June 23, 2022 – We recently wrote about California’s success at the Decanter World Wine Awards in London. Sending wines half way around the world involves some planning and expense but for US wineries it was a piece of cake compared with the extraordinary measures required of a Ukrainian winemaker.
Beykush is a small winery located in the Mykolaiv region of Southern Ukraine in an area that is on Russia’s radar as it houses a strategic naval base. Amid on-going shelling, the winery has recently shipped most of its inventory to western Ukraine in order to supply the export market but they are unable to bottle the wine in the tanks. A nearby bottle producer has been destroyed and purchasing bottles from Spain, as in the past, is no longer possible.
Getting samples to the Decanter World Wine Awards was another huge challenge. They moved six cases over the border to Hungary, one at a time over two weeks. Their friend there was then unable to take them to London but another friend, a Ukrainian living in London stepped in and flew to Hungary with two suitcases, packed up 30 bottles and took them back to London.
They won a gold medal!
Svitlana Tsybak, the Beykush winery CEO and president of the Ukrainian Association of Craft Winemakers said, “I can’t say we were surprised that we won because our wine is really, really good.”
Note: The wines at the DWWA are tasted blind so the judges did not know the producer or country of origin.