Russia’s government plans to invest in vineyard nurseries in Crimea so that the area’s winemakers will be less reliant on seedling imports from countries such as Italy and France.

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Massandra vineyard in Crimea.

A spokesperson for Russia’s ministry of agriculture confirmed the move, which was announced by Vitaly Polishchuk, Crimea’s minister of agriculture.

Polishchuk said funds would be used for grapevine breeding at the local Magarach Institute, one of Crimea’s largest research centres in the field of agricultural breeding, as well as the local Nikitsky Botanical Garden.

The move is the latest in a series of investments promised for Crimean winemaking following Russia’s annexation of the territory from Ukraine in 2014. It is also part of a Russian government plan to make its wine industry self-sufficient in terms of grapevine planting material by 2020.

In Crimea, Polishchuk said, ‘We have completed all the needed calculations and found out that everything should be implemented in time.’

According to estimates of the Crimean government, the annual demand for grapevine seedlings in Crimea is around 10m per year, while the volume of domestic production is only 1.6m seedlings.

According to the Russian agriculture ministry spokesperson, if the Crimea project is successful, similar breeding centres will be established in other winemaking regions of Russia.

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Written by Eugene Gerden