Suffering market looks less attractive, admit Russian writers

by Igor Serdyuk

The circle of Moscow wine writers, known as Moscow Wine Press Club, has just published the Results of the Year 2006 the list of the most important facts and market trends in the wine and spirits industry of Russia. For the first time

in three years of its history, neither Man of the Year nor Company of the Year was mentioned in the list. The wine writers say that the Russian market has simply lost its leaders in 2006, vis-à-vis crisis situation.

On the contrary, the Antihero of the Year was elected unanimously. Russian chief sanitary official Gennady Onischenko has won this nomination for the ban he imposed on the importation and sale of Georgian and Moldovan wine, which eliminated over 50 per cent of the wine market in volume. Onischenko has become notorious for claiming to have found pesticides in Georgian and Moldovan wine, as well as toxic elements in French wine. Wine experts rejected his statements, but he never admitted he was wrong, nor apologized.

The Wine Press Club called the malfunctioning electronic EGAIS system the Problem of the Year . The system designed to monitor production and sales of wine and spirits, collapsed the market in July 2006, stopping almost any legal activity for a few months and making market operators loose hundreds of thousand Euros. Journalists also called the discord among the Russian wine and spirits companies the greatest Disappointment of the year , because of their incapability to form opposition to the authorities arbitrariness.

According to the circle of Russian wine writers, young professionals quitting the wine trade, represent the Danger of the Year . Ambitious and qualified managers are no longer willing to invest their time and talents into the default market. At the same time the suffering image of the wine market is becoming less attractive for the trend-setting consumers, admit the Russian journalists.

However, wine writers expressed some optimism, noticing long-term positive trends. Among them, the increasing popularity of wine bars in Moscow and St. Petersburg, continuing promotional activities by foreign interprofessional wine institutions - the Spanish trade mission in Moscow had the best program in 2006 - and large-scale Russian capital starting to flow into the wine industry. The acquisition of Tenute di Toscana shares by the SPI group was called the deal of the year.

Other nominations by Moscow Wine Press Club:

Bomb of the Year Biodynamic explosion
World Trend of the Year New altitude wines
New Publication of the Year Wine Business International
Record of the Year Case of Mouton Rothschild 1945 sold for $345000
Vintage of the Year Bordeaux 2005

Results of the Year 2006 were discussed by the following writers:

Andrey Grigoriev, publisher for Courier Publishing House,
Alexander Kuptsov, freelance wine writer, professor for a sommelier school
Maria Nosova, freelance wine writer, brand manager for a wine importer
Igor Serdyuk, Magnum magazine, editor-in-chief
Elena Sitnikova, Whisky magazine, editor-in-chief
Eleonora Scholes, consultant for Vinnaya Karta newspaper
Erkin Touzmukhamedov, freelance spirits writer, correspondent for Drinks International
Vladimir Tsapelik, freelance wine writer, chairman for Moscow s Independent Wine Club



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