Odesa was founded in 1794 as a seaport on the northwestern coast of the Black Sea to expand the connections with Europe. Today, it is the third-largest city in Ukraine known as an important industrial, cultural, transport, scientific and touristic center of the country as well as an administrative center of the largest region in Ukraine – Odessa region (the territory is 33,3 thousand sq. km.; the population of the region is 2,4 million people, the representatives of 133 nationalities). The population of the city is 1,2 million people. Every year, it is visited by more than three million tourists.
As for history of winemaking, the population of the region has been cultivating grapes and producing grape wines since time immemorial. The ancient Greeks are considered to be the progenitors of winemaking in this region. That was they, in the VI-II century BC, who founded on the shores of the Black Sea settlement of Tira (later – Ackerman) and the first to plant vineyards here. And it was neither more nor less – more than 2,5 thousand years ago. Later Tatar, Turkish, Armenian and Moldavian settlements, which cultivated grapes, started to be built in the region.
The first governor of Odesa encouraged the development of viticulture and winemaking in the region. By 1821 there were 804 vineyards. The beginning of cultural winemaking in the region is associated with the Swiss settlers, who founded the winemaking settlement Shabo in 1822.
About 55% of grapes, grown in Ukraine, essentially, come from Odesa region. Nowadays, there are around 40 thousand hectares of vineyards in Ukraine. More than 60% of them are located in Odesa Region, specifically about 25 thousand hectares. Among them there are 63% of wine grapes, 36% of table grapes. There are 49 processing facilities in Odesa Region. Around 6 thousand employees are working in the industry. Up to 250 thousand tonnes of grapes are produced in Odessa Region every year, with the 170 thousand tonnes being processed. The production of wine materials reaches about 10 million decilitres. The production of wine reaches 3 million deciliters.
Odesa cuisine is renowned for its a bright mixture of different cultures and tastes, having absorbed the best culinary traditions of representatives of more than 130 nationalities living in Odesa. It is unique and rich, with a seaside flavor, that has absorbed a unique combination of fragrant spices, generous gifts of the Black Sea and a variety of specialties of the port city where everything is available. This “everything” and even more can be found at the famous atmospheric Privoz market, where people speak a special Odesa language and share secrets of Odesa cuisine recipes. Recent go well with exclusive local wines. “Sukholimansky White” and “Odesa Black”, created by the Ukrainian National Research Institute of Viticulture and Winemaking, are unique autochthonous grape varieties, so thае wines are a real find for lovers and taste collectors from local еnoteca. Theу are a reflection of the unique combination of the Bessarabian steppe, the bright southern sun and the proximity of waterways, which significantly affects on the microclimate of the area in which the grapes ripen.
There are many wine bars, tasting centers and specialty stores in the city. There are also more than 15 wine-related projects, the largest of which are:
- Odesa Wine Week
- A road trip on the trail to the history of Ukrainian winemaking and the phenomenon of Odesa cuisine.
- Wine Fest
- “The road of wine and taste of Ukrainian Bessarabia” is like a vine, on which branches form a coherent system of tourist enogastronomic routes.