Despite War, Ukrainian Wines Are Finding a Global Audience

Ukraine is one of the world’s historic wine-producing regions, with a history that stretches back thousands of years. It’s also reinventing its wine culture and, despite the ravages of Russia’s invasion in early 2022 and the ongoing war, excellent Ukrainian wines are now showing up in the United States.

It may seem hard to imagine that anybody would care about making wine amid the constant threat of war, much less shipping it halfway around the world. Yet small pleasures like coffee and wine continue to be desirable parts of daily Ukrainian life. Just as valuable is the symbolic cultural importance of wine to Ukrainians, and for the rest of the world.

“It’s a big step to show the world that Ukraine has wine,” Sergiy Klimov, the author of “The Untold Story of Ukrainian Winemaking,” said by phone from Kyiv. “Wine is something that civilized countries have offered, and we have had this for thousands of years. I hope that people will understand that Ukraine has something good to communicate.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by others in the Ukrainian wine industry.

“We would like to stop talking about the war,” Svitlana Tsybak, the chief executive of Beykush Winery, said by phone. “We don’t want to sell our wines because of the war. We would like to sell because they’re individual, unique and interesting.”

Bottles from Beykush Winery at Artania, a wine bar in Kyiv.Credit…Oksana Parafeniuk for The New York Times

Ms. Tsybak is also president of the Ukrainian Association of Winemakers, a trade group. Before the war began, it focused mostly on expanding domestic sales. Then came 2022, and with the war they not only lost sales in key markets like Kharkiv and Odesa, but businesses were directly attacked.

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