While most media coverage of Ukraine has inevitably been on its struggle against the Russian invasion, one Ukrainian publisher has contrived to create something that may have a lasting impact on the global wine industry.
The first Wine Travel Awards which were launched in 2021 by the dynamic Ukrainian publisher Communication Media Group Drinks+ before the invasion and with sponsors including the Consortium Asti DOCG and Dr. Ricardo F. Nunez, owner of Vinos de La Luz vineyards, seeks to recognise and reward a wide range of businesses and individuals for their efforts in wine tourism.
Consumers Votes and Expert Jury
The awards which were announced at the London Wine Fair brought together shortlists created by votes from thousands of consumers with final judgments by an international panel of judges including Meininger’s editor at large, Robert Joseph and former Meininger’s editor Felicity Carter. Olga Pinevich-Todoriuk, editor-in-chief of Drinks+ magazine and global community manager of Wine Travel Awards, was unable to attend the London event but she and her team arranged the event, as well as a tasting that gave the invited guests the opportunity to have their first taste of wines from Ukraine and Moldova.
Travel awards went to wine companies across the world, but inevitably, given the location of the organisers, Eastern European featured more prominently than in other previous competitions of this kind. Carter welcomed this, saying that the combination of the attention these regions will now attract could be a “game changer” for them. As a regular visitor to Georgia, where she judges at the annual national wine competition, she said that the wine tourism efforts there and in their neighbouring countries deserve far more recognition.
Joseph, who published a well-received Wine Travel Guide 15 years ago noted how far wine tourism had progressed internationally since then. He also congratulated Drinks+ for the way they are promoting their awards and their winners online and at events including ProWein, the London Wine Fair and Bordeaux Wine Week. "If, as the organisers claim, 500,000 people have seen these results, that would be a remarkable achievement for ant publishing platform, let alone one that is operating in a war zone", he said.
1. The Visiting Card of the Country
- Must visit – Château Mukhrani (Georgia)
- Brand – the visiting card of the country – Vinaria Purcari (Moldova)
- Progressive approach – Frank John winery (Germany)
- Authentic location – Villa dei Misteri: the wine of Ancient Pompeii (Italy)
- Objet d’Art – Museo d’Impresa Mastroberardino Atripalda (Italy)
2. Education in Enotourism
- Unique program – “Master Class”, the first sommelier school in Ukraine (Ukraine)
- Cultural mission –GuideMASTER Wine Tour Guide Program (Armenia)
3. Enogastronomic Events
- Magnet of the region – The Shumi Winery (Georgia)
- Effective event – London Wine Fair (UK)
- Event of the year – Yerevan Wine Days (Armenia)
- Ambassador of the year – Wine Paths (France)
- Creative strategy – Vinuri de Comrat (Moldova)
5. Wine & Food Influencer
- Author of the year – Alder Yarrow (USA)
- Research of the year – Wine consumption study (Armenia)
- Expert opinion – Alder Yarrow (USA)
- The brightest journey – AdVINEtures (Canada)
6. Wine Guide
- Guide of the year – Vini Armenian Wine Guide (Armenia)
- Unique route – Tanisha Townsend (France)
- Educational tour of the year – WineStatistics (Romania)