8 Craft Wineries featured in the WTA Guide. Ukraine


There’s a lot of craft winemakers in Ukraine, and the number of craft wineries in the pre-war years was growing exponentially. From that lot, for the new issue of the WTA Guide devoted to Ukraine, we have selected, quite subjectively, the top 8, which we believe are worth visiting when the Ukrainian wine routes become safe again.

Uman Winery

Location: Uman, Cherkasy region 

Capacity: 1.5 – 3 thousand liters per year

Vineyards: the Black Sea region

Uman Winery began as a hobby of sommelier Ihor Maksymenko who opened it in 2013. He produced his first experimental wines in 2015. The winemaker was most interested in the Odesa Black (Alibernet) variety, a famous Ukrainian red created by the breeders from the Tairov Institute in Odesa.

Ihor hosts very interesting tasting lectures for guests of the winery. During the tastings, visitors get acquainted with wine evaluation methods, principles of enogastronomy, etc. Due to the enthusiasm of the winemaker, Uman Winery became a nominee of the Wine Travel Awards 2021-2022 in the Unique Program category and made it to the final of the public voting.

Wine tourists have the opportunity to explore the city of Uman, the Sofiivka Dendrological Park, the Basilian Monastery and the Monks’ Caves, the burial place of Rebbe Nachman, where Hasidim from all over the world come to celebrate the Jewish New Year. The city has a well-developed HoReCa infrastructure.

Varieties: Bastardo, Merlot, Saperavi, Solaris, Cabernet Sauvignon, Odesa Black (Alibernet).

Awards: Odessa Wine and Spirits Award for Muscat Ottonel/Aligote Orange 2018 and Alibernet 2017 gold from Odessa Wine and Spirits Award. Merlot 2017

and Saperavi 2017 – silver from “Odesky Zalyv -2019”.

Wines to notice

Muscat Ottonel/Aligote Orange 2018 is a dry wine of bright amber color. Aroma: sweet honey and floral notes. The taste is rounded with acidity, a light stone tone is felt, moderate tannins.

Alibernet 2017 – restrained in aroma, notes of wood and raisins. Palate: velvety tannins, in, a good combination of acidity and fruitiness, dried pear finish.

Photo: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100016167038207

Sherwood Winery

Location: Uman, Cherkasy region 

Capacity: 2 thousand bottles per year

Own vineyards: 0.15 ha

Age of the vines: 11 years

The owner, Serhiy Kovalenko, has been engaged in winemaking since 2015. He personally takes care of the vineyard and creates the wines. The location of the vineyards is perfect: proximity to the steppe zone and loess soils are very good for viticulture, the climate in this area is moderately continental with mild winters and warm summers. Sherwood Winery produce dry reds, dessert and rose


Varieties: Jupiter, Zweigelt, Gurzuf Rosé, Livadia Black.

Sherwood Winery collaborates with the Forest club Sherwood hotel and restaurant complex, which has everything to spend a holiday, relax, enjoy nature and excellent wines.

Sherwood Winery is a nominee of the Wine Travel Awards The Visiting Card of the Country.

Awards: “Merlot” – “The best rosé dry wine of Ukraine 2019” at the 5th All-Ukrainian tasting competition “Variety and terroir. Micro-viticulture”. Love story – “The best dessert wine of Ukraine 2020” at the VI All-Ukrainian tasting competition “Variety and terroir. Micro-viticulture”. Grand Vale, 2019 – silver from the All-Ukrainian Odessa Wine & Spirit Awards tasting competition.

Wines to notice

Grand Vale – a classic Bordeaux blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot). Wine of deep ruby color. Nose: tones of red berries, poppy, cinnamon. Palate: powerful body, mature tannins. The taste is rich with notes of cherry and black currant.

Love Story is a dessert wine made from the Gurzuf Rosé grape variety. Nose: bright, intense aromas of honey and roses. Palate: lasting, pleasant finish of sweet berries.

Фото: https://www.facebook.com/kovalenko.sergei

Don Alejandro Winery 

Location: Kholodna Balka, Bilyaiv district, Odesa region 

Capacity: 20-40 thousand bottles per year 

Own vineyards: 14 ha 

Age of the vines: 20 years

Don Alejandro Winery was founded in 2005 by Oleksandr Shapovalov, a representative of the sixth generation of winemakers and an architect by profession, and he is fairly called the “Salvador Dali and Gaudí” of Ukrainian winemaking for his creativity and style. 

Don Alejandro Winery is a large family estate boasting a unique architecture and atmosphere, with authentic wine cellars, winemaking facilities and a tasting room where you can taste their unique natural wines. 

