A wine culture existed in today's Ukraine already in the 4th century BC at the south coast of the Crimea. Presses and amphoras were found from this period. Wine cultivation in the northern part of the country (around Kiev and Chernihiv) however only started in the 11th century by monks.
Under Catherine II (1729–1796) in 1783 the Crimea became a part of the Russian Empire. Count Mikhail Vorontsov planted the first wine gardens in 1820 and established a large winery near Yalta. The viticulture research institute Magarach was founded then in 1828. The founder of the famous sparkling wines is prince Lev Golitsyn, who for the first time manufactured Russian “Champagner” after the Crimean War (1854 to 1856) on his property Novyi Svet near Yalta. Later, under the last Tzar Nicholas II (1868–1918) the predecessor of Massandra, today's state winery, was founded. During Soviet times Ukraine with 2,500 km2 (965 sq mi) was the largest supplier of the wines in the USSR. It came to a disaster in 1986: about 800 km2 (309 sq mi) of the vineyards were destroyed, when Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev started a campaign against the over consumption of alcohol in USSR. Since 2000 the production as well as the export of the wines increased rapidly.
Main vine-growing regions
- Crimea, Balaklava, Massandra
- Carpathian Ruthenia
- Southern Ukraine: Mykolaiv, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk, and Odessa Oblasts
Production of sparkling wine like Sovetskoye Shampanskoye ('Soviet Champagne') is increasing. Most of the sparkling wine is produced around large cities like Kiev, Bakhmut, Lviv, Odessa and Kharkiv. Most of the production is based on Pinot blanc, Aligoté, Riesling and Feteasca.
- Magarach Wine Institute near Yalta with possibility to sample some of their 20,000 different wines derived from 3,200 vine species.
- Winery Massandra.
Specialised trade fairs
- High Degree - International Specialised Exhibition of Strong Alcoholic drinks
- Wine & Winemaking Specialised Exhibition for Wine, Winemaking and Wine growing
Modern Wine Producers
- Konstantin Frank, a notable Ukrainian-American viticulturist and winemaker, who was responsible for developing the thriving viticulture and wine industry of New York State, using his experience of growing the European Vitis vinifera varietals in the colder climate of Ukraine.
- John Worontshak