For many years Pavel Shvets used to work as sommelier and caterer in the capital and then moved to the Crimea. There he planted vineyards and started producing biodynamic wine beverage, that has the minimum mechanical and chemical influence in the production process , and allows keep all that nature put. Now his wines are served in the best locations of St. Petersburg and Moscow. Shvets become known for his active work in the wine industry, he is lobbying the passage of the law for weak control of production of wine in Russia.
What stops the development of Russian winemaking after the joining of Crimea and what are wrong the authorities of Sevastopol, what the Russians will drink in five years and why the big players are stifling the market? Pavel Shvets told to “Bumaga” about the situation with wine now, and what we have to expect.
Pavel Shvets, Winemaker
THE HORIZONS OF RUSSIAN WINE
In fact the refocusing to home products is created artificially. This, of course, gives impulse to the development of farming and agriculture in Russia. Is good, but the first results we will see only in ten years. I opened the vineyard in 2006 and the first bottle was made in 2013. Another point: if Russian drank a bottle of wine for a thousand rubles, he will continue to drink wine for a thousand rubles. Earlier it was one level of quality and cost for example five euros in Europe, now this wine for a thousand rubles cost two and a half euros. It became twofold worse. In this situation the Russian wine is better in the quality meets the price. But we are talking only about wine made from Russian grapes.
The Germans drink german wine, the Italians — italian, the French — French, and in Russia drink import wine because don’t have own good quality
The fashion for names, styles and country is fleeting. 20 years that people in Russia drink wine, come fashion for French, Italian, Spanish wine and wine produced in countries of the New World. However, explosion was quick. Anyway the Germans drink german wine, the Italians — italian, the French — French, and in Russia drink import wine because don’t have own good quality
As soon as this good will appear, percent of it will increase, and slowly it will replace European wines. This is a normal process. For evolving of wine industry we have to create conditions. The system of control of the industry of viticulture and winemaking has to be simplified at the state level.
WHAT STOPS THE DEVELOPMENT OF HOME WINEMAKING
In Ukraine the industry was regulated by another rules. There was a law about wine and was no system of excise label. A week after referendum was conducted here came representatives from Federal service for regulation of alcohol market. They told about a difficult situation and that their interest for the good working industry. Ukrainian licenses were changed to Russian for the same term, but we were told to lead the enterprises in compliance with Russian standards.
Reading of the Russian rules, made our hair stand on end. The regulation in Russia is much more complicated and is excessive for winemakers that make wine from own grapes. From fifteen workers five attend with reports. Every step right, step left can deprive license and removal of the main technological equipment.
In December 2014 laws weaking regulation of the industry were supposed to passage. It was necessary to adopt a number of bylaws. They have not been adopted yet and the indulgence is still up in the air. Federal service for regulation of alcohol market has own vision. This position is clear: officials does not want a money passed by the cash register. They’re right.
The branch is multipolar and the Ministry of agriculture and the Federal service for regulation of alcohol market try to please everyone. Instead of this they keep everything as it is
The wine community has no consolidated opinion. There are winemakers who make wine from own grapes and they have one needs, and those who are used to work with third-party wine base want to preserve the current situation. The branch is multipolar and the Ministry of agriculture and the Federal service for regulation of alcohol market try to please everyone. The situation unfortunately is so that it’s better to leave everything as it is.
The Prime-Minister Dmitry Medvedev and government members came to visit our vineyard. We spoke in detail with the Minister of agriculture. They understand that if they do as it would be right many large companies that work with third-party wine base will not like this. But if the surgeons father has gangrene is necessary to amputate the limb regardless of the relationship.
Thinking about development we have take steps that not everyone will like. Unfortunately the big players are high-powered and well received in all experts group at the Ministry of agriculture, Federal service for regulation of alcohol market and Parliament. Any competent initiatives not profitable for them stops short even when are just suggestions. For an year and a half I’m tired of fighting – I’ve made enemies in own region and at the Federal level. I think it becomes dangerous to get out reasonable ideas so fervent.
For another thing to go further, it is necessary put to rights trademarks. If you produce something from someone else’s material then write “the monk’s mumbling,” “the wicked’s dream”… But don’t write “Crimea” or “Kuban”. It misinforms the consumers and damage producers who make wine from grapes grown in that region.
The regional authorities, for example in Sevastopol, are not ready to accept investors. 50 investors are standing in a queue with money. They are ready to invest their money in Sevastopol and viticulture, and none of them was given land for rent. But we have to make all conditions so that investor remained. But the government of Sevastopol little knows, they don’t understand what an investment is.
HOW THE SANCTIONS REDOUND UPON THE BRANCH
As businessman I see in duties on imported wine has its pros and cons. They help us to sell our products more expensive. We get good price-quality trade-off compared to European wines and we are very happy. But this is going forward.
The global experience shows if winemakers have a strong patronage within the region or country they will have no incentive for producing high-quality products. Is known that wine-makers from the South of France were not interested to produce a quality product because the tourists anyway came and drank. We have the same thing. The producer should be forced to make a quality wine. It must be not just ambitious will of a particular producer, he should be forced to improve the technology and to make wine of higher quality to survive in competition not only domestically but also abroad.
I’m not thrilled with the long-term prospects. But wine-making is a branch that makes you think for many years to come. For me a long-term prospect is more important than fact that today we can earn more.