Don Alejandro is a master of original style not only in design, but also in winemaking. He is the inventor of a new trend in winemaking, cosmodynamics. Hence no less than cosmic names of his wines: Metamorphosa, Paradigma, Equilibrium, Haematogenum, Quasar etc (all of them copyrighted). Don Alejandro vineyards are located on the banks of the warm Khadzhibey estuary. The soils are loamy, limestone. In summer, the weather here is hot and sunny, which has a good effect on the ripening of berries, on the amount of sugar and aromatic phenolic compounds. And, of course, it is enjoyed by the numerous guests who visit this artistic winery! 

Varieties: Riesling, Chardonnay, Aligote, Pinot Noir, Odessa Black, Merlot, Saperavi, Cabernet Sauvignon and others.

Wines to notice

Paradigma is a dry white wine made from 2014 Chardonnay grapes. The wine has a bright, rich aroma. It is distinguished by the presence of original tar notes. 

Metamorphosa is a dry red wine, a blend of Cabernet, Saperavi and Merlot. Rich natural wine, with a bright aroma of blackberry and ripe black mulberry. It has a balanced rounded taste, with notes of paprika and black pepper.

Photo: www.facebook.com/donalejandrowinery

Hryhoriy Kulynychenko’s Winery 

Location: Gorokhove, Borodyanka district, Kyiv region 

Capacity: 5,000 liters per year 

Vineyards: 4 ha

In 2011, Hryhoriy Kulynychenko, a farmer from Kaharlyk, decided to allocate a plot of land for a vineyard on the lands of his large farm in the village of Gorokhove. He tried many varieties until he settled on those that ripen in the conditions of this area. Currently, 30 varieties are grown here, among which the red ones mainly belong to the Western selection, the white ones to the Ukrainian one (V. Tairov Institute of Winemaking and Viticulture). The vines reach their roots into the layers of clay, creating wines with a luxurious aroma reminiscent of the Rhône in style. 

The main principles of winemaking: own grapes, the journey from the field to the winery takes 15 minutes, temperature control at all stages. The owners of the winery, the Kulynychenko family, are always happy to welcome winelovers. Tourists are also attracted to the picturesque village of Gorokhove, next to which there is a burial mound from the times of the Trypil culture. 

Varieties: Bukovinka, Viognier, Grenache, Johanniter, Cabernet Cortis, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot, Muscaris, Muscat Odesa, Nebiolo, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Gris, Pinot Mignon, Pinot Noir, Riesling Rhine, Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Solaris, Traminer, Trebiano di Lugano, Citron Magaracha, Chardonnay, Shiraz. 

Awards: “Solaris” 2019 – silver at Odessa Wine & Spirits Awards 2020.

Wines to notice

Solaris is a white dry wine. It demonstrates a fruity bouquet, fresh tones of pineapple and shades of hazelnut. Full body, mineral finish. 

Photo: Arsen Fedosenko 

Bohdan’s Winery  

Location: Horayivka, Kamianets-Podilsky district, Khmelnytsky region 

Capacity: 1.5 – 3,000 liters per year 

Own vineyards: 2 ha 

Age of the vines: 20 years

The owner and the winemaker of Bohdan’s Winery, Bohdan Pavliy, is well-known among the Ukrainian craft winemakers. He has more than 20 years’ experience, the winery was founded in 2012. The vineyards are located in two micro-regions, Bakota and Cavetchyna, in a unique climate zone on the slopes of the Dniester river. The southern slope, loamy soils with a high content of limestone, the sun reflecting off the surface of the Dniester, low nighttime temperature — all these factors contribute to viticulture. Bohdan’s wines perfectly demonstrate the characteristics of the terroir. 

A mini-hotel which can accommodate up to 10 people has been built on the territory of the winery. The winery has a tasting room for 12-14 people with a view of Bakota and the vineyards. This place, combined with Bohdan Pavliy’s wines, leaves an unforgettable impression. 

Varieties: Johanniter, Traminer, Aligote, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Solaris, Muscaris, Riesling, Zweigelt, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Evmolpia, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and others. 

Awards: more than 10 awards from the reputable Ukrainian wine competitions.

Wines to notice

Sauvignon Blanc – elegant, clear and delicate white wine. The aroma is gooseberry and freshly cut grass. Well-balanced acidity. The wine was not aged in oak, and demonstrates the original varietal aromas.

Bakota is a rich and sophisticated blend of Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot. Aging in French barriques for 6 months. Classic Bordeaux varieties with terroir character. 

Barbaryska Rose is a dry rose from the Sangiovese variety. It has a pronounced aroma and taste of raspberry with citrus.

