Bitter cold may destroy 50 percent of Russia’s vineyards

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Moscow : Russia may lose from 20 to 50 percent of its vineyard harvest this year because of bitter cold as temperatures have dipped to below minus 20 degrees Celsius, Vedomosti business daily reported Monday quoting winemakers.

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Andrei Kulko, general director of the South Wine Company, a subsidiary of Ochakovo brewery group, which owns 1,000 hectares of vineyards on the Taman peninsula in Russia’s south, told the paper that severe cold might not only destroy part of the 2012 harvest but also damage the vineyards themselves.

Yelena Denisova, board chairman of Russian-French joint venture Chateau Le Grand Vostock, which has 200 hectares of vineyards near the southern town of Anapa, told Vedomosti that grapevines might be seriously damaged by the combination of severe freezing and high humidity and hoped that would not happen.

Alcohol market analyst Vadim Drobiz believes a poor harvest could lead to more production of fake wine and wine imports.

Fanagoria wine producer official Vladimir Pukish said that the company, which operates 1,600 hectares of vineyards on the Taman Peninsula, was likely to sell more seasoned wine at higher prices this year to compensate for possible losses.