The family of Senator Valery Ponomarev, co-owner of the Okeanrybflot holding, is increasing investments in winemaking. The company controlled by it plans to launch the production of sparkling wines in the Yeisk district of the Krasnodar Territory at an enterprise with a capacity of 5 million bottles per year with vineyards on 300–500 hectares. A niche for Russian sparkling wines will be freed up in the category up to 1.5 thousand rubles. per bottle due to rising import prices, but developing a new brand takes time, experts say.
Azov Sparkling LLC, 70% of which belongs to Ekaterina Ponomareva, considered the wife of Senator Valery Ponomarev, is planning a winemaking project in the Yeisk district of the Krasnodar Territory. In February 2024, this company won the auction for the sale of a grape processing complex as part of the bankruptcy of Priazovsky Wine House LLC. The lot with plots of approximately 10 hectares, real estate and equipment was valued by the winner at 37.6 million rubles.
Ivan Solovyov, who owns 25% of Azov Sparkling Wines through Hermes LLC, clarified to Kommersant that it is planned to build a winery on the plots with a capacity of 5 million bottles of sparkling wines per year. The project also provides for the cultivation of grapes on 300-500 hectares of land in the area, he added. Ivan Soloviev did not disclose the volume of investments. It was not possible to contact Ekaterina Ponomareva. The Okeanrybflot holding, of which Mr. Ponomarev is considered a co-owner, did not promptly respond to Kommersant.
For Ekaterina Ponomareva, this may be the second winemaking project in the Krasnodar region. In February 2023, she received a stake in the Ordo company, which plans to plant vineyards on more than 170 hectares in the Crimean region and build a winery with a capacity of 1.5–2 million bottles per year (see Kommersant dated February 27, 2023).
Head of the Crimean farm “Gerasimova O.S.” Olga Gerasimova estimates the cost of preparing land, planting and growing grapes on 500 hectares over ten years at approximately 2 billion rubles. The investor can receive part of the funds in the form of subsidies, she adds. The head of WineRetail, Alexander Stavtsev, says that in the Yeisk region, unlike the more southern regions of the Krasnodar Territory, there remains an array of free land suitable for vineyards, which should also cost less than near Anapa, Novorossiysk, and Taman. Here, plots for vineyards can be valued at approximately 1 million rubles. for 1 hectare, he points out. And the project further north, in the Rostov region, is already associated with higher climate risks, the expert adds.
According to Rosalkogoltabakcontrol, in 2023, the production of sparkling wines in Russia decreased by 12.7% year-on-year, to 14.1 million decaliters. Retail sales of such wines increased by 8.2%, to 21.66 million decaliters. Imports of sparkling wines excluding champagne, according to data from market participants, increased by 5% in 2023, to 8.9 million decaliters, of which more than 70% of supplies came from Italy. Large producers of sparkling wines, GC Abrau-Durso and Kuban-Vino, did not provide comments.
The head of the Wine Guide of Russia, Olesya Bunyaeva, predicts that this year the production volume of sparkling wines in Russia will exceed 16 million decaliters. As the expert notes, the number of sparkling wine items in Russia over the past two years has grown by more than 10%, to 1.02 thousand items. Alexander Stavtsev notes that the growth rate of sparkling wine consumption in Russia exceeds the dynamics of demand for still wines and the development potential of the category remains. Today, sparkling wines account for about 40% of sales on the Russian market, and in the future their share may increase to 50%, the expert believes. Luding Group intends to launch its own brand of sparkling wines, the company told Kommersant. MPBK Ochakovo can enter the category with the brands Zoomba Brut and Zoomba Semi Sweet, Shopper’s reported.
Fort executive director Alexander Lipilin points out that a niche for Russian sparkling wines is gradually opening up in the price category of up to 1–1.5 thousand rubles. per bottle due to increased duties on imported wines from unfriendly countries. According to him, a volume of 5 million bottles annually is the level of a large manufacturer, although the figures for players such as Abrau-Durso are significantly higher. In 2022, the group sold over 52 million bottles of its own alcohol and soft drinks. Mr. Lipilin points out that for successful sales you also need to build a brand and invest in promotion, which takes time.