Superb Wines of Ukraine

The beautiful country of Ukraine, with its fertile steppes and plateaus criss-crossed by numerous rivers, together with its temperate climate, is well suited for the cultivation of a variety of crops. The Mediterranean climate prevailing in the regions bordering the Black Sea is particularly suited to the growing of grapes, and it is here that many of the wines of Ukraine originate from. Key vine-growing regions include Crimea, Carpathian Ruthenia, Bessarabia, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk and Odessa Oblasts.

After a number of set-backs, including the destruction of 800 square kilometers of vineyards as part of Mikhail Gorbachov’s campaign to restrict the consumption of alcohol in the USSR, since 2000 the wine industry in Ukraine has flourished. Many brands of Ukrainian wine are exported to neighboring countries, as well as North America and the European Union. Ukraine’s wine production includes Aligote, Muscat, Isabella, Cabernet Sauvignon, Traminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Rkatsiteli.

The history of wine-making in Ukraine goes way back to the 4th century BC on the Crimean south coast. This conclusion was drawn from the fact that a number of wine presses and amphoras from this period have been discovered. Amphoras are a type of ceramic vase with a long neck which is narrower than the body and with two handles extending from the top of the container’s neck to the body. These were commonly used in the Mediterranean for storing olive oil, wine, grain and other produce and are invaluable to archaeologists in establishing the date of a discovery. Wine production in the northern areas of Ukraine – around Chernihiv and Kiev – was started by monks in the 11th century.

The Magarach Wine Institute near Yalta was founded in 1828, primarily at that time to provide the Tzar’s household with wine. The word Magarach means “spring” or “source”, which is apt because the Magarach Wine Institute is considered to be the birthplace of Ukraine’s sciences relating to the cultivation of vineyards and the production of wine. Currently the institute has six departments devoted to research and development with regard to: ampelography (identification and classification of grapevines) and grape propagation; protection of vines from pests, diseases and weeds; methods of vine cultivation; biochemistry and chemistry of wine; processes of wine-making; equipment for use in the wine industry.

Ongoing research, development and training at the Magarach Wine Institute ensure that the wine industry in Ukraine will continue to flourish and uphold its well-earned reputation for superb wines. Next time you want to enjoy a glass of wine, why not try out some of the superb wines of Ukraine?