Photo: Tanya Olevska, Arsen Fedosenko 

Korus Wines

Location: Kropyvnytsky, Kirovohrad region 

Capacity: 4,000 bottles per year 

Vineyards: southern Ukraine 

The owners of Korus Wines, Ruslan and Hanna Kovalevsky, are true wine enthusiasts and creators. Their small winery is located right in the courtyard of their family house. A small experimental vineyard has been planted here, but they purchase most of the grapes for the production of their wines in the south of Ukraine. Ruslan is engaged in winemaking, constantly experimenting with varieties and blends, applying interesting technological techniques and skills. And his wife, a certified and experienced expert sommelier, professionally presents the best wines from the Korus Wine collection. Let’s note that today, during the war, Hanna devoted her life to volunteering. 

In addition to many years of experience, theoretical training and consultations with professional oenologists, Ruslan Kovalevsky has a fine intuition and considerable talent. He produces high-quality wines with a special character. This year, Ruslan Kovalevsky made a blend of Saperavi, Odessa Black and Pinot Noir and named this wine “Trident” (the national symbol of Ukraine). He believes that this wine will be a symbol of the Ukrainian Victory. 

Awards: Muskat — silver from the “Odesky Zalyv-2020” competition. Ukraine Wine & Spirits Awards 2020 competition – 4 bronze medals: Alvarinho 2019; Rose blend 2019; Tempranillo 2018; Cabernet Sauvignon Tempranillo 2018.

Wines to notice

Solaris 2019 – fresh, bright and intense in aroma and taste. Nose: exotic fruits pineapple, lime, papaya, with hints of early summer apples. Palate: fruity, with moderately high, refreshing acidity. 

Albarinho 2019 is a charming white dry wine, with the aroma of citrus, white fruits and white flowers (in particular, white narcissus). Palate: pleasant acidity and white stone fruits. Pleasant, fresh and mineral finish.

Photo: www.facebook.com/koruswine

Kovach Family Winery

Location: Kontsovo, Uzhgorod district, Transcarpathia 

Capacity: 10,000 bottles per year

A winemaker from Uzhgorod, Oleksandr Kovach has been creating his award-winning wines in Ukrainian Transcarpathia for 25 years. The winemaker mostly works with the European grape varieties. Kovach follows the world trends in winemaking. He likes to experiment, and his experiments are good, because he buys the highest quality grapes for his wine. Kovach produces not only still whites and reds, but also classic method sparkling wines, pet-nats, distillates, Icewine, ciders etc. Oleksandr Kovach is the founder of two wine festivals in Uzhhorod – “Sunny Drink” and “Transcarpathian Beaujolais” and heads the Association of Private Grape Growers and Winemakers of Transcarpathia. 

Awards: Cherseghi Fuseresh – gold, Solaris – silver at the Odesa Wine Week 2020 tasting competition, Sauvignon Blanc – gold at the “Odesky Zalyv 2019” competition. Alibernet 2019 – gold at the XXV Cervene Vino competition.

Wines to notice

Chardonnay 2019, aging in French oak barrels for 9 months. Nose: fresh green apple and lime with notes of spicy vanilla and nuts. 

Aliberne 2019 is a dry red wine. Nose: luxurious red berries, in particular, black currants. Palate: velvet fruity taste with rich tannins. Lasting spicy finish.

Photo: www.facebook.com/vinorob

Shtifko Wine Factory

Location: Klyucharky, Mukacheve district, Transcarpathia 

Capacity: 10,000 liters per year 

Own vineyard: 1 ha, with plans to expand to 30 ha

The winery was created by the winemaker Oleksandr Harnovdiy in 2018, in his own estate. He is one of the most influential winemakers in Transcarpathia, who currently holds the position of Chairman of the Union of Winemakers and Distillers of Transcarpathia. And the winery was named in honor of his great-grandfather, from whom the family traces its lineage. 

Varieties: Harslevelu ( Lypovyna), Müller Thurgau, Palava, Solaris, Blau Burgunder, Saperavi. The winemaker creates wines in the traditional style of the region: dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet. Guests of the winery are treated to Furmint, Chardonnay, Muskat Ottonel, Traminer, Sauvignon Blanc and other amazing, highly aromatic yet clear wines. And travelers are advised to take excursions to Palanok Castle, charming Uzhhorod and charismatic Mukacheve, where numerous tasting rooms await wine lovers. 

Awards: Chardonnay 2021 – silver, Muscat Ottonel 2021 – bronze at the competition of the Association of Hungarian Winemakers of Transcarpathia in Berehove.