My latest in Wine Business Monthly:
Ukrainian Wineries Trade Wine for Weapons
Making Molotov Cocktails (aka “Banderas Smoothies”)
by L.M. Archer
“It is war in Ukraine!” says Victoria Agromakova, CEO of VIA-Group LLC/ Wine and Spirits Ukraine.
Russia invaded their country on February 24, 2022. Quickly, Ukrainian winemakers traded wine for weapons.
“We had to retrain in connection with Russia’s invasion of our land,” says Oksana Buyachok, owner of Fathers Wine, located in western Ukraine. “For now we have already made 2,500 Molotov cocktails, the so-called “Bandera smoothie.” We provide our civil protection office, and all those who need such a protective “wine”.”
Additionally, her winery sews pillows and blankets, fabricates metal hedgehogs and streamers, collects humanitarian aid for refugees, and prepares food for conscripts. “We are doing, and will do everything necessary, to win our country!” says Buyachok.
She isn’t alone. “I know no one now who didn’t take part in the fight against Russia,” confirms Agromakova. “As well, I don’t know anyone who works at [a] winery at the moment, because now in wartime there are completely different needs. Now winemakers are bottling not wine, but gasoline for Molotov Cocktails to protect their land from Russian troops.”
Aside from stalling wine production, the war also strangles beverage imports and exports. “The only goods we are receiving now [are] medicine, military machines, ammunition, and food,” explains Agromakova. “Moreover, the sale of alcohol in Ukraine is now prohibited in all regions at any time. We need a sober mind to protect our freedom!”
Other Ukrainian winemakers assist, too. Svetlana Tsybak, head of the Association of Craft Winemakers, organizes and delivers humanitarian aid to Ukrainian cities hit hardest. In Barcelona, winery owner Eugene Sheyderis of southern Ukraine’s Beykush Winery coordinates humanitarian aid and delivery of goods and medicines to his native country. READ FULL STORY HERE.