The intrigue of the third business day of the Russian Wine Fair 2012 was staged for its participants, wine market professionals and representatives of the media by the organizers the Asti Group exhibition company in the wine bar "Vintage".
On November 22, after negotiations between the Russian and foreign producers and the owners of the wine boutiques and representatives of the retail chains all participants took part in a blind tasting of wines of the Old World and Russia. 16 red wines from Italy, Spain, Portugal and Russia were presented to the attention of the audience. The tasting was run by Dmitry Fedotov, director of the Independent Wine Club. After tasting of each proposed wine the guests of the bar "Vintage" shared opinions about what wine it might be, who is the producer, what is the region of production, from what grapes variety it was produced and in what year. Next, participants of the tasting were shown the label, and it is encouraging that some of our Russian wines were taken for Italian or Spanish. Of course, the producers themselves recognized their wines immediately as it was done correctly by Wanda Botnar, Chief Technologist of "Kuban Vino" from the Krasnodar region and the Italians Gianbattista Pinna ‒ representative of I Vicini and Gianpiero Morbello, representing the winery Dosio.
At the end of the tasting the experts have chosen four wines which the participants of the event considered to be best judging by the whole range of characteristics: I Visini Laudario Merlot 2010 Cortona DOC, Italy, 14%; Dosio Barila Nebbiolo Langhe DOC 2008, Italy, 13,5%; Principal Reserva 2007 Bairrada DOC, Portugal, 14% and Russian wine Chateau Tamagne Krasnostop of Taman 2011, OOO "Kuban-Vino", Russia, 12%. All these four drinks gained the same highest number of votes and were acknowledged as being the best in the tasting. It is gratifying that our Chateau Tamagne Krasnostop of Taman 2011 was recognized as the best, along with well-known foreign brands, which means that all producers are playing on equal.
The results of tasting speak volumes. In Russia, we are able to grow good grapes and make a quality wine, which, in the opinion of experts, is on a par with European wines.
The wine tasting was followed by a discussion dedicated to the situation in the domestic market and the prospects for winemaking in Russia. Opening the discussion Nariner Bagmanyan, the President of the exhibition company, underlined that the wines presented at the exhibition and tasting were new to Russia. They are not yet presented on our market, and the opportunity to promote them in this country is getting lesser as the legal framework does not allow to carry out professional wine events, including exhibitions. How to promote these products is now the most important issue, both for the domestic winemakers, and for the Western ones, who wish to enter our market.
This theme was continued by Vadim Drobiz, Director of the Center of Research of the Federal and Regional Alcohol Markets (TSIFFRA). First of all, he expressed his gratitude to the organizers of the exhibition of Russian Wine Fair 2012 and their president Nariner Bagmanyan for the variety of options for the promotion of domestic wines which they offer Russian producers. This includes the collective stand at London International Wine Fair exhibitions in London, tastings of our wines in the Russian Embassy in the UK. As well as organizing and conducting of presentations in Moscow bars and restaurants for industry specialists; invitation of leading international wine experts and representatives of the largest retail chains to the wineries of the southern regions of Russia; participation of our wines in prestigious international competitions.
As the tasting itself has shown our wines are on par with good wines of leading winemaking countries of Europe. This is also proved by the awards won at tasting competitions in Europe. In 2011, there were 17 and in 2012 - already 37.
The Russian delegation was even for the first time invited to this year's festival of the young "Beaujolais Nouveau" and for the first time the right to open a cask of wine of a new crop, and thus to open the festival, was given not to a Frenchman. This right was granted to the Head of viticulture, wine industry and horticulture Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry of the Krasnodar Territory Oleg Tolmachev. That says a lot.
It is worth recalling that until the middle of 50's of the last century Russians mostly consumed strong alcoholic drinks, and only in 70-80 years a culture of wine consumption began to form gradually. During 5 years of the revival of viticulture and wine-making the area of vineyards has reached 200 thousand hectares, and wine consumption - 21 liters / person per year. Since the 90's, during the anti-alcohol campaign, held at that time in the country, the vineyard area was cut three times. And now great efforts are required to ensure the revival of old traditions of viticulture and winemaking in southern Russia. Going back to the facts, the world consumption of wine stays at a certain level, in Ukraine it is reducing, and in Russia is growing and has reached 7 liters / person per year. The interest in quality wine production is growing and already 70% of the wine is produced in Russia itself, while 30% is imported. The tasks for today are to bring by 2020 the level of consumption to 15 liters / person per year and to restore the destroyed area of vineyards. We are at the beginning of the road, says Vadim Drobiz.
Leonid Popovich, the President of the Union of Winegrowers and Winemakers of Russia, continued the theme and said that over the past 20 years viticulture and winemaking in Russia many times came to a standstill, but these obstacles were successfully overcome, and the wine were becoming better and better. Therefore, the wine community is preparing its proposals for changes in legislation relating to the promotion of domestic wine production in the domestic market. Nevertheless it is necessary to use the existing opportunities also. Judging by the success of the exhibition, which was held simultaneously almost at 10 professional venues where professionals could meet and conduct business negotiations, discuss and conduct master classes and tastings ‒ this way is more expensive, but still possible. The Union of Winegrowers and Winemakers of Russia is considering the possibility of creating a special committee to communicate with customers ‒ a community supporting customers. To be able to somehow get the professionals acquainted with the best of locally produced wines. There is a common view that if the label says producing country is Italy, Spain, France or Portugal, it is already the most important advertising of wine, as the opinion exists that these countries do not produce bad wine. We need to take this into the account and defend our producers, so that Russian wines will also be known in our country and abroad.
Concluding the discussion, Nariner Bagmanyan expressed her gratitude to the exhibitors for the support of this new project, which took place on November 20-22, and assured everyone that Asti Group exhibition company will not rest on its laurels, but will be working on new forms of exhibitions. The most popular format of wines promotion among all offered this year will be used in the future. We are confident that we will be supported by those domestic and international companies, who are interested in promoting their products using the proposed marketing strategy of our company, ‒ said Nariner Bagmanyan.
For more information about forthcoming events which will be interesting to both Russian and foreign specialists please visit www.wine-fest.ru.