priority. Or you go to traditional importer, and then you will get some national coverage, but knowing distribution system it will take some time, or you can find good and professional modern retailer who would very easily make you good volumes, but then you would be limited to this specific retailer,”– said Pavel Glazov.

wine2wine 2021

The other important side note is cancellation of the import duty. This is something that have been prepared and actively discussed in the professional community in the last 5 years. Since the beginning of 2022 we are going to have a full free trade agreement with European Union, which means that all alcohol import duties are going to be cancelled. Especially it matters a lot for the sparkling wine category, because before the import duty was 1,5 eur per liter, so the difference is quite high, but that was reducing for the last 5 years in equal parts, and honestly speaking for consumers it won´t change much, because majority of operators have already adjusted their prices in the shelves, so now they will just recover their margins. But you have to keep in mind that since 2022, Italian wines immediately, especially the sparkling category, will have a huge advantage over the New World wines.

Sales channels

The modern trade is the biggest part – 43.5%. It includes the direct import, and also the best well -known names are distributed by the traditional importers. The share of specialized trade is huge – 34,2% (Italian wines), so lots of Italians wines became successful through this channel. HoReCa-10,3%, is recovering and growing again, not as much, like in the other Eastern European countries the share of HoReCa is quite small. Traditional trade – 7,7%, but it is only entry-level wines – and then what is important is the E-Commerce – 1,5% which could be perceived a small, but 2 years ago it was nothing-up to the end of the year it could easily grow to 3 to 5%. It growth hugely, especially triggered by the Covid-19 era.

“E-Commerce is becoming a great tool for wine promotion; we need to keep watching this trend!”– said Pavel Glazov.

Future and perspectives

“So, I must say that Ukraine is quite a developed market, the one you should have in mind. The potential is huge. Italy has a great image of being a wine producer and wine tourism destination. Italian wines are driving the category. Italian wines are in fashion. The market is relatively open. All kinds of wines are developing – entry level and premium, still and sparkling, everything is growing, and the potential seems very bright. The bad news is that many producers are already in the market and the competition is growing,” – said Pavel Glazov.

Veronika Busel

Speaking about innovations, future perspectives and positive trends and projects that appeared in the market in last year, Veronika Busel, the Managing Partner of Wine Travel Awards, introduced the project for the first time to an international audience as an efficient tool to regenerate from the Covid-19 outbreak.

This global initiative, was supported by our partners, Vinitaly Special Edition and to the Italian audience the warm feedback was received by the news that Olga Bussinello, well-recognized Italian wine industry leader joined a Wine Travel Awards as a partner and a member of jury panel member.

The project details and nominee registration procedure you can find in the official www.winetravelawards.com site.

Photo: wine2wine Business Forum 2021

The 8th edition of Wine2Wine Business Forum happened on the 18th and 19th of October 2021 in Verona as a part of the Vinitaly Special Edition program event.

Caroline Gilby: native grape varieties in building a marketing narrative

Dr. Caroline Gilby is a Master of Wine, freelance writer and a consultant, specializing on Central and Eastern Europe. At the International Economic Forum 2021, where Drinks+ was a media partner, she was talking about the usage of native grape varieties in building a marketing narrative.

Why does lack of varieties matter? The varieties matter a lot in Central and Eastern Europe because they offer point of difference in the world looking for the next big thing. The old world be done, the new world is the interpretation of the old world. CEE is s vast huge area with the authentic long history with wine. And grapes that have evolved been selected for the place where they are.

It means if you get people connect select grape that is yours, it connects purchases to your country or your wine region as well. And then it can be used for building a part of a regional story based on an authentic history and a point of difference in the world.

wine of Hungary

Honestly, stories matter because winemaking nowadays is genially pretty good, the quality of wine is great and that applies in CEE as well. So, what makes you stand out from the mass is the stories. And people like people, they remember the stories about the people behind the wines. Wine is a part of the place as well, of a culture, a history and the people who shape the wines.

The downside of this is of course less well-known, hard-to-pronounce, hard-to-spell grape varieties, maybe with too many accents or not enough vowels. It can be quite challenging, particularly if you try to promote a grape variety from a country nobody ever heard of.

Apart from that, in countries that have strong domestic market such as Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, the young generation of people coming into wine actually sees the international grape varieties as a glamourous thing. They are not the things that their parents used to drink. So, building a marketing story of local grape varieties to them too is quite important. This is because the volume basing the domestic market earns wineries a lot of money.

Wines of Moldova

In contrast, there are other markets where it is quite impossible, for instance, North Macedonia, Moldova, where the domestic market is so small, that it is all about export. There is a dichotomy, a balance required between what the domestic market wants and what the export market wants.

The other problem is local grapes – not all of them have quality potential. And even when they do have quality potential, most of these grapes have only been being five, ten, maximum 30 years in a new era. So, there is still a question of work in progress for some of them.

If you want to flagship grape, what must it deliver? It must deliver quality; it must be able to reflect a sense of place for that connection to the region and the country and be planted in reasonably substantial quantities. There is no point in trying to develop a flagship grape if it is planted on 10 or 30 hectares. In addition, it hasn’t got to be too difficult to grow and vinify because that does bring challenges, as well as not too hard to spell and pronounce whatever language.

It also helps to have a track record to show it is not just a flash in the pan. The connection to history, to a renowned wine, a reputation over decades, if not centuries, is quite helpful in building a story.

