Just released: A comprehensive primer about Russian Wine Country, which stretches along Russia’s northern Black Sea coast from the Gelendzhik coastal resort area, about 250 kilometers northwest of Sochi, to the Taman Peninsula between the Black and Azov Seas. In the seventh century BC, Greek settlers established villages in this area and produced some of the world’s first wines. Now available for purchase online – click this link.
The Black Sea Area: The World’s Oldest Wine Region
The first immigrants to the northern Black Sea coast of Russia arrived from Greece in the sixth century BC in search of new trade. Villages were settled on the Crimean peninsula near Kerch and across the inlet to the Azov Sea on the Taman peninsula north of Anapa.They engaged in agriculture and manufacturing and served as trading centers between Greece and the nomadic tribes of the region. There are many remnants and relics that indicate that wine was an important trade good.
In the late 19th century, wineries were built along this coast and the neighboring Crimean peninsula to produce sparkling wine to meet demand of an aristocracy that had a taste for French Champagne.
The Revolution brought industrialization to the wine industry, and by 1980 the Soviet Union was the world’s fourth largest wine producer behind Italy, France, and Spain. Its wines, most of them sparkling or fortified, and sweet, were little known outside the country.
The end of the Soviet era brought huge challenges and change to the industry, but within the past ten years a few modern winemaking pioneers have begun to build on the region’s legacy. Though still sleepy, this reincarnated youthful beauty is finally waking up.
“Many modern Russian wineries use flying winemaker consultants, primarily from France. This is helpful for the industry and wineries, but the emphasis in this book is on the Russian citizens who are creating the new Russian wine industry on a daily basis. Most of them were born and raised in Russia but a few are ‘Nashi’ or “ours” as Russians would say of those who have, as we say, “gone native”. The heritage and the future is theirs. This book is dedicated to those people.”
About the author:
Charles W. Borden is an editor and writer who has traveled and lived in Russia since 1992. He is currently Communications Director for a Paris-based private equity group, and editor for a financial information service that publishes news about venture capital, private equity, and merger and acquisition markets worldwide.
In 1993, Charles organized investment projects to bring modern packaging to wineries in Russia’s Krasnodar and Stavropol regions. He has written extensively about wines of the former Soviet Union. In addition, for seven years he was an acknowledged contributor about wines of the FSU for the annual edition the widely respected Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Book of Wines (also published in Russian).
From 2006 to 2012, Charles was the Fine Dining and Wine Editor for Moscow’s Passport magazine, a monthly English language glossy for visitors and expats. He has authored more than 100 reviews of Moscow restaurants and wine tastings and articles about Russian life and culture.
Charles was also formerly editor of glossy English language magazines in Russia including the Aeroflot inflight magazine, Russian Fine Art, and Russians: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow.