Georgiy Molchanov, co-owner of the Slivino winery near Mykolaiv, replies with more photos of his vineyards in the village of Radsad…
He tells me: “The situation is the same… More new rockets on our vineyards.”
The news reports suggest Russia’s advance along the Black Sea coast has stalled and Ukrainian troops in the city of Mykolaiv are pushing Russian forces back to the east.
Georgiy, who is head of the Craft Wine Association of the Black Sea Region, sums up the situation as he sees it: “Some wine regions have been occupied, destroyed or are under the military actions. All contributions from our Craft Wine Association have been donated to Ukrainian army and each winemaker, each craft maker and each civilian continues to donate to our army, volunteer and do everything that is possible to bring the victory closer. Everyone is united and helping each other, a lot of winemakers volunteered to join the Ukrainian army and territorial defence.”
Another reply pings in. This one is from Kostiantyn Tintulov, co-owner of Vinhol Oksamytne, which sells wine under its Villa Tinta brand. He sends me a photo taken on February 14, 2022 – ten days before Russia invaded Ukraine. Referring to the image (main photo), Kostiantyn reflects: “Everyone was safe and happy.”
He tells me they are trying to carry on working in the 600ha of vineyards and winery in Bolgrad, near the resort city of Odesa, even though they are forbidden from selling their wine in Ukraine and still have wages to pay.
'Our winery is almost empty, just a few workers come to take care and ensure that the wine is okay'“As for our winery, we are now trying to complete the cutting of the vineyards despite some troubles with delivery and growth of the fuel price, trying to save the people’s salary and work places,” he says. “Nowadays, our winery is almost empty, just a few workers come to take care and ensure that the wine is okay and not spoiling, but we are still trying to support our military forces and territorial defence with the needs they have.”
Last night’s news bulletins say two loud explosions were overheard in Odesa and black smoke is rising from an industrial area. The city, with Ukraine's largest port, is now in the sights of Russian troops who have been retreating from around the capital Kyiv and Chernihiv in the north.
My inbox receives another email from Georgiy. This contains a letter on behalf of the Craft Wine Association of the Black Sea Region. It pleads for winemakers around the world to send spare equipment to his members.
Georgiy writes: “Our winemakers need equipment to get through this difficult season and be able to make wine. We ask for any equipment that was in previous use and you do not need anymore. We are ready to arrange delivery and distribution among our winemakers. We conducted a survey and compiled a list of the necessary items.”
- Basket press 100-200L
- Mini-filling machine like Enolmatic
- Crusher and destemmer (productivity 500-1,000kg per hour)
- Oak barrels (225L)
- Cork capper – manual or semi-automatic
- Labelling machine
- Wine cooling and filtering machines
- Wine transfer pumps
- Small stainless-steel vats (100-400L)
- Sprayer with 600-800L tank
- Mulcher 1.2-1.5m
- Contour cutter
- Electric secateurs
- Knife for near-stem processing of bushes