Caroline Gilby

Caroline Gilby was asked to talk about Romanian grape varieties that might have a potential to become a flagship based on the data of full recent plantings of key local grape varieties. She highlighted the potential of Feteasca Neagra leading over the way – over 3,000 hectares, grown all over the country and there are a few examples of even great wines appearing here and now (however, lots of progress in terms of quality is still required). And it does willing blends, it can age. Feteasca Neagra has the potential to be a flagship for Romania.

“Other local grape varieties can be really interesting, deliver a point of difference, make attractive wines, but I don’t think any of them, at the moment, can be flagships. They can be flagships through a winery and a region, a part of the mosaic of what the country is all about,” noted Ms. Gilby.

Feteasca Neagra

It is important if you are going to promote an indigenous grape variety to use an authentic name, even though it might be difficult to pronounce or spell. Translating, for example, Feteasca Neagra to Black Maiden makes it sound detached and doubly. “I would not personally translate,” remarked Ms. Gilby.

Key learnings from Ms. Gilby’s hands-on experience are the following:

  • Work out if it is a great variety or is something else.
  • Plan strategically – build awareness from momentum over 7 years. Think about diverse but linked themes, so you’re not just repeating the same story over a year.
  • Make sure the wineries commit to their own money and their personal engagement.
  • Think about the audience – is it trade, are you building awareness, do you want press coverage, do you want to have more distributors to sell your wine?
  • Don’t forget to track the outcomes and what you are going to achieve. Do you want to bring wines to the audience or the audience to you? Don’t rely on government money because it comes with politics. It really helps if you can build wine specific and credible PR in the country with people that really know the market, who the key people are, and so on.
  • Show a united front, even those who are behind the curtains, work together. This is what Wines of Macedonia, Wines of Moldova do brilliantly, and many other wineries.

Photo: hungarianwines.eu, mastersofwine.org, villamelnik.com, revino.ro

Dr. Caroline Gilby is a Master of Wine, freelance writer and a consultant, specializing on Central and Eastern Europe. At the International Economic Forum 2021, where Drinks+ was a media partner, she was talking about the usage of native grape varieties in building a marketing narrative.

Wine tourism in the language of emotional experience

Drinks+ joined the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism the focus of which was on the contribution of wine tourism to social and economic regional integration and its great potential to generate development opportunities in remote rural destinations.

The second day of the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism hosted the panel discussion “Wine pairs with…Food”. It raised the question of how wine tourism can become a specific local experience for which people will be eager to come all over the world.

UNWTO Conference on Wine Tourism

Mauro Carbone, General Manager, Ente Turismo Langhe Monferrato Roero (Italy), notes that the region of Piedmont is visited by many tourists from different countries, and they come mainly to taste our food and wine. One can ask why they come specifically in Piedmont if they can have its wines everywhere in the world?

“85% of our top-level wines – Barolo, Barbaresco, Asti Spumante and now also Barbera that are typical for our region – are exported and tasted all over the world. So, why do the tourists come to us to taste the same wine they have in their city?” wondered Mr. Carbone.

Mauro Carbone

“We need to offer the same food with the same wine, but not the same atmosphere, not the same emotions.”

The same question concerns food. If an American from New York wants to have a delicious Italian pasta, he doesn’t need to make thousands of kilometres to come to Italy for this purpose. So, what should we do?

“We need to have skilled people to perform miracles. We need to offer the same food with the same wine, but not the same atmosphere, not the same emotions,” convinced Mauro Carbone.

In his turn, Chef Diogo Rocha shared what the importance and challenge of building such a brand as Mesa de Lemos was. The geographical accessibility may be considered a challenge because the restaurant is located in the district of Viseu (Portugal), outside of a big city. However, the advantage is it traditionally proposes other kind of concepts and gastronomy and historically known as “a good food”. It demonstrates the authenticity of Portugal.

“When we opened Mesa de Lemos, we became probably one of the few Michelin star restaurants that used our own produced wines as we are in the middle of winery. That builds the connection regarding rural development. I think wine tourism is also pottery, sausages – everything that we put on the table. And wine will taste completely different because we are in that environment,” noted Chef Rocha.

Diogo Rocha

“I think wine tourism is also pottery, sausages – everything that we put on the table.”

It is important to identify resources that make one unique from all points of view – destination, gastronomy and wine, culture. Enjoying all the aspects makes one’s model of wine tourism successful.

Mauro Carbone highlighted two necessary aspects – rural and cultural because there is a problem of accessibility. To go in the wine region without understanding its wine and food phenomenon seems like “someone read a very good book for me but in a language that I do not know. The experience is extremely important because it permits me to understand what I am eating and drinking.”

To have a wow experience with wine and food, you need a good storytelling. Moreover, there is a need of different storytelling, different offers, and experiences for different people. This requires a well-organized tourism strategy and access for wine experiences which means a work with producers, institutions, public and private representatives.

Diogo Rocha added: “What I do not want is that my client feels the same as the one sitting next to him. Customization is the right way, especially in wine tourism which relates to the quality. We are talking about something more than an experience – about feelings and emotions that are transmitted through wine tourism. The emotion is our reaction on what we eat and what we drink.”

Drinks+ joined the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism the focus of which was on the contribution of wine tourism to social and economic regional integration and its great potential to generate development opportunities in remote rural destinations.

UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism: 1st day overview

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Visit Portugal and the city of Reguengos de Monsaraz organized the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism. It has been holding on 9-10 September 2021 in Reguengos de Monsaraz (Alentejo), Portugal, as well as in an online format.

