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.

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Hope of deliverance for Georgia

Thirty six wine producers from Georgia will enter the Russian wine market – once again. This is the result of a recent inspection of the Russian alcohol regulating body – RosPotrebNadzor – to 41 Georgian wine estates. Among the approved ones – the biggest Georgian players like Tbilvino, Telavi Wine Cellar, Tiflis Wine Cellar, Badagoni and Teliany Valley. Continue reading

Cristal made its way back to Russia

The Cuvee Prestige of Louis Roederer champagne house – Cristal – is officially back on the shelves in Russia – since December 2012. In the beginning of 2012 Louis Roederer lost a case to the major vodka producer in Russia — SoyuzPlodImport (SPI Group), which demanded champagne producers either to pay royalty off Cristal brand usage or leave the Russian market due to the similarities to the major SPI vodka brand – Kristall. SPI lawyers managed to prove in court that the vodka giant had registered its trademark prior to Louis Roederer and that those are too similar and too confusing for the consumers in Russia. Continue reading

Mark-down, Mark-up: Kauffman to save CEDC?

Will wine market pioneer Mark Kauffman save CEDC? It’s all secret now. On the February the 18th a well known vodka and wine baron Mark Kauffman, the former owner of a wine importing company Whitehall and the inventor of the famous Kauffman vodka and many other brands,  signed a confidentiality agreement with a vodka producer CEDC (Central European Distribution Corporation). The secrecy is explained by the ongoing negotiations on the Kauffman’s offer of up to $75m investment of his personal funds to help the Polish company survive and pay its current debts and payments on loans and bonds. Continue reading