Krasnodar, 22 February – Yug Times. The Yug Times has asked big and small wineries to explain the difference in the attitude to winemaking as business activity and as creative work.
Some ten years ago, farmers were granted the right not only to grow grapevine but to make wine. Such small-size winemakers are traditionally referred to as ‘garagistes’, which term describes independent, artisan winemakers handcrafting small batches of wine on their own and not yet discovered by the mainstream. Russian garagistes managed to survive. On the other hand, large historic wineries remain flagships of the industry. Garagistes follow the trend - and even sometimes surpass their big rivals. What is more, the mass thinking is that small wineries pay much more attention to what they produce - starting from application of grapevine training techniques and hand harvesting to strict control over grape juice fermentation in every single tank.
However, some professionals disagree with such notion - like Artem Vasiliev, Château Tamagne Cellar Master. “I believe that the prevailing majority of garagistes lack technological possibilities that, for instance, our winery has,” he explains. “This is why, micro winemaking should not always be considered a synonym of high quality.”
Garagistes, of course, have a different opinion: “Yes, the primary cost of our wine is higher, but due to the fact that we pay more attention to quality and not because of smaller volumes,” Valeri Nesterov, owner of Vinoterria Winery, Anapa, explains. “Let me give you an example: the best wine is made from the grapes harvested in the morning, ideally - before the sunrise. Large facilities cannot harvest a lot in the morning - due to gigantic volumes, lack of manpower, etc.”
Sommelier Irina Ptushko states that “for garagistes - even if they have become popular- it is very difficult to compete with large wineries. Manual harvesting, manual fruit sorting are good things, but the wine becomes expensive.”
At the same time, the situation with garage winemaking is not as dire as it may seem. Irina Ptushko admits that the public has become interested in eno-gastronomic, or wine tourism, signature and ethnic cuisine - which becomes an excellent platform for the development of agritourism. Experts’ opinion let us grounds to believe that all talks about some competition between large and small wineries are just a myth. Both - estate wineries and garagistes - occupy their own niches in the large market that has not been saturated with supply. So all Kuban wineries - industrial giants and dwarf garagistes - have a vast area for further development.
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