Posts Tagged ‘wine producers’

Russian girl stomping grapes during Russian wine harvest.

 

Cheap sweet whites dominate the home market but a handful of ambitious Russian wine producers are raising the standards.
For most westerners, the whole concept of “Russian wine” sounds a bit like an oxymoron. And if you ever sip wine at a Russian party, the chances are you won’t like it much. Or at least you will find it perplexing.

That’s because four-fifths of wines sold in Russia are poor quality semi-sweet varieties, and involve the use of concentrate.

The reasons for this date back to Soviet times, when Russians’ taste for semi-sweet and sparkling wines was formed. Many Russians today consider dry wines too sour. It was Joseph Stalin, an ethnic Georgian, who did most to foster this tradition.

It may be hard to believe but, according to the International Wine Office, the Soviet Union ranked fifth in the world in terms of area under vines and seventh in terms of wine output by the end of the Fifties.
The young Soviet winemaking industry found enthusiastic support from Stalin and from Anastas Mikoyan, his Armenian minister for food production. Both Georgia and Armenia, in the fertile, Mediterranean-like climate of the South Caucasus, have a rich tradition of winemaking that predates even the ancient wine culture of Greece.

Wine was drunk in Russia only by the aristocracy before the 1917 Revolution. But all this changed under Stalin, who believed wine had to be affordable for every Soviet citizen.
Scientists managed to produce frost-resistant, high-yielding varieties of grape. But the quality suffered: wines made from such grapes were barely palatable because of their high acidity and lack of taste. To remedy this flaw, grape sugar and often ethyl alcohol were added to the wines – practices that are still widely used in the Russian wine industry to this day.

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More than 700 French wine producers are now supporting the Vin de France promotional classification scheme, which came to operation in 2010.

Vin de France, which is run by trade body Anivin de France, allows producers to promote their wines using the grape variety or varieties on the label and not just the region or appellation.

It was introduced following the relaxing of the labelling regulations by the European Union in 2009 and means wines can be marketed in a similar way to New World wines.

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The average per annum wine consumption for a Canadian adult is now 15 litres.

 

Wine producers will be proposing a toast to Canadian consumers: a new study shows wine consumption in this country is growing three times faster than globally and Canada is projected to be the fifth fastest-growing wine market in the next five years.

Most of the wine consumed in Canada is imported but “Canada is now very strong on the production side and domestic wines are getting more popular,” said Vinexpo chairman Xavier de Eizaguirre in a telephone interview, speaking from Toronto.

“But the fact there is now a local industry, particularly here in Ontario, is helping the overall picture. Volume-wise it’s certainly a country where consumption is going up. Our forecast is it will continue to go up in the next five years.”

Growing market
De Eizaguirre said Canada’s per capita wine consumption is around 15 litres a year, compared to about 12 in the U.S.

“France, Italy, Spain, the traditional markets, consume somewhere around 50 litres per capita. England is about 25, Argentina is about 45, so there is a lot of potential” for Canada to increase its consumption, he said.

Between 2007 and 2011, Canadian wine consumption increased by 14.55 per cent. Consumption hit 43.21 million cases in 2011; one case represents 12 bottles.

Analysts said that between 2012 and 2016 Canadian wine consumption will go up 14.27 per cent, eventually reaching 50.7 million cases annually, which is three times greater than the global average.

Between 2012 and 2016, China, the United States, Russia and Germany will be ahead of Canada in wine consumption. In the previous five years, Canada was third behind China and the U.S.

“You’ve dropped back because the others have gone quite crazy,” de Eizaguirre said.
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