On September 9, Drinks+ joined the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism online and ready to highlight the key points of the first day to our readers. The wine tourism issue seems topical and important for Drinks+ Communication Media Group, and the launch of the Wine Travel Awards is a proof of it.

The Conference is organized under the theme Wine Tourism – a driver for rural development’ and focuses on the contribution of wine tourism to social and economic regional integration and its great potential to generate development opportunities in remote rural destinations.

Adrian Bridge

In the session “Wine Paris with…Innovation”, answering the question what the role of Portugal wine industry in the world is, Adrian Bridge, CEO of The Fladgate Partnership, made a focus on a global level:

“For me, with the World of Wine, I will count success when we are on the bucket list of everybody in Asia or from Brazil or much more far from the places. We see we are going to attract people who come over for a long weekend, but I think it’s absolutely possible to have people who will fly from Asia and go specifically in Porto in order to visit the World of Wine. And in order to achieve that we have to be excellent in every single thing we do. And I think that is what Portugal can deliver.”

Florence Maffrand

His panel colleague, Florence Maffrand, Marketing and Partnership Manager in Cite du Vin, highlighted the importance of the intercultural connection in the wine world: “Opening doors and realizing that wine is much more than just a product, that it is cultural, what we share among all the countries – is essential.” She emphasizes that it is important to build bridges between the wine regions in order to communicate the message better.

After the session, the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UNWTO and Tourism Innovation Center Portugal (NEST) took place.


André de Aragão Azevedo, Secretary of State for Digital Transition, Portugal, stated: “With this MOU, we are talking about promoting innovations and researching this area with all the stakeholders involved, fostering entrepreneurship, taking advantage of the startups’ capacity and attract more talents to our country, as well as promote sustainability.”

André de Aragão Azevedo

The EU defined a minimum threshold of investment in digital transition of 20% of the recovery funding, however Portugal has decided to go above this amount. This is what may become possible – to coinvest in this project. “We will be investing 3,75 million in the coming five years to materialize this project and to be able to fulfil this important strategy,” continued André de Aragão Azevedo.

After the MOU signature, the session “Brave people face up to challenges” followed. At the beginning, Paul Madray, CEO of Pixwine (USA) shaped new post-Covid tendencies for wine industry. According to McMillan, before COVID-19, online sales represented 2% of total sales for an average winery. By November 2020, those sales soared to an average of 10% of total revenue. By 2030, online sales could grow to 20% of the average winery’s revenue.

Paul Madray

Mr. Madray is sure that the money the industry make should be invested in the industry itself to make it only better. “The only constant in this world is change. And as a result of Covid, we are now in the industry that adapting in ways we have never been before,” he concluded.

If we recall wine industry before Covid, it was all about getting people to the winery, making them the best welcome possible, offering services that are more as an experience rather that simple wine tasting, and sharing the story of your winery, culture, company. It was important to make sure the visitors would remember not only your wine, but your “heart” – the story, the experience they had. Storytelling made you different from your neighbour and other wineries.

Frederico Falcão

“In Portugal, we started to build the wine routes around 25 years ago, however they “died” from natural causes, because people were not ready at that time, they were not professionals working in wine tourism. They did not open their wineries on weekend, they did not answer the calls for reservations,” recalled Frederico Falcão, Chairman of Viniportugal. In contrast, tourism, as well as enotourism has been booming in Portugal for the last few years.

The study done by Viniportugal shows the strong connection between foreign tourists traveling to Portugal and the Portuguese exports to those countries. There is huge interdependence between the wine tourism Portugal has from Brazil or the USA and its increasing wine exports to those countries.

Catherine Leparmentier Dayot

The interesting tendency the Covid brought is domestic wine tourism, in particular going to the countryside. For example, people all over Argentina travelled to Mendoza to taste its beautiful wines. As Catherine Leparmentier Dayot, Managing Director, Great Wine Capitals Global Network, remarked:

“People went much more to the countryside than to the big sea resorts. Last summer, 30% of people in France went on holidays, vacations to the countryside. That is how people feel safe. Small groups in wineries, outside wine tastings, outside activities in the vineyard are easily provided. Accommodations in the vineyards are mainly guest houses – 4-5 rooms at maximum.”

This is what people expect and this is what wine industry can offer – safe activities. Wine tourism is a beautiful niche of tourism and people will come back faster to it than to any other.

There are many more interesting to share about the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism, so Drinks+ is diving into the second day of the conference which takes place on September 10.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Visit Portugal and the city of Reguengos de Monsaraz organized the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism. It has been holding on 9-10 September 2021 in Reguengos de Monsaraz (Alentejo), Portugal, as well as in an online format.

Robert Joseph: Brand First!

On July 30-31, Drinks+ was a media partner of the International Economic Forum 2021. On Friday, we joined a session organised by OenoCo International with Robert Joseph, one of the most broadly experienced members of the wine industry.

Robert Joseph is editorial consultant, and columnist of Meininger’s Wine Business International, co-owner of Greener Planet and Grand Noir Wines. Last Friday, he held an online session at the International Economic Forum 2021 on the following issue: “Land or Brand? Local Grapes or International? Does the future for Eastern Europe like in appellations and traditional indigenous grape varieties? Or in brands and international ones? The answer is not as clear cut as some people would like to imagine.”

