Triumph of Ukrainian wines at the London Wine Fair
Author: Oleksandra Hryhorieva
London Wine Fair – one of the major events in the wine world, opened the doors, hearts and market of Great Britain for Ukrainian winemakers! On the initiative of LWF, the stand “Wines of Ukraine” featured multiple Ukrainian producers from different regions during three days of the fair, June 7-9.
For the first time in the history of LWF and Ukraine, wines of Ukrainian producers were widely presented at the joint stand of Wines of Ukraine during this large-scale international event. To support Ukraine in times of hardship, the organisers of the LWF 2022 initiated the creation of a joint stand, and gave Ukrainian winemakers the opportunity to present their products for free. Logistic efforts and organisational costs were borne by LWF in cooperation with Drinks+ Communication Media Group and Ukrsadvinprom from the Ukrainian side. This stand located in the heart of LWF became a great success, as it had a little bit of everything – from entry-level drinks to high-price limited edition wines already with international recognition, such as Shabo Winery, Prince Trubetskoi Winery, Honey Badger, Beykush winery and 46 Parallel Wine Group.
By the way, the coincidence became significant: these days at the London Wine Competition 2022 absolutely all samples of sparkling wines from 46 Parallel received medals, and Beykush Winery wines won the highest – three silver and gold – awards at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2022. We must emphasize that Beykush Winery (as well as a number of others presented at the stand in London) is located in the region, which is under Russian fire. And most visitors to the stand understood the severity of the situation: on the one hand, everyone tried to convey their condolences and solidarity to Ukrainians, on the other – everyone understood that the wines presented are not only high quality but also exclusive and limited releases.
As shared sommeliers, MW and influencers, who volunteered to help present these extremely interesting samples at the Wines of Ukraine stand, it was just fantastic to see so many people eager to learn and understand Ukrainian wines.
Volunteer at the Wines of Ukraine stand Richard Bampfield MW kindly left his feedback after tasting some Ukrainian products: “I liked EL CAPITAN Pinot Noir from 46 Parallel Wine Group. I thought the Brandy Aznauri XO 8 from Akkerman Distillery was particularly good. All 3 wines from Beykush Winery were excellent: Yafe Nagar 2019, Arbina 2019, Kara Kermen 2017. In my opinion, Beykush is the standout producer there. I got plenty of interest in and likes for the Pet-Nat White Blend 2020 and Orange wine from Biologist (doubts about the packaging…).”
Mr. Bampfield also noted that Chateau Chizay had good Furmint and Cabernet Franc, Shabo Winery – Telti Kuruk Grand Reserve 2017 and Cabernet Franc / Merlot / Saperavi 2019. Stakhovsky Wines – Merlot 2019, Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 and Saperavi 2018 – all 3 of these were very good. “I really enjoyed presenting them, they deserve UK distribution,” added Richard Bampfield MW in the end.
Another volunteer of the Ukrainian wines stand Bradley Horne, Founder of WineTimeLondon, commented: “I really loved the vibe behind the LWF and wines of Ukraine stand, the passion from the staff and the volunteers was fabulous. Beykush Winery stood out to me, I love all the wines and the Arbina 2019 100% Rkatsiteli skin contact was fantastic, great fruit characters – apricot, orange zest, limes – with stunning texture and balance; the skin contact well judged and nice acidity.”
Ukrainian influencers and trendsetters of the wine market worked at the Wines of Ukraine stand together with English professionals: Ala Skyra, Irene Gridina WA, Dmytro Goncharuk, Polina Kuznetsova. The Drinks + editorial staff – and we are sure that Ukrainian winemakers will join us here – is grateful to all those involved for their help!
The stand “Wines of Ukraine” was crowded and grabbed the attention of wine professionals such as sommeliers, importers, wine tourism operators, distributors, as well as wine bloggers and media from different countries. The WTA team appreciates all the comments left by visitors of the stand and is gladly sharing them with Ukrainian producers and our community members.
An independent sommelier from London noted: “I tried most of the Ukrainian wines today, guys, amazing wines, good quality, it’s definitely worth trying them. Perfect! Go for them!”
Emily Jenkinson got a particular interest in exporting Ukrainian wines: “It’s being fantastic tasting the wines, I did enjoy Grand Admiral Cabernet Sauvignon-Saperavi-Merlot 2018 from 46 Parallel, the one from Stakhovskiy (ACE) – Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, and the last one I really liked was Beykush Kara Karmen 2017. There are plenty of wines offered. I certainly have to appreciate and taste all of them again.”
Sophie Robertson, Brand Ambassador at Nyetimber, said: “Well I was really surprised about the quality of Ukrainian wines. They are not really the wines I’ve come across before, so it is a really exciting opportunity to taste them today. The wines are really great, really good quality. The one I especially liked was Kara Karmen from Beykush, appassimento style.”
Another comment comes from Ralph Hochar, France and UAE sales manager at Château Musar: “I am very pleased to be here at the stand “Wines of Ukraine”. Two wines particularly struck me. The one which surprised me was Furmint from Château Chizay. I also wanted to try something made in a different way, and it was an orange wine (Biologist). Very nice, very delicate, very elegant, long aftertaste with a long ageing potential.”
Will Wong, wine photographer, highlighted white wines from Ukraine: “I am absolutely delighted to be here as I haven’t tried Ukrainian wines before, only vodka. I tried sparkling wine, Petnat, good, the whole range of white wines, red wines. For me it is a revolution for Ukrainian wines. The white wines really stood out for me.”
George Biswas, leading expert on English wines, emphasised that the tasting was amazing: “The wide range of wines from the original to the exciting; Petnat, it was really unusual, very well made. The reds are fantastic, blends are unusual, like Pinot Noir & Merlot 2019 from Vinoman Winery. Full bodied but delicious! Finally, Furmint has refreshing acidity. It cleans up the palates and leaves us smiling. Glory to Ukraine!!!”