Russian wine production declines

Russian wine production declined by 10% in 2016 to 37m decalitres, according to statistics published by the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, which is one of the poorest results for the country’s winemaking in the last several years.

Growth was observed only in the case of Russia’s largest wine producers, such as Massandra (in Crimea), Abrau-Durso and some others. The volume of production posted by smaller Russian winemakers was significantly lower than had been planned.

The results are mainly due to the ongoing consolidation of the Russian wine  industry and the withdrawal of smaller players from the market by larger companies.

Consolidation poses a threat to the further development of the Russian winemaking industry, as the majority of state funds provided to domestic winemaking, are usually distributed among the country’s leading wine producers and holdings, while the volume of state support of smaller producers remains insignificant.  Many producers are also unhappy with the ever growing volume of state support to Crimean wine enterprises.

This year, the production will continue to decline, despite the fact that grape harvest in Russia last year amounted to almost 500,000 tonnes. In 2016, about 6,000 ha of new vineyards were planted, significantly fewer than in recent years, when an average of 3,500 to 3,700 ha per year were planted.

The Russian Ministry of Agriculture plans to expand total vineyard area to 140,000 ha by 2020, to ensure the stable development of Russian winemaking.

Eugene Gerden

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