Robert Joseph

Starting from one of his favourite grape varieties which he also grows in the South of France, Mr. Joseph believes it could be a great alternative to Chardonnay. According to Google search results, this grape variety is difficult to pronounce: “easy to drink but hard to say” or “it’s hard to pronounce and though to figure out”. Can you guess what we are talking about?

Viognier hard to say

This is Viognier! And unfortunately, there is a very clear correlation between the pronunciation of a wine and the people’s readiness to buy it. “So, we sell a lot of Chardonnay in America, and we do not sell a lot of Viognier,” notes Mr. Joseph.

The recent statistic from New Zealand demonstrates a vineyard area 2015-2022. The vineyards have been grown from 27,615 ha in 2015 to 32,813 ha in 2022. Almost all of those hectares belong to Sauvignon Blanc. Basically, the world likes New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc and they have grown more of it. In 2015, they had 129 ha of Viognier – that was not very much, now it is even less – 85 ha. The same applies to Riesling, a grape variety that wine writers love, its growing area dropped from 767 ha in 2015 to 568 ha in 2022.

New Zealand vineyard area 2015-2022

In other words, in a dynamic country like New Zealand, the focus is on the things they can easily sell – which is Sauvignon Blanc.

Making a comparison with movies, we always see names of big stars on the posters because it stimulates people to come and see them – we tend to buy what we are already familiar with. In wine, for most of the world, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon are stars like those we see in a movie.

Afterward, Robert Joseph moved to the Sicilian case. In the 1980s, Sicily had almost no reputation of quality wine. And here comes a man called Diego Planeta who planted his first vines in 1985. And what did he plant? Despite Sicily has wonderful old grape varieties, he grew Chardonnay. And it turned to be successful. You convince people when you speak their language – and their language was Chardonnay. At the same time, he started to make blends with local Italian and international grape varieties and now Planeta is famous for its indigenous grapes.

Planeta Chardonnay

Planeta got the confidence of consumers and of media around the world with wines people were familiar with and with that confidence they actually moved them into other styles they were not familiar with.

People are often eager to try something new. If you persuaded someone to start drinking Feteasca today, there is a high risk that tomorrow they are going to be attracted by Saperavi. “You are not necessarily are going to convert someone into your variety overnight. Anybody curious enough to try the new variety is likely to try something else,” emphasises Robert Joseph.

grape varieties meme

The challenge lies in identifying those people, communicating with them, and finding the best way to distribute your wine to them. And traditional media and distribution may not be the answer.

wine consumers habits

Another point is that people who are ready to buy unfamiliar wines are not necessarily ‘interested’ / ‘engaged’ wine drinkers. They may often be people who enjoy other new experiences like travel or food. But they may not be people who always read wine books or food / travel magazines. And it is important to figure out the way of talking to them and addressing them through the media that they are actually going to read. And that might apply to social media, lifestyle publications, and digital marketing.

brand firstLastly, PDOs may add value to your wine, but not necessarily. For Mr. Joseph, it is clear – brand first; region and grape second. “Regions establish PDOs in the same way that nations establish alliances. It makes you feel good to have a PDO, but it is not necessarily because everybody wants that.”

PDOs can make sense, but do no expect foreigners to learn about, be interested in, or remember them. They are often not certainly better or more premium than multi-regional blends.

And remember: Brand First!

On July 30-31, Drinks+ was a media partner of the International Economic Forum 2021. On Friday, we joined a session organised by OenoCo International with Robert Joseph, one of the most broadly experienced members of the wine industry.

If you want to be happy – drink Asti!

The Drinks+ publishing house together with the Italian consortium Asti held a closed B2B tasting of 13 Asti DOCG samples in Kyiv.

The event demonstrated to the professionals of Ukraine how diverse Asti can be! In addition, variations on the theme of food pairing showed that Asti is not only a pure aperitif or wine for fruit, but quite a gastronomic drink.

Asti tasting

The participants had a great opportunity to discover a new taste of a familiar drink, because often the usual tastes and stereotypes in relation to certain wines do not give us a chance to experiment. And we often follow the beaten paths, in this case, perceiving Asti as an exclusively summer aperitif.

The tasting took place in the restaurant of modern Ukrainian cuisine “Hlek” in the very heart of Kyiv, and the chef Andrii Severenchuk selected a special menu for food pairing with Asti:

– soft cow and goat cheese plate;

– spreads for bruschetta with duck pate, smoked butter, bean paste and eggplant baba ghanoush;

– tomatoes with Stracciatella di bufala and elderberry;

– salad with turkey and pickled currant dressing with confiture;

– canapes with vegetable ceviche and perch;

– fruit plate;

– assorted homemade ice cream.

asti food pairing

Without doubt, Asti is a great drink for any good event in your life, be it an evening with your favourite book, meeting with friends, your best friend’s wedding, or your own anniversary.

Asti is always a good idea! But do not forget to cool it, the ideal serving temperature for sparkling wines is 6-8 °C. It is convenient to use either chillers or coolers with ice for cooling, as well as freezers – it is fast and reliable.

D+ files

Asti DOCG, formerly known as Asti Spumante, – a refreshing, slightly sweet sparkling white wine made from Muscat White grapes in southern Piedmont, Italy. Since 2014 the production area of Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti DOCG, along with the winemaking countryside of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, with the other places considered precious to all humanity and thus worthy of special protection. This Piedmont site was the first winemaking district in Italy to receive this honor.

At the end of 1993, Asti Spumante was transferred to the highest classification DOCG.

ASTI DOCG in Ukraine: a palette of aromas and tastes

13 samples of Asti DOCG were presented at the tasting.

