First Ukrainian wines under Bolgrad brand welcomed onto UK shores
The ink has dried on a landmark deal for Kingsland Drinks to import and distribute Bolgrad wine from Ukraine into the UK drinks market.
From August 2023, six premium wines from Ukraine will be available to UK supermarkets, retailers and independent wine merchants via the Irlam-based importer and distributor. The Bolgrad range is varietal led with a Pinot Grigio, a Chardonnay (with 15% Aligoté) and a Chardonnay Sukholimansky (an indigenous relative of Muscat) in white wines, along with a Pinot Noir rosé. And in red wines, the brand offers a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Saperavi (native of Georgia).
A project wine Odesa Black (Alicante Bouschet and Cabernet Sauvignon crossing) will join the range later in the year.
The wines will be priced around £10 RRP and are presented in an iconic bottle shape with branding featuring an elegant vine trellis growing from the letter B intertwined with a fine yellow and blue thread – all designed in Ukraine.
Against the odds, Kingsland Drinks and Bolgrad have succeeded in harvesting, producing, bottling and finding logistical solutions to import the wines, bringing these specially selected six premium variants from the Odesa region to the UK market. Bolgrad is the leading brands for still wines in Ukraine and Odesa is one of the emerging territories in Eastern Europe, an area known for its unique terroirs, diverse range of grapes and growing conditions, microclimates and high quality wines.
Kathryn Glass, buying manager at Kingsland Drinks says: “This has been a huge endeavour for all parties involved against the backdrop of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia. We’re incredibly proud to play our part in bringing these wines to the UK. All six wines are distinctive, elegant, of a high quality, and really show the breadth of wines available from Ukraine. Bolgrad wine is a well-known favourite in Ukraine, and is the number one brand for still wines, so we know British audiences will welcome it with open arms and will be astounded by the high quality of both the native and international varietals.
“Our business relationship with Bolgrad is based on mutual respect and appreciation and we were impressed with the quality and calibre of the wines being produced, so we’re confident British drinkers will buy the products primarily because they enjoy the wines. They’re brilliantly unexpected, because of their origin, but we know the taste profiles and styles of the wines will match consumer preferences, and we’re confident they will perform well when compared to internationally produced wines already available in the UK.
“We have forged a special bond with Ukraine here in the UK, and British interest in Ukrainian produce and culture has developed out of these turbulent times. We know the UK public will want to show their support for the range, and indeed the Ukrainian people, and we’re truly excited about the potential of Bolgrad in the UK.”
The deal was brokered with Alcoline, distributor of Bolgrad wines and one of the largest drinks producers in Ukraine.
Vitaly Shmulevich, СEO at Alcoline, adds: “Bolgrad is a brand that has gained consumers not only the Ukrainian market, but also in the European Union, Central Asia, Japan and China. Entering the UK market is a significant step for us, and we are delighted to have forged a strong partnership with Kingsland Drinks. It is always very important for us that the values of our partners’ businesses match our own so we know it will result in a mutually beneficial result for both sides. As Ukrainian wines makes their mark in the UK, we’re keen to inspire confidence in the premium quality of our products, owing to over 50 years of experience in wine production, and we’re excited for Bolgrad to be many people’s first experience of Ukrainian wine.”
The Southern Ukrainian region has a favourable climate for wine growing, with hot summers and low rainfall. Bolgrad’s vineyards are densely planted on fertile, non-irrigated soils and the yields are strictly controlled at five tons per hectare. This distinctive terroir benefits from two airmasses – the salinity from the Black Sea and freshness from the Yalpug – Ukraine’s largest natural freshwater lake.