The Russian government plans to invest up to €250m in the expansion and growth of the Crimean wine industry to include a 60% increase in vineyard plantings.

Massandra Vineyard, Crimea; credit: Auzine

As part of state plans, by 2025, the total area covered by Crimean vineyards will have grown from 37,300ha to 100,000ha, with the industry expecting to generate at least 15% of the gross product of the region.

In the same time frame, the overall production of wine is set to increase from the current 83m cases a year to almost 600m cases. The growth is forecast to allow for a significant reduction in imports, currently comprising 80% of the Russian wine market.

The project has been approved by Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev who said ‘the government plans to focus on the development of several industries in Crimea, among them expected to be tourism and winemaking’ which he added has ‘huge potential’.

There are also plans to create a formal holding to manage the state’s winemaking assets in the region to be known as Wines of Crimea. This is expected to include Crimea’s oldest and recently nationalised winery Massandra, as well as the National Institute of Vine and Wine and it’s principal research centre Magarach.

These measures have been welcomed by analyst Vadim Drobiz, director of Russia’s Center of Research of Federal and Regional Alcohol Markets, who said: ‘the establishment of the wine cluster in the region may provide an impetus for the development of the entire Russian wine industry as well as Crimean wine production itself which has huge potential’.

The Russian government plans to incentivise wine industry growth by setting a zero rate of excise duty, as well as the introduction of simplified licensing and registration procedures.

Other benefits will include the provision of permission to advertise Crimean wine within federal channels as well as the introduction of quotas for Crimean wine in restaurants.

Written by Eugene Gerden