Wine Digest (January 27)
Wine Digest (January 27)

Wine Digest (January 27)

Thomas Anthony

English-language Editor

27 january 2022
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Overview of Top Stories in the Russian Wine World.

Petersburg raids, Kuban wine, Sevastopol enotourism, Alvisa expansion, Abrau cosmetics, Ukraine excise stamps.

Every week we identify for you the top stories in Russia about wine, spirits, restaurants, beer, cider, etc. We provide an English-language summary of each of them, as well as a link if you want to learn more.

Written by Evgeniy Kotelevsky, edited by Thomas Anthony.

Crackdown on “QR-resistance” bars in Saint-Petersburg

On the night of January 21, the Saint Petersburg office of the Investigative Committee conducted late-night raids on 20 bars and restaurants. The establishments were shut down, and 32 legal entities (as well as 103 individuals) were charged with violating local COVID-19 rules about working hours and QR codes. Entertainment establishments in the city have been required since last fall to close at 23:00. New anti-coronavirus measures, which came into force on January 2, added bars, restaurants, and many retail stores to the list of establishments required to ask all guests for QR-codes showing COVID vaccination or antibodies. The “QR-resistance” movement in Saint Petersburg, launched by restaurateur Alexander Konovalov in December 2020 as a reaction to anti-COVID restrictions imposed by the city authorities, has vowed to continue to defy the restrictions. Read the original news in Russian.

Kuban wine production decreased by 5%

Kuban winemakers produced 20.2 million decaliters of wine in 2021, 5% less than in 2020. This figure includes 12.7 million decaliters of still wines (-7.5% from 2020) and 5.6 million decaliters of sparkling wines (+14% from 2020). According to the regional Ministry of Agriculture, about 45% of all Russian wine was produced in the Kuban, including 37% of all sparkling wine. Read the original news in Russian.

Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhaev presented project for development of enotourism

At the Gaidar Forum, held in Moscow January 13-14, Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhaev described the new project, "Terroir of Sevastopol." He said it would help remove existing restrictions on tastings and sales at wineries, which hinder the promotion of the tourism business in the region. "’Terroir of Sevastopol’ is intended to remove all these administrative restrictions; we are interested in restaurants, tasting rooms, and mini-hotels appearing at small wineries, to receive guests for one or two days," the governor said. Razvozhaev also noted that about 20 wineries had already joined the project. Read the original news in Russian.

Photo: © Zolotaya Balka

Alvisa Group continues expansion

Alvisa – which already owns the brands of Stareishina brandy, Nucky Thompson and Glen Eagles whisky, Montblanc vodka, and Delasy vermouth – is purchasing the UVKP factory near Moscow to bottle its recently-acquired Kinovsky line of brandy. The company intends to produce over 10 million liters of this brandy per year, making it one of the top three brands on the Russian market. Alvisa was already the leading Russian brandy producer in 2020, with 16.76% of the national market. The company's portfolio also includes the Stavropol Wine and Cognac Factory, the Mineralniye Vody Grape Wine Factory, and factories producing grape spirits and bulk wine in Spain. The Alvisa Group holding company is 99.9% owned by Kamil Askenderov – reportedly the brother of Zaur Askenderov, a State Duma deputy from Dagestan. Read the original news in Russian.

Abrau-Durso Group enters the cosmetics market

According to information on its website, the new Abrau Cosmetics brand will feature a line of cosmetic products made with grapeseed oil and resveratrol (also derived from grapes). The packaging is made from plant materials, and is fully biodegradable. Pavel Titov, president of the Abrau-Durso Group of Companies, describes the new brand as an opportunity to diversify production using its grape raw materials. Abrau Cosmetics will be headed by Pavel Titov’s wife, Ksenia Titova, and Ruslan Romantsev, general director of the manufacturer of safe household chemicals Kubanbytkhim, where the cosmetics will be manufactured. Read the original in Russian.

Ukraine abolishes excise stamps for still wines

New tax legislation in Ukraine exempts importers and producers of wines from using excise stamps on their bottles. The change simplifies the logistics of importers and eliminates the cost of organizing the pasting of excise stamps before wine enters the territory of Ukraine. However, only the physical stamps were eliminated; market participants continue to pay excise tax on all alcoholic products. In fact, the excise tax rate has been increased by 5% for still and sparkling wines, to 11.65 UAH/liter ($0.41). Read the original news in Russian (the website is blocked in Russia).

Cover photo: © Simple Group.

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