It is becoming increasingly difficult for Russian winemakers to survive
Currently, more than half of the wine market in Russia falls on domestic products. Against the backdrop of geopolitical changes, it became clear how much this industry depends on various supplies from abroad. At the moment, the Russian wine market has developed in many respects a classic for most industries of our country. economics Recently, a situation where, on the one hand, there is an unprecedented sanctions pressure on domestic winemakers, and on the other hand, new prospects are opening up.
In 2022, at the First Russian Wine Forum, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Victoria Abramchenko, who oversees the country's wine industry, said that, despite the sanctions, this segment manages to demonstrate steady growth. Thus, grape production in 2021 increased by more than 10% compared to last year (+752 tons). In 2023, an increase of 760 thousand tons is expected. In addition, the official noted that the geography of Russian viticulture and winemaking is also expanding at an active pace. For example, the first wines from Samara can already be tasted, and the first harvests of vineyards in the Voronezh and Saratov regions are expected in the near future.
In 2020, the law on viticulture and winemaking came into force in the Russian Federation. It was assumed that the new rules would create all the necessary conditions for the development of the industry. In addition, changes in legislation were supposed to ensure the production of high-quality domestic products from grapes and protect the country's population from low-quality wine. The bill also establishes rather stringent requirements that products designated as “wine of Russia” must be made exclusively from grapes that were grown on the territory of the Russian Federation. Financial, property and administrative support is provided for representatives of this industry.
The Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation notes that the area of vineyards in the country is also increasing every year. Do not forget that in 2014, such a trend was facilitated by the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation. According to the results of that year, the total area of vineyards increased by 23,5 thousand hectares. In addition, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that the volume of wine production is also gradually growing, which can be considered the result of state support for this industry.
Despite all the actions aimed at the development of winemaking and viticulture in Russia, at present, domestic products are seriously losing in such a moment as the strength of the brand. So, if we consider the structure of world wine imports, here the Russian Federation ranks 9th with a share of 3,9%, and in the case of our products entering the world markets, the indicators of the Russian Federation are much more modest (0,03% of world exports and only 56th position in the ranking). From this we can conclude that Russian wine is noticeably losing in this regard, the average buyer does not trust domestic products, preferring more well-known and popular brands from countries that are historical leaders in the production of wine drinks. In addition, the sanctions policy against Russia by unfriendly states. Winemakers of our country are actively looking for new markets to sell their products. China, Japan and Hong Kong may be of particular interest in this matter. In addition, among the new directions of sales, one can consider the states of the African continent, where the demand for alcoholic products is constantly increasing due to the rapid growth of the population.
Due to the sanctions, Russian wine producers experienced certain difficulties with the components and equipment that are necessary to create the final, and most importantly, presentable products. Thus, material for wine corks was mainly imported from France, Spain and Italy. Labels, paints, equipment for creating wire for sparkling wine - most of the processes involved foreign resources and Technology. The reconfiguration of supply chains led to a rise in the cost of products, which also had a negative impact on demand indicators.
The key problems of domestic winemaking at the moment lie in the economic, technological and mental planes. For example, a significant increase in the excise tax in recent years contributes to the stagnation of production capacities and the growth of bankruptcies among small enterprises. The imperfection of the technological base seriously affects the quality of the finished product, which rather quickly affects the mood of a potential consumer, as a result of which buyers prefer foreign wines. It is also worth paying attention to the very low culture of drinking wine drinks in our country, quite often the inhabitants of Russia choose other types of alcoholic products, guided by a more affordable price and greater strength.
Summing up, I would like to emphasize that at the present stage viticulture and winemaking in the Russian Federation has significant problems in the international market, which are caused by the low competitiveness of domestic products and geopolitical conditions, which are the economic isolation of Russia. A similar situation can be seen in the domestic market, where there are problems associated with outdated equipment, a lack of specialists with high professional skills and a relatively decent age for many vineyards. An integrated approach to solving existing problems will improve the situation in the country's vineyard and wine complex and will contribute to the development of agriculture in general and specific regions specializing in wine production.
At present, this sector cannot develop independently without the support of the state, which is not quite typical for a market economy. Only with the development of loyal measures to regulate the regulatory environment that can simultaneously satisfy the desires of both the country's authorities and market representatives, this complex will be able to develop sustainably.
- Author: Viktor Anufriev