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Wineries leading the way – Meet the key producers revolutionising and championing Ukrainian wine

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Ukraine's rediscovery as a wine-producing country is founded on the work of its leading producers, who are striving to craft world-class wines and introduce their unique terroirs and grape varieties to international consumers.

In partnership with Beykush WineryBig Wines and SHABO


Beykush Winery

Winemaking in the northern reaches of the Black Sea has always been a dialogue. This conversation has spanned some 3,000 years, enriched by the voices of winemakers from far and wide, among them the Cimmerians, ancient Greeks, Romans and Ottomans. That’s the belief of family-run winery Beykush, which today continues this lively tradition of exchange, producing expressive and experimental wines.

Beykush Winery was founded in 2010 by Eugene Shneyderis, who set out to rejuvenate viticulture in Ukraine’s Mykolaiv region. Its vineyards are situated on the Beykush peninsula, facing the Black Sea, and are bordered by the deltas of three large rivers. The location provides a microclimate similar to Austria’s, but with less rainfall and more temperate year-round temperatures; it is ideal for viticulture, with characterful, dark chestnut, loamy soil.

Grapes arriving at Beykush Winery

Grapes arriving at Beykush Winery

Despite a humble offering of 75,000 bottles a year, Beykush Winery has attracted a loyal following with its diverse portfolio of wines. Working across its 14ha with 18 grape varieties from nearby and abroad, Beykush Winery dedicates the majority of the vineyard to clones of red and white French and Italian grapes – from Chardonnay to Pinot Grigio and Merlot to Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition, it has experimental parcels boasting grapes never before planted in Ukraine – or in the case of Timorasso, anywhere in the world. The white grape is found only in its homeland of Northern Italy and, now, in Ukraine. Further experimental projects include work with the local white grape Telti-Kuruk and red grapes such as Malbec, Pinotage and Tempranillo.

Beykush Winery founder Eugene Shneyderis and CEO Svitlana Tsybak

Beykush Winery Founder Eugene Shneyderis and CEO Svitlana Tsybak, who is also the head of the Ukrainian Association of Craft Winemakers.

Beykush Winery offers twenty-four wines, divided into four series – from varietal expressions to unconventional blends handpicked and aged in oak, stainless steel or clay amphorae. In a major achievement, its Reserve Chardonnay 2019 was awarded a Gold medal at the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA). The Historical Series is sourced from only the best plots and showcases specific techniques and varieties as well as surprising yet elegant blends. Kara Kermen, for example, is a blend of Tempranillo and Saperavi grapes dried
using the appassimento method. Each wine in the collection is named in honour of the area’s history and the various communities, including Jewish and Greek settlers, who at different times have called this region home.

Big Wines vineyards in Ukraine

Big Wines vineyards, south of Odesa.

Big Wines

Founded in 2019, Big Wines is a young winery – but it benefits from sitting within the Vinos de La Luz group, drawing on decades of international winemaking experience. This Ukrainian winery forms part of La Luz’s enduring vision to introduce connoisseurs to the world’s very best expressions of terroir and grape varieties, with a truly worldwide portfolio.

Big Wines is passionate about driving forward the continued excellence of Ukrainian wines – collaborating with top oenologists to gain a rich understanding of local terroir. Its goals are twofold: firstly, to continue to demonstrate Ukraine’s world-standard winemaking by producing exceptional wines from carefully selected international grapes, aged in the best French and American oak barrels; and secondly, to work with indigenous grapes, aged in Ukrainian oak, to capture the unique identity of its terroir and viticultural heritage.

Vinos de La Luz founder Ricardo F. Nunez Founder and Nataliia Burlachenko, Brand Ambassador and CEO/Co-Founder of Big Wines

Ricardo F. Nunez, Founder and Chairman, Vinos de La Luz and Brand Ambassador Nataliia Burlachenko, who is also CEO/Co-Founder of Big Wines

Managed by Ukranian sommelier and La Luz wine ambassador Nataliia Burlachenko, Big Wines Big Art is a limited-edition series of wines from vineyards south of Odesa, labelled with artworks by renowned Ukrainian artist Ivan Marchuk. Each is a limited release of 1,000 numbered bottles; the series’ flagship wine, the 2020 Big Wines Big Art Odesa Black, was awarded a gold medal at the Mundus Vini 2023 competition, and is well on its way to becoming a prized collector’s bottle. Now in its third vintage, this robust wine is produced from the local Odesa Black grape, aged for 12 months in French oak barrels, and presents notes of blackberry, cherry, white and black pepper and chocolate, with velvety tannins and a telltale inky appearance.

Joining it in the 2023 series is local variety Telti-Kuruk, with refreshing flavours of white to green stone fruits, contrasting hay notes and well-balanced acidity (produced in both oaked and unoaked styles). The series is rounded off by an international offering, a dry Pinot Noir rosé with notes of ripe strawberries, raspberries and cherries and a light, citrusy aroma.

SHABO winery in Ukraine

The SHABO House of Sparkling Wine. Credit: Sergiy Kadulin

SHABO

When they planted their first cuttings in a small village south of Odesa, the Iukuridze family sowed with them a dream of bringing Ukrainian wine to the global stage. That was back in 2003. Just over twenty years later, SHABO is one of the nation’s top producers of high-end wines, with over 500 awards from international competitions. In 2021, SHABO’s 2015 Grande Reserve Chardonnay and 2017 Grande Reserve Cabernet Franc became the first Ukrainian wines to win Gold medals at the DWWA, an achievement it repeated in 2023 with the country’s first Platinum medal for its 2016 Limited Edition Muscat Ottonel.

SHABO has bolstered Ukraine’s winemaking reputation both abroad and at home, producing exemplary local wines and challenging deep-rooted notions of imported wine’s superiority. ‘This became the mission of the entire SHABO team,’ explains co-founder Giorgi Iukuridze, ‘to give Ukrainians the right to be proud of their wine.’ To the same end, the SHABO Wine Culture Centre, a unique social and educational project, tells the story of Ukrainian winemaking, terroir and wine culture, and, before the invasion, welcomed over 50,000 visitors per year.

Giorgi Iukuridze CEO/Co-Founder, SHABO

Giorgi Iukuridze, CEO/Co-Founder, SHABO.

SHABO sources its vines from France’s and Italy’s best producers, carefully matching the clones to the diverse microplots across its 1,200ha – including the site of one of Ukraine’s oldest vineyards. In collaboration with expert winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt, SHABO produces sophisticated expressions and special blends. Today, SHABO works with 20 varieties, including reds Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Saperavi. Its whites encompass Telti-Kuruk (it boasts the largest vineyard of this local grape), Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. The pearl of the SHABO portfolio is the Grande Reserve series, sourced only from the vineyard’s very best plots.

SHABO’s internationally acclaimed wines are truly trailblazing, acquiring ‘controlled appellation of origin’ status as early as 2012. Today, SHABO is also famed for its styles of sparkling wine, brandy and eau de vie.


Where to buy Ukrainian wines:

Cellar Door Wines

Hedonism Wines

Loki Wine

Other World Wines

Theatre of Wine

UA Wines

Vineyards in Ukraine


Discover more about these top Ukrainian producers:

Beykush Winery  |  Big Wines  |  SHABO

  Logos for Ukrainian wines

Discover more about Ukrainian wine

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