Ukraine is not one of those countries which immediately springs to mind when you think about wine production. Instead, Ukraine is one of those wine countries which should be thought of as a “hidden gem”. Your expectations are almost certain to be exceeded.
A brief history:
Ukraine has a large territory with a diverse climate and cultural environment. For many parts of the country, wine is not a traditional component of its culture. But the history of wine production in Southern Bessarabia or Transcarpathia, for example, have a history that goes back more than a century.
Where to look for grapes:
It seems that while all traditional wine-growing countries suffer from global climate change, Ukraine has received a big bonus. Today, vineyards can be found not only in the southern regions of the country – Odesa, Crimea, Mykolayiv or Kherson – but a number of experimental plantations successfully exist in the northern regions – in Chernihiv, Lviv, Kyiv and Ternopil.
Many international grape varieties are grown in Ukraine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Riesling. However, some decent local varieties are winners not just in their local markets, but also with international connoisseurs. A number of these should be looked out for.
Telti Kuruk is a white grape variety that results in extremely potent wines with the aroma of white flowers and refreshing acidity.
Odesa Black (a.k.a. Aliberne) is also called “mustang” among red varieties. Owing to its rich color and riot of spices, wines from this variety have been repeatedly named “the future identity of Ukraine”.
Sukholimansky is a white grape variety that results in refined aromatic wines, perfect for every day drinking.
Ukrainian wines in the world:
Although the share of wine exports from Ukraine is not yet very large, you can find Ukrainian wines all over the world. Ukrainian wines are not only starting to win new foreign markets and people’s hearts, but they are also now being recognized by the world’s leading wine experts.
For example, Cabernet Grand Reserve from the Shabo winery worthily represents Ukraine in the legendary museum in Bordeaux La Cité du Vin, and in the Michelin-starred restaurant Hide in London where you can complement your fine dining experience with Kara Kermen wine from the Beykush winery.
Even the most discerning wine tourist will find something new and extraordinary in Ukraine.
Do not miss the opportunity to visit the incomparable Wine Culture Center Shabo as there is almost nothing else like it in the world. Enjoy history in the museum of the winemaker Chizay at Chateau Chizay winery in Transcarpathia. Feel the atmosphere of family traditions at the Colonist winery in Southern Bessarabia. Try Ukrainian wine with Georgian soul from Gigineishvili Wine House in the Vinnytsia region. Visit the Biologist winery and get surprised by the presence of vineyards in such close proximity from Kyiv. Make a trip to the south of Ukraine and visit Koblevo winery with a variety of wines and their own vineyards near the Black Sea. Just open the map and start plotting your own unique wine tasting journey.
Where to taste Ukrainian wine:
Today more and more Ukrainian sommeliers add local wine varieties to their collections. As a result, it’s easy to enjoy Ukrainian wine in a large number of venues.
‘Like a Local’s’ wine bars in Kyiv are the largest local wine promoters in the country. In these bars you will always find the best that Ukrainian winemaking has to offer. There is a rich selection of wines from small family farms as well as many unique exclusive items that are hard to find anywhere else.
Bernardazzi in Odesa – this restaurant has repeatedly received national restaurant awards. Here you can find wines from almost all over the world, as well as some of the most interesting wines that Ukraine has to offer.
Vinsanto Wine Bar – thanks to the painstaking work of a local sommelier, you will always find a great selection of local wines, usually served by the glass.
Park Art of Rest is a place in Lviv which is located off the beaten tourist track, but is worth seeking out as it will definitely surprise you with its atmosphere, quality of cuisine and very decent selection of Ukrainian wines.
Win Bar in Kyiv – the best wine bar in Ukraine according to the National Restaurant Award Salt. Traditionally, it hospitably welcomes tourists from all over the world, showing them not only a great selection of the world’s wines, but also local exclusives.