A socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions, congress, exhibitions, business, social and sporting, public, and cultural events.

The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, sporting, and cultural events. It was established in pursuance of a decision by the President of the Russian Federation.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, and helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

Each year, the Foundation’s events draw participants from 208 countries and territories, with more than 15,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 5000 people working in Russia and abroad. In addition, it works in close cooperation with 160 economic partners; industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions; and financial, trade, and business associations from 75 countries worldwide.

The Roscongress Foundation has Telegram channels in Russian (t.me/Roscongress), English (t.me/RoscongressDirect), and Spanish (t.me/RoscongressEsp). Official website and Information and Analytical System of the Roscongress Foundation: roscongress.org.

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31 May 2019

Russian wine. Can it cost up to 7,000 roubles a bottle?

And why wouldn’t it? In fact, it could cost even more, — says wine expert Igor Serdyuk, with a twinge of irony. — The price is not just an indicator of quality and taste. The price tells you how well the producer has marketed the wine and how prepared the consumer is to pay for it. The price reflects the ambitions of the producer and can sometimes ensure it will be enjoyed by an ambitious customer. This is not just the case for wine.

Take the customer’s view though. They see a bottle of little-known Russian wine at a price 3–4 times higher than French wine. What can they expect for such a high price?

You mean the ‘Phantom’ by Vedernikov? — says Serdyukov’s Double Magnum agency colleague Andrey Grigoryev. — It’s the different proportions of the fashionable Krasnostop and Cabernet Sauvignon. Or is it the Pino Noir by Pavel Shvetz? You see, you can make 300 bottles of good wine on any land and in any weather. How good — is a matter of personal taste. If a producer can sell it for 7,000 roubles, we can only applaud them. And you can certainly feel ripped-off when you buy a 350 euro-bottle of collectable Chambertin and later discover it is still maturing, and instead of a noble velvety flavour, you get a sour taste.

It is easy to pay too much or make a mistake when buying wine made by Russian producers. Andrey Grigoryev shares a helpful tip.

When you’re in a shop, take a good look at the producer’s range. If they make both cheap and expensive wines, this can suggest a fairly high average quality. Every case is different of course, but generally, it is hard to make vinegar with your left hand and good wine with your right. If a producer’s price range is from 400 to 3,000 roubles, then it is likely that the basic 400–500 rouble wine will be fairly good. And this is a fair price for Russian wine. True, it is sometimes more expensive than imported wine, but why should it be cheaper? The prices in winemaking are based on the costs. The only things that are cheaper here compared to Europe are the bottle and the label. Everything else, such as loans, salaries and equipment, is much more expensive. If you see a bottle of Russian wine cheaper than 250 roubles, bear in mind it is probably only part Russian. Even the largest national producers import lots of foreign wine material, mix it with their own and stick Russian labels onto the bottles. This makes their life easier and provides a higher stable income than messing with vines.

The craze over local varieties of grape has led to many wines becoming overpriced, — says Igor Serdyuk.

Take, for instance, Rkatsiteli. It used to be a really popular variety. But now just ferment it in a clay jar called kvevri, say you’ve done it on the label, and you can double the price.

The 1990s were a hard time for winemaking in Russia. Basic principles were forgotten, traditions and knowledge were lost. In the early 2000s, wine-drinking and, later, winemaking started coming back. It is only in the last ten years, however, that winemaking, while still edgy, has turned into a real business. The sector is growing, attracting large capital and large-scale support from the government. And suddenly we are realising that we don’t have a basis for such an important and responsible business sector.

Russian winemaking was founded by true professionals. French oenologist and champagne specialist Victor Dravigny (in a suit in the centre) at the Abrau-Durso estate

The state support for viticulture has prompted many entrepreneurs to buy land for grapevines, and they are now making one mistake after another. A winemaking business should start from a careful study of the land you are planning to work. Finding good soil is a real problem. A big issue in Russian viticulture is variation in soil. In some cases, you have one fertile type of soil in one place, but 50 metres from there the fertile topsoil is only half a metre deep with hard rock beneath it. And even if you manage to stick a vine in there, it won’t last long... Why do you think the French wine from the neighbouring vineyards is so expensive? — explains Igor Serdyuk.

Another problem is incorrect choice of seedings, varieties and clones, and incorrect combining of rootstock and scion. One blunder and the vines begin to lose moisture, unable to adjust to the temperature, and the ripening period you were expecting suddenly shifts. This affects the entire design of your winery. Imagine you have Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. And only one fermentation tank. The Pinot Noir you harvested earlier is not ready, and now the Cabernet is on its way. You are forced to speed up the winemaking process, which compromises the quality, and buy more fermentation tanks for the future. There are no quick rewards in winemaking. This is dictated by the vines, which cannot be considered productive for 3 years after they are planted. The principle of winemaking is: if you forgot something, it is cheaper to wait till next time.

As for wines that are worth the money, — Igor continues. — consumers who are not very discerning about the product should consider traditional varieties that make stable and good quality wine. These are Cabernet, Merlot and Pinot Noir for red wines and Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Riesling for white. Whatever the trend, these are nice, quality wines..

Renault and Marina Burnier have revived the Krasnostop grape variety, which is so popular in Russia today

The producer makes a difference, of course. Russian viticulture has already produced several respectable brands. In Crimea, these are Kacha Valley, Oleg Repin, Alma Valley, Yayla, Pavel Shvetz, Perovsky Winery and Belbek. Some producers have mass market ranges too, besides boutique wines. The prices of rare wines remain at 4,000–5,000 roubles a bottle. These wines are indeed very interesting culturally and are great for tourism, but more often than not you will find yourself paying for the opportunity to tell your friends what you have tried, rather than paying for a truly good wine. These wines can successfully exploit consumer curiosity, but they are very far from being truly well-known and popular.

In short, don’t expect to enjoy a wine just because it’s expensive. A cheap one, on the other hand, can be a pleasant surprise.

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