The Russian wine bid

Welcoming me in a luxury-furnitured room painted with Damien Hirst butterflies all around, the head of Sotheby’s auction house’ wine department Serena Sutcliffe MW is elegantly dressed in black. There is not less of a girl in her than one could expect at her age – just the opposite. Yet, some of her business partners would probably say she is a wolf in a sheep’s clothing.

Continue reading

Why Moscow is not Hong-Kong

There are things we miss in Russia. Some of them are wine-related. Fair wine prices and a broad selection are just two of them. Looking at the astonishing rise of Hong-Kong as a world wine hub and culture, I say: folks, Moscow could become the wine center of the country and the whole CIS region, driving wine culture into the vast areas where wine has never been heard of. “Bring vodka down onto its knees” sort of thing. Continue reading

Russian wine writers: who are they?

I am not afraid of furious remarks from well-known Russian wine writers. I admit I’m unwell myself. In my dreams I am an editor of Decanter and, sometimes, The World of Fine Wine – a pronounced psychical disability. But maybe I am not alone. There are a bunch of us, Russians, writing about wines. But this doesn’t make me happy at all, I am mostly not proud of my colleagues.

Continue reading

American wines: gambling on Russians

There is no easy way to say it. Wine market in Russia is subject to serious diseases – with subsequent choking and loss of conscience. It’s violent, it’s turbulent. It’s bureaucratic and irrational most times. Ah, yes – it’s corrupt, too. Wine is widely and openly treated as a serious problem by the Russian authorities. Wine is a political instrument for the relations with the former USSR-bloc countries. There are banning taxes and even greater margins in the major networks and wine shops. You would probably ask – why would any sane US winery be willing to be here? Obviously – there are reasons.

Continue reading