After our last article on wine and China, we move to Russia to meet Anton Moiseenko, journalist and wine communicator based in Moscow, Russia. He has investigating the Russian wine market for years, writing for newspaper headlines like Meininger’s Wine Business International, Harpers Wine and Spirit, The Drinks Business, Il Corriere Vinicolo and other trade journals. He is also involved in designing wine communications strategies for traders and Italian Consortiums, such as Prosecco DOC and Il Soave. His website By-The-Glass.ru targets trading professionals and sommeliers in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and more in general Russian-speaking people. He runs the Exposure Wine PR and he is always willing to interact through his LinkedIn profile.
How is Italian wine perceived in Russia? Do you drink more white or red wines? Or sparkling wines?
“For many years Italian wines have ruled the Russian wine market. Russians love Italian lifestyle, fashion, cuisine, and Italy is wondered destination for Russian tourists, especially during pre-COVID times. As in any other country, people drink all sort of wines – white, red, sparkling, fortified, etc.
There are not many data available on the variety of wine consumed in Russia, but red wines seems to be the most wanted by Russians (off-trade). White wines and red wines are equally sold in restaurants. Russians are progressively appreciating rose wines, which are perceived as summer drinks.
Sparkling wines are popular among Russian, who mainly look for cheap fizz and among wealthy people (1% of population) Champagne is the most purchased bubble. Prosecco is the most popular Italian wine in Russia mainly found in the retail chains and restaurants. Franciacorta has never appealed to Russians due to the more solid market position of Champagne and Cava”.
Which types of wine and range of origin surprised you the most when you got to know Italian wines?
“Each wine producing Italian region has specific features and characteristics, as well amazing producers. Vast regions, such as Chianti Classico, disclose many fascinating details and characteristics, as well artisanal wineries not used to wide audiences. The amazing area of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene is populated by many valuable producers deserving more fame than the one they currently have.
Alto Adige preserve an impressive range of styles and varieties as well as Piedmont does.
For many progressive Moscow sommeliers as well for myself, Italian wine is about discovering non-commercial authentic winemakers. The ones who put wine quality and drinkability on top of their priorities when crafting a bottle and do not surrender to “market pressure”.
We look for personality, inspiration and fun, rather ratings and DOC names”.
What would you suggest to Italian Wineries craving to approach Russian market?
“I would suggest working with Russian market insiders. I would not recommend sending endless emails to people you do not know! Find the way to place yourself and your winery in it and carefully plan your market strategy. Your plan should include online presence in Russian language as well as tastings and incomings of Russian professionals. Russia is a great market for those who are concretely interested in it and are committed to achieve their plans”.
Which was your way to relax during the pandemic? What do you like to do when you are not working?
“My way to relax has always been traveling to other countries and I look forward doing it again (Italy, of course!). Despite COVID, this year has been so far very intense workwise. Everybody wants to be online, and it is the right thing to do. In fact, my work together with good wines have been the best way to relax for me during times of uncertainty and lockdowns”.