Asti docg Mondoro

Asti docg Mondoro

Campari Group in Piedmont produces and markets a wide and consistent portfolio of wines and spirits in terms of quality and image both on the domestic and foreign markets. Its Asti Mondoro is in an elegant emerald glass bottle has won many gold medals at prestigious tasting competitions.

Asti docg Fiorelli and Asti docg Festoso

          Asti docg Fiorelli       Asti docg Festoso

Fiorelli and Festoso are the products of the huge Italian wine tycoon of the wine house Toso. Toso specializes in the production of high quality still, sparkling, and flavoured wines and spirits in constant dialogue with the Italian and international markets. The company’s products are well recognized all over the world.

Asti docg Canti

Asti docg Canti

The family company Fratelli Martini Secondo Luigi operating on the market since 1947 and Gianni Martini, renowned second-generation wine entrepreneur. The name Canti, meaning “songs” or “sing!” in Italian, recalling the world of music, conviviality, merriness, Italian spirit. Since 2002, Asti Canti is more than in 50 countries.

Asti docg Santero

Asti docg Santero

Santero is one of the leading producers of sparkling and classic wines in the Italian and European markets. The production capacity of the plant, equipped with modern equipment, is more than 18 million bottles per year, which is primarily due to the presence of products in the main export markets of the world.

Asti docg Gancia

Asti docg Gancia

In 1850 Carlo Gancia founded a wine house in Canelli. His persistence allowed him to get the first sparkling wines in 1865. It was from this moment that the production of sparkling wine began in Italy, which at first was called “Spumante Italiano “, and now are widely known throughout the world as Asti Spumante.

Asti docg Martini

Asti docg Martini

The Asti Martini brand belongs to one of the largest alcohol conglomerates of our time – the Bacardi Martini company, which has taken the production of sparkling wines to a new level, providing large exports and capital investments that contribute to the quality and scaling of production. Today Asti Martini has conquered the whole world.

Asti Perlino

Asti Perlino

In 1905, Giuseppe Perlino had the intuition to embark on a path to sell the finest wines of Asti creating a simple yet modern company, whose true assets were the hard work and spirit of sacrifice of his family and collaborators. The real turning point came in the 1930s when Perlino, alongside with its Piemonte wines, began the production of sparkling wines as Asti Spumante and vermouth, which became over time the company’s true strong point.

Asti docg Tosti1820

Asti docg Tosti1820

Based in Canelli in the heart of moscato bianco production, Tosti produces wines and sparkling wines since 1820, in the name of quality for a family business run by the Bosca family for 7 generations. A heritage made up of years of tradition and culture in winemaking that led to identifying the best areas of cultivation and the best methods of processing grapes. This long experience allows Tosti1820 to produce quality bubbles with a strong identity as Asti Spumante.

Asti docg San Maurizio

Asti docg San Maurizio

Vallebelbo is an agricultural cooperative founded in 1956 that collects and vinifies grapes produced by 150 associated winemakers, owners of about 500 hectares of beautiful vineyards located in the heart of the Langhe. This wine region is the most important center for the cultivation of the Moscato Bianco variety, from which two world famous sweet and aromatic wines are produced – Asti and Moscato d’Asti docg. This makes Vallebelbo one of the most important cooperative wineries in Piedmont, where Moscato production accounts for about 5% of all Piedmont production.

Asti docg Acquesi

Asti docg Acquesi

The Piedmontese Winery Cuvage, founded in 2011 in Acqui Terme, interprets the ancient tradition of sparkling wine born in Piedmont in 1895 with a modern point of view. It specializes in the production of DOC and DOCG class sparkling wines made from autochthonous variety. “Acquesi” is a great example of contemporary Italian winemaking. Skillfully combining many years of experience with traditional production methods, the company’s specialists create elegant, fresh sparkling wines that can conquer from the first moment.

Asti docg Soria

Asti docg Soria

Situated in Costigliole d’Asti and Calosso, The Morando’s family wine-making business can be traced as far back as the late nineteenth century. After more than a century of business, today Casa Vinicola Morando – CA. VI. M. fills a primary role in the wine sector. Its Asti spumante is known on the market as Asti Soria.


Natalia Blahopoluchna and Mykolai Blahopoluchnyi

Founders and leaders of the first Sommelier School in Ukraine “Master Class”:

Mykolai Blahopoluchnyi

Mykolai: “Excellent samples, wonderful tasting! Thank you very much to the Asti consortium for the opportunity to taste such an extensive line of Asti and compare wines with each other, as well as discover new flavors and new combinations. I am sure that sparkling Asti now definitely needs to focus on young people, since the younger generation now has an active trend towards drinks with a small amount of alcohol, they also prefer sugary drinks to dry ones. Asti is unique with its natural sugar and incomparable aroma! But, of course, it worth thinking about more modern packaging of wine, so that it would be convenient for young people to drink Asti both at a party, and at the airport, at a concert or on the way home from university.

As for the new flavors and combinations that I discovered at today’s tasting, this is the classic combination of Asti with strawberries. But to make the sparkling wine more gastronomic, I would serve it with strawberry mousse or grilled chicken in strawberry sauce, play with the berries a little and integrate them into more complex food pairing dishes with Asti.”

Natalia Blahopoluchna

Natalia: “Amazing tasting, thanks for the invitation! I discovered completely new Asti. For example, I was struck by the sample which in the aroma suggested absolutely dry sparkling, but in fact the taste was the classic sweetness of Asti. I was also pleasantly surprised by the samples with a very high acidity which removed the sweet sugariness and made the wines as fresh as possible, despite the high percentage of sugar.

