Wine in Russia

The history of wine in Russia dates back to the times of ancient Greeks. Wild grape vines have grown in the regions surrounding the Caspian, Black, and Azov seas for millennia, and there is archaeological evidence of cultivation for trade with the Ancient Greeks in the ancient Black Sea coastal settlements at Phanagoria and Gorgippia. Indeed, some claim that the Black Sea area is the world’s oldest wine region.

Prince Lev Golitsyn (1845-1915) is credited as the founder of modern commercial winemaking in Russia. This Paris-educated aristocrat established the first Russian manufacturing of sparkling wines at his Crimean estate of Novy Svet, and in 1889 this winery won the Gold Medal at the Paris exhibition in the nomination for sparkling wines.

This accomplishment was all the more impressive following only a few years after a devastating Phylloxera infestation in the wine regions of Russia. Golitsyn was assigned as the surveyor of imperial vineyards at Abrau-Dyurso in 1891, where sparkling wine was produced throughout the 20th century under the brand of Soviet Champagne, or “champagne for the people.”

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, most French-style wine growers and sellers fled Russia, but the industry was gradually reestablished and its goods were made more accessible to the majority of the Soviet population. Denis Puzyrev explains that before 1917, primarily the aristocracy consumed wine. The wine industry rebounded in the 1940s and 1950s during the Soviet era, but again faced difficulties from the domestic reforms pushed by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985 to combat alcoholism.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the transition to a market economy was accompanied by the privatization of land and the reallocation of many of the wine-producing regions’ prime spaces for other purposes, LIKE WHAT?. At the turn of the century, the Russian Federation had only 72,000 hectares (180,000 acres) devoted to viniculture, in other words less than half the total area used in the early 1980s.

Semi-sweet and sweet wines account for 80% of the Russian wine, and this market share exceeds 90% among lower-priced or “economy” vintages. Since 2006, Russian wineries have largely adopted modern European techniques and standards for production, and the Abrau-Dyurso winery remains the flagship of the industry. In 2018 and 2019, several Russian wines were included in Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate’s yearly ratings of the best vintages and scored between 80 to 97 points.

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In 2020, Fanagoria Blanc de Blancs Brut, a 2017 wine produced on the Taman Peninsula in the Black Sea, was awarded a gold medal at the “Chardonnay du Monde” (“Chardonnay of the World”) international tasting competition.


Important dates

  • (1845-1915)
  • 1889
  • epidemic (1891)
  • 1980s
  • 1917 the French wine-savvy
  • 1940s
  • 1950s
  • 1985
  • 2006
  • 2018
  • 2019(Robert parker)

Recommended books to read on Russian Wine

Wine in Russia, History of Wine in RussiaWine in Russia, History of Wine in Russia

Categories: Ancient Wine HistoryBy Published On: October 26, 2022

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