Inside Russia’s newest winery

Côte Rocheuse plans to open this stunning building for visits at the end of the year – when it will release its first whites and reds. Sparkling wines will follow in a couple of years…


A hilly site in a seismic zone added to the technical complexity of building this winery. Photography by Daniil Annenkov courtesy of Severin Proekt

Inside Russia’s newest winery
  • Chris Boiling
  • 2021-05-04
Russia’s newest winery had to look good from the air – as many of its visitors are expected to arrive by helicopter.
Set in the picturesque hills of the Krasnodar region in southern Russia – near Anapa – this stunning concrete winery has emerged under the Côte Rocheuse label.
Designed with gravity-flow winemaking in mind, the 9,752sq m winery is built on several levels.
The structure is formed of two contrasting volumes: a brutalist, square-cut base, housing most of the wine production facilities, and a rounded, overhanging upper volume for the public areas, inspired by beach pebbles found along the nearby Black Sea coast. This upper level contains a restaurant, café, shop and a panoramic terrace. There is also access to the roof for those who want views of the mountains, sea and vineyards.
Côte Rocheuse plans to open for visits, tours and tastings in December.

CoteRocheuse drone view
A hilly site in a seismic zone added to the technical complexity of the project, which took 18 months to construct.
Completed in late 2020, the production capacity of the winery is 350,000 bottles of wine per year.
The winemaking technology, from well-known European suppliers, is enclosed in a high but simple rectangular building in the lower levels, which are integrated into the slope on the site.
The winery, designed by Alexander Balabin (founder of the Severin Project architectural bureau in Moscow), hits the brief of a modern, minimalistic, functional winery with an eye-catching design that could become the face of Côte Rocheuse and part of its brand.

CoteRocheuse from vineyard
Around the winery are 30.4ha of vines, planted in stages from 2011 to 2013, and taking advantage of the location in Russia’s warmest region, on the southern foothills of the Caucasus Mountains and close to the Black Sea.
Skalistiy bereg (Côte Rocheuse) grows eight varieties: five red (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Krasnostop Zolotovsky, and Pinot Noir) and three white (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Riesling), with the vines coming from French nursery Mercier.
Balabin says the design idea “is based on a free fantasy about landscape and sea”.

CoteRocheuse 1
The two things we like about this winery design are way the building looks completely different from different angles – including the sky – and the way its appearance changes during the day: depending on the light, the concrete shell looks either almost snow-white or dark grey – “just like pebbles, a stone that changes its colour contacting either with the water, or with the sun,” Balabin points out.

CoteRocheuse cellar 2
The first Côte Rocheuse estate wines are scheduled for release at the end of this year, starting with three whites (Riesling, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc) and two reds (Cabernet Franc and a Merlot-based blend).
In 2022, three more reds are due to join Côte Rocheuse’s portfolio: Cabernet Sauvignon, Krasnostop and a Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend. 2024 will see the release of a couple of sparkling wines: a cuvée made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and a blanc de noir (from Pinot Noir).
Chief winemaker is Kirill Bardakov.

CoteRocheuse inside 1
CoteRocheuse inside 3
CoteRocheuse inside 4

From Canopy’s archive

The Swiss winemaker battling to raise the profile of Russian wine
Renaud and Marina Burnier talk about the problems they had to overcome to produce a high-quality wine from the indigenous Krasnostop variety in a country better known for producing incredible quantities of poor-quality wine... Full story here.

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