In combination with cheeses, the wine opened up beautifully, buttery, texture, bitterness and pungency from blue cheeses incredibly complemented each other with Asti.

Asti with strawberry

It was also interesting that the wine played with pates and spreads, but for food pairing to be perfect, I would add fruit jam for the same pates, for example, peach or fig. And, of course, strawberries and ice cream are Asti’s classic friends, in principle, most desserts will go well with Asti.”

Vitalii Kovach

Founder and head of the Vitalii’s Kovach School for Sommelier, member of the Italian Sommelier Association:

Vitalii Kovach

“If you want to be happy – drink Asti!” – now this is my new motto after the current tasting. Such an amazing aftertaste, such an amazing mood this drink gives! Thank you very much for organizing and inviting!

For me, Asti is a holiday drink, I always, anywhere in the world, know that if I buy a bottle of Asti, I will get exactly the taste and aroma of White Muscat that I need, and a little bit of happiness)).

It turned out to be an interesting tasting, we looked for differences between samples that were similar to each other, and we found them. All the wines are of the highest class, the difference was somewhere in freshness, somewhere in acidity, somewhere in minerality. But all samples are of excellent quality and absolutely worthy!

As for food pairing, I remain unconvinced: Asti is, first of all, an addition to fruits and desserts, it is also an excellent aperitif and digestif. You can also experiment with light Asian cuisine.”

Yehor Belov

Chief Sommelier of the hotel InterContinental Kyiv:

Yehor Belov

“For me, Asti is a summer wine for meditation. I can drink it anywhere with anyone and get tremendous pleasure, as long as it is well chilled!

Asti is a very understandable drink for the Ukrainian consumer, I have been working with guests for many years, and sweet wines in Ukraine still hold the lead over dry ones. Therefore, sweetness, incredible fruity aroma, wonderful pearl, and a small percentage of alcohol – all this converges into one big plus for the Ukrainian market. The only thing that can hinder the complete absorption of Ukraine by Asti is a fairly high pricing policy for our country.

As for food pairing, today I discovered the combination of Asti with cheeses, it’s wonderful, and they just dissolve in each other, discovering new flavors.”

Ricardo F. Nunez

Founder and owner of Vinos de La Luz wine companies:

Ricardo F. Nunez

“Thank you very much for organizing such an interesting tasting. Today I learned that in addition to the classic Asti, to which we are all accustomed, in Italy there is also a new generation of Asti, a new wave. They differ in a different approach, innovations in aroma and taste. And you know, I came to the conclusion that the new Asti wave is no worse than the classical one, they are all beautiful and very likable.

It was also a discovery for me that a Ukrainian chef in a Ukrainian restaurant can choose such an amazing menu for such a complex gastronomic wine. I tried Asti with all the dishes, and it is just incredible, I am overwhelmed and very happy about the new experience I have gained.”

Victoriia Ahromakova

Founder and head of alcohol exhibitions and competitions Wine & Spirits Ukraine:

Victoriia Ahromakova

“Quite an unusual tasting, for the first time I tasted Asti in such a variety and with so many types of dishes. I concluded that Asti was great both by itself and with simple, uncomplicated dishes that did not interrupt the brightness and aroma of Asti. These dishes include soft cheeses that were on our table. This wine is especially good in combination with Stracciatella, it also goes well with salty meat or vegetable dishes, but always with a berry component in the form of gravy or a sweet fruit ingredient to balance with Asti.”

Nataliia Burlachenko

The brand ambassador of the Vinos de La Luz wine companies:

Nataliia Burlachenko

“A very interesting experience of combining Asti with appetizers. The combination of wine with tomatoes and Stracciatella, bruschetta with ceviche and salted fish was a discovery for me, and I was amazed at how well sweet Asti and salty grilled chicken with berry sauce complement each other. Awesome pairing)). Thank you for the new experiment! “

Olha Pinevych

Editor-in-chief of Drinks+ magazine:

Olha Pinevich

“Although we prepared for this tasting and organized it ourselves, the result amazed me. It’s incredible how the same grape variety harvested in the neighborhood can produce such different wines. Asti is an example of Muscat wine, bright, rich, juicy, drinkable! Asti is summer, parties, happiness, emotions!

Andrii Severenchuk, the chef of the restaurant “Hlek”, has done a tremendous job in the selection of dishes, and most of them fit perfectly with Asti. But I didn’t have enough Ukrainian desserts in the menu, I’m sure that Asti would also go well with such dishes as varenyky with cherries, crepes with cottage cheese and raisins, a honey cake and a Kyiv cake. I will definitely continue to experiment and create new pairings with this summer’s drink!”

Drinks+ would like to thank the restaurant of modern Ukrainian cuisine “Hlek” for cooperation and perfectly selected dishes of Ukrainian cuisine for tasting Asti wines.

Asti tasting Drinks+

How to recognize Asti and Moscato d’Asti docg 

Authenticity and uniqueness for Asti spumante and Moscato d’Asti docg are guarantee by the State seal DOCG (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin), affixed to the neck of each bottle. The State seal certified by the alphanumeric acronym with which it is possible to trace the entire productive row and to contrast adulteration.

The Drinks+ publishing house together with the Italian consortium Asti held a closed B2B tasting of 13 Asti DOCG samples in Kyiv.

