The new wave of Russian wine
on 29/08/11 at 8:25 amWine
While at first sight Dmitry Medvedev’s plan to combat alcoholism by promoting local wines might seem counter-productive, the growing band of vineyards making high-quality wines hopes that a change in attitudes to booze could benefit them – and the rest of the country.
“We do need to develop our drinking culture in general,” Rimma Ataulina, the director general of Abrau Durso’s atelier, told the Moscow News. “We are very far from that at the moment, but it needs to be developed.”
The European model
Ataulina has just come back from Holland and drinking habits of this country, not renowned for wine, have left her overwhelmed.
“People were just enjoying life and having a good time there without getting drunk – they could really enjoy the taste and had a good grasp of it,” she said.
And many feel that Russians have lost that skill due to the anti-alcohol crackdown in the Gorbachev era.
At Chateau Le Grand Vostok’s Moscow office, head of sales Ilya Grekov suggested that the lack of quality drink in the late 80s persuaded Russians to ditch demands for flavor and focus on alcoholic strength.
That had disastrous consequences for the production of more sophisticated drinks.
“I’ve got a friend who is a very intelligent, well-educated and successful person – but he can’t get any dry wine at all,” Grekov said.
Promoting local wine
In the homeland of vodka, wine is not all that popular with many drinkers – a point not lost on Medvedev when he visited Krasnodar Region, the heart of Russian winemaking.