But Russian wine making experienced a real boom thanks to the tireless work of one man - Prince Lev Golitsyn. It was he who established the first Russian factory of champagne at his Crimean estate of Novy Svet towards the end of the 19th century and it didn't take long until his efforts led to international success: in 1889 the production of this winery won the Gold Medal at the Paris exhibition in the sparkling wines category.
After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the French wine-savvy professionals fled Russia. Luckily, the industry was gradually reestablished in the 1920's. What's more, before the 1917 Revolution wine was drunk in Russia only by the aristocracy but the situation changed under Soviet rule and the wine industry experienced a rebound in the 1940's and 1950's.
The glory days of Russian/Soviet wine came to a grinding halt with Gorbachev's campaign against alcoholism. The fall of the Soviet Union further damaged domestic wine making, as the privatization of land saw many of the area's prime vineyard spaces being utilized for other purposes. But all's well that ends well!
In recent years, Russian wine-making has seen a real renaissance. Old vineyards received substantial investments and underwent impressive renovations, while small boutique wineries are popping up all over Russia's southern regions like mushrooms after the rain.
Apart from world class wines, visitors can also enjoy the scenic landscapes and a beach vacation in Russia’s historic wineries – from the famous Abrau-Dyurso to Crimea’s Zolotaya Balka and Novy Svet.
If heading south is not on the cards for you during this trip to Russia, you can imbibe the nectar of the Gods here in St. Petersburg.