Valpolicella Superiore – A Territory Opportunity: Summary, Figures and Facts

The Consorzio per la Tutela dei Vini Valpolicella, an association of grapevine growers, winemakers and bottlers of Valpolicella wine production area, hosted the second online seminar Valpolicella Superiore – A Territory Opportunity.

800 participants from 25 countries, including Drinks+, took part in the online seminar Valpolicella Superiore – A Territory Opportunity, organized by the Consorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella.

Valpolicella Superiore - A Territory Opportunity

In the first part of the seminar, Consorzio Valpolicella President Christian Marchesini, and Il Corriere Vinicolo journalist Giulio Somma discussed the key figures of the annual report which includes detailed production data, historical information, climate characteristics and market trends. The annual report was prepared for the first time by the Consorzio.

Christian Marchesini

So, currently 2271 producers, 322 bottlers are working on the production of Valpolicella wines. 70% of the wine produced is exported to 87 countries around the world. The vineyard area is 8398 hectares, the annual turnover is more than 600 million euros. Almost 65 million bottles of Valpolicella and Ripasso DOC, as well as Amarone and Recioto were produced last year.

For small wineries, the percentage of wines produced is the following: Valpolicella Ripasso (44.6%), Valpolicella (30.7%), Amarone / Recioto (24.7%); for large wineries, Ripasso reaches 57.8%, Amarone / Recioto – 24.7%, and Valpolicella – 17.6%.

Giulio Somma

During a discussion between Consorzio President Christian Marchesini and journalist Giulio Somma, the region’s strengths were identified. They include:

  • an increase in the area of vineyards in the valley from 4600 hectares in 1972 to the current 8398 hectares, with an increase of 60% over the past 20 years;
  • consolidation of the main sales markets – Canada, USA, Northern Europe and Germany, as well as new opportunities on the Asian market, including China;
  • growing commitment to organic certification;
  • inclusion of Valpolicella in the Register of Traditional Historical Landscapes of the Ministry of Agriculture, which enhances further the attractiveness of the region.

Filippo Bartolotta

In the second part of the online workshop, wine journalist Filippo Bartolotta raised the question whether Valpolicella Superiore could be the wine of the territory, not the wine of the method.

Gabriele Gorelli, Italy’s first MW, took samples and investigated the future of Valpolicella Superiore using the wine profile as an example. The online event was moderated by wine marketing consultant, trainer, wine journalist JC Viens.

JC Viens

Experts noted that over time, it became necessary to clearly separate the oenological concept of the production of Valpolicella Ripasso and Valpolicella Superiore which compete on the international market and sometimes have similar organoleptic characteristics. The consortium conducted research among producers which made it possible to clarify the differences between these types of wines and find a certain scheme that will be introduced in the following years. In addition, wine experts agreed that Valpolicella Superiore wines should express the distinctiveness of the territory, without using the appassimento method.

Valpolicella Ripasso and Valpolicella Superiore

The second part of the online seminar also included tasting of 8 samples of Valpolicella Superiore, which were sent in advance by the Consorzio. The samples only indicated the alcohol level. According to Gabriele Gorelli‘s comments – and one cannot but agree with them – most of the samples retain the aromatic characteristics typical of Corvina, Corvinone, Molinara, Rondinella, such as currant, white pepper, strawberry, and have a velvety structure with light tertiary and spicy notes. Valpolicella Superiore wines clearly have a recognizable identity, Gorelli said, and online conference moderator JC Viens noted that significant economic support is needed for small producers to promote and define Valpolicella Superiore’s identity. And, according to representatives of the Consorzio, the producers are ready to begin their work that can strengthen these wines in the region as a whole.

Gabriele Gorelli

We would like to thank Consorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella for the opportunity to taste Valpolicella Superiore wines and take part in the online conference.

The Consorzio per la Tutela dei Vini Valpolicella, an association of grapevine growers, winemakers and bottlers of Valpolicella wine production area, hosted the second online seminar Valpolicella Superiore – A Territory Opportunity.

Solar panels, cannabis and blue jeans – helping to make the American craft brewing industry more sustainable

Lotte Peplow, the Brewers Association’s American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe, looks at what the American craft brewing industry is doing to become more sustainable.

The American craft beer industry is all too aware of the need to conserve energy and become more sustainable and environmentally responsible. It emits about half a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. The world-class quality, full flavoured, expertly brewed American craft beer we have come to love and enjoy requires its fair share of natural resources and creates waste materials and by-products in equal measure. Consequently, the majority of small and independent American craft breweries are acutely aware of their environmental footprint and are constantly developing new and creative ways of becoming more sustainable, more energy efficient and more environmentally responsible. Here are just a few examples of both large- and small-scale initiatives taking place across America.

Kalamazoo Craft Brewers Recycling Cooperative

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co is the third largest small and independent American craft brewer in the States and prides itself on its approach to sustainability, regularly passing up the chance to brew more easily and cheaply. At the main site in Chico, CA, there are 3.5 football fields worth of solar panels which work in tandem with two megawatts of Capstone microturbines to provide over 90% of the electricity needed to run the brewery. Waste heat is captured and used to make steam and hot water for the brewing process.

Instead of venting naturally produced CO2 from fermentation, Sierra Nevada recovers it, cleans it and sends it back into the brewery to pressure tanks and assist in packaging. Recovered CO2 contains less oxygen than commercial CO2 improving the quality of the beer.

