Sparkling Wine 1917

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007 at 12:00 am

Presently being referred to as Sparkling 1917, this Sovetskoye Shampanskoye is the first sparkling wine from Belarus that is being distributed in the UK. Sparkling wine produced outside of France can never be called "champagne" due to legal restrictions. According to European Union law, any sparkling wine produced outside the champagne region are not to be called "champagne".

Because of this legal restrictions, the former Soviet Union came out with Sovetskoye Shampanskoye as a generic term that their winemakers can use to refer to locally produced sparkling wines. And after the crash of the Soviet Union, Belarus, Russian and Ukrainian private enterprises purchased the rights to use Sovetskoye Shampanskoye, or literally "Soviet Champagne" as a brand name for their sparkling wine products.

Now, being EU members themselves, the three countries still use the term Sovetskoye Shampanskoye to refer to their local sparkling wines. But with Sparkling 1917, East European "champagnes" are entering a more international scene.

Sparkling 1917 was launched last March in the UK by importer Iron Wolf. Although, the brand is relatively new to the UK market, wine connoisseurs were informed that the sparkling wine is made from Chardonnay and Aligoté grapes from vineyards cultivated in Moldova. The grapes are harvested and transported in Belarus where the actual winemaking process is being completed at Minskaya Zavodvin.

Although, Sparkling 1917 may be new in the UK, the wine is a product of a 500-year-old Russian winemaking tradition. It is a fact that Sparkling 1917 is the first ever sparkling wine to be imported into the UK from the former Soviet Union

Minskaya Zavodvin has been producing sparkling wines since 1979. Their products have achieved considerable success locally and with Sparkling 1917, they aim to capture the British market.

With this in mind the Belarus wine was repackaged to suit the tastes of the UK market. The March launching in London’s Bloomsbury Square was a mere introduction and Iron Wolf as hopeful as ever that the British will welcome the new taste and style at a competitive price.

Sparkling 1917 is being sold at US$19.30 a bottle. Critics have wondered if Iron Wolf can create enough exposure and interests to actually make people buy a bottle of this relatively new wine.