Although the BC Liquor stores don’t sell any wine from Ukraine, I thought it would be important to know a bit about winemaking in Ukraine, the types of grapes that are grown, how long winemaking has been around in Ukraine, and a few of the popular wineries. There is no reporting, but I think that there have been many wineries affected by the war started by Russia. Maybe we can further support Ukrainians by bringing in their wines in the future. Today, Feb, 24, 2023, is the one year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here is a link to the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis fund. Please donate if you can.
History of Winemaking in Ukraine
Winemaking in Ukraine has a long and rich history that dates back to ancient times. The Greeks were the first to introduce viticulture to the area in the 6th century BC, and wine production flourished in the region throughout the Middle Ages. However, it was during the Soviet era that Ukrainian winemaking reached its peak. The Soviet government invested heavily in the industry, and Ukraine became one of the largest wine producers in the world, with over 300 wineries and over 200,000 hectares of vineyards. Since Ukraine gained independence in 1991, the industry has faced numerous challenges, including economic turmoil and political instability. Despite this, Ukrainian winemakers have continued to produce high-quality wines using traditional methods.
Grapes Grown in Ukraine
The most popular grapes grown in Ukraine include Rkatsiteli, Aligoté, and Chardonnay for white wines, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir for red wines. Rkatsiteli is an ancient grape variety that has been grown in Ukraine for centuries. It is a versatile grape that can produce both dry and sweet wines with aromas of tropical fruits and honey. Aligoté is another white grape variety that is commonly grown in Ukraine, especially in the eastern part of the country. It is used to produce crisp and refreshing white wines with high acidity. Chardonnay is also widely planted in Ukraine, and it is used to produce full-bodied, rich wines with flavours of tropical fruits and vanilla.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted red grape variety in Ukraine. It is known for producing bold, full-bodied red wines with flavours of blackcurrant, blackberry, and chocolate. Merlot is another popular red grape variety in Ukraine, and it is often used in blends to add softness and fruitiness to the wine. Pinot Noir is a relatively new grape variety in Ukraine, but it has gained popularity in recent years due to its ability to produce elegant and complex red wines. Ukrainian winemakers are also experimenting with other grape varieties, such as Saperavi and Tannat, to create unique and distinctive wines.
Two Popular Ukrainian Wineries
One of the most popular wineries in Ukraine is Shabo Winery, located in the Odesa region. Founded in 2003, Shabo Winery has quickly become a leading producer of high-quality wines in Ukraine. The winery boasts over 1,000 hectares of vineyards, planted with both traditional Ukrainian grape varieties and international varieties such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Shabo Winery uses modern winemaking techniques and state-of-the-art equipment to produce a range of wines, including dry, semi-dry, and sweet wines. The winery also offers tours and tastings, allowing visitors to learn about the winemaking process and sample some of the winery’s award-winning wines.
Another popular winery in Ukraine is Inkerman Winery, located in the Crimea region. Established in 1961, Inkerman Winery has a long and rich history of winemaking in Ukraine. The winery is located in a picturesque valley surrounded by mountains, and its vineyards benefit from the unique microclimate of the region. Inkerman Winery produces a wide range of wines, including sparkling wines, white wines, and red wines. The winery is particularly known for its dessert wines, made using traditional methods and aged in oak barrels. Inkerman Winery also offers tours and tastings, allowing visitors to learn about the winemaking process and sample some of the winery’s delicious wines.