Water conservation is crucial in drought-stricken California and Sierra Nevada has eliminated water-based lubricants on the bottling and kegging lines which not only reduces water consumption but wastewater heading to the on-site treatment plant. The brewery recovers water used to rinse bottles prior to filling and uses it in vacuum pumps that dispense beer into bottles, saving about 2.5million gallons of water annually. This environmental stewardship is at the forefront of Sierra Nevada’s core values and as important as making great beer.

Mandi McKay, director of social responsibility at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, comments: “We have excelled at the philosophy of closed loop sustainability, and it’s proven to be a wonderful operating strategy. We’ve shown that waste coming out of one process such as heat, water or CO2 recovery can become a resource for something else. We’re very energy intensive in the brewing industry, we make a lot of heat, and we use a lot of heat so we’ve gone all in on recovering heat and steam and that closed loop philosophy has been a guiding principle for us. At Sierra Nevada we do a lot more than just brew amazing beer and the same commitment to continuous improvement and zero waste runs across the board. We’ve always been interested in connecting ourselves with our supply chain – early on we planted our own hop field – and that comes from the fundamental belief that everything is connected and our impact on the environment is impacting ourselves. In the future we’re hoping to look at a broader strategy outside our four walls and that could be through advocacy, partnerships or the supply chain.”

 Maui Solar Panels

In 2019 Maui Brewing Co in Kihei, Hawaii, became the first completely off-grid brewery in the entire United States. Solar panels cover the roof of the 85,000 square foot production facility and a recovery system to capture and reclaim CO2 is in place.  These efforts plus solar energy will reduce CO2 emissions by more than 2 million pounds per year.

“As we grew successful, we saw the opportunity to invest in sustainable energy and lead by example in sustainable manufacturing,” says CEO and Co-Founder, Garrett Marrero.

“We are focused on authenticity and that means using local ingredients, being innovative and being highly sustainable. We produce over 90% of our energy on site through solar and the remainder comes through bio diesel generators along with a measure of solar thermal for water heat and steam so that we have a low carbon footprint. We will continue to develop initiatives that not only help the company but also inspire our community,” he adds.

But it’s not simply innovative and creative beers that American craft breweries excel at; they are also developing highly creative uses for brewing industry waste products. Denver Beer Co, based in Denver, CO is capturing CO2 generated during beer’s fermentation process and reusing it to stimulate marijuana plant growth (legal in Colorado).  Instead of venting carbon dioxide from the fermentation tanks into the atmosphere it is routed into a pressurising foam trap and from there into a purifying box that removes unwanted gases, acids, aromas and volatile organic compounds before chilling and converting into a liquid. Once stored it can be transported to the cannabis cultivation centre, converted back into a gas and pumped into a 2,400 square foot grow room to provide supplemental carbon dioxide for the cannabis plants to aid photosynthesis.  This speeds up the plant’s life cycle when grown indoors. In addition to its CO2 capture program, Denver Beer Co converted its can works brewing and production facility to 100% solar power in 2018. The brewery also recently purchased a fleet of EVs for its sales team, which are charged using the 258 kW solar array installed on their roof.

Oberon 2021 cans

Ska Brewing Co in Durango, CO has gone one step further. In addition to installing solar panels that generate enough energy to brew approximately 545,000 pints each year, the brewery also insulates the brewery’s walls with old blue jeans, the bar and tables are made from bowling lanes and the grass and flowers receive recycled water! What’s more, Ska is reusing old cans by re-labelling them and sending them out to market.

Sustainability is a core value for the vast majority of American craft brewers, the pursuit of quality is another borne out by the number of medals and top honours American craft beer wins at prestigious international beer competitions that are judged by the finest, most experienced palates in the world. One of the key reasons behind the success of American craft beer internationally is the proximity to the freshest examples of highly sought-after hop varieties. By visiting the hop fields, themselves American craft brewers are able to develop flavour profiles in beer that are difficult to control elsewhere. Combine quality and freshness of raw materials with American craft brewers’ technical expertise and it’s easy to see why American craft beer is renowned for its quality the world over.

The Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade association representing small and independent American craft breweries, is heavily invested in making a wide range of sustainability resources available to the brewing industry including the Brewers Association Sustainability Best Practices Manual and a Sustainability Benchmarking Tool.

Looking ahead, the Craft Brewers Conference®, the number one environment in North America for concentrated, affordable brewing education and idea sharing, takes place in Denver, Colorado September 9-12, 2021. Registration is now open. In 2022, the Great American Beer Festival, North America’s largest ticketed beer festival, will return in person to celebrate its 40th Anniversary in Denver, Colorado, October 6-8, 2022.

Many American craft beers such as Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Lakefront Brewery Inc, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Rogue Ales, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Stone Brewing Co. and The Bruery are available in Silpo or Good Wine stores throughout Ukraine, plus selected on trade venues.


Lotte Peplow

About the author: Lotte Peplow is the American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe for the Brewers Association and is based in London, UK.  She is a Certified Cicerone®, BDI accredited Beer Sommelier, beer writer, beer communicator, international beer judge, homebrewer and beer lover.

About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The BA represents 5,500-plus U.S. breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers. The BA organizes events including the World Beer Cup®Great American Beer Festival®Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America®SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food ExperienceHomebrew ConTMNational Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The New Brewer® magazine, and Brewers Publications® is the leading publisher of brewing literature in the U.S. Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com® and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association® and the free Brew Guru® mobile app. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Lotte Peplow, the Brewers Association’s American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe, looks at what the American craft brewing industry is doing to become more sustainable.