Grapes for first 10,000 bottles of wine now being harvested in Altai vineyards.
The Pinot Noir is due to appear in shops next year, and there are hopes that the wine - which has been made with French assistance and know-how - will intrigue connoisseurs as a new arrival. Picture: Nashi Novosti TV company, Barnaul
The picking of the dark Pinot grape this week and its coming processing is the culmination of a dream to give the majestic mountain foothills of southern Siberia its own wine. While dacha gardens have produced grapes for homemade wines since tsarist times, the new development is the start of a full-scale commercial operation to put Altai on the map as a wine region.
The wines are seen as the ideal complement to Altai's well-known cheeses, and the development of the wine-making industry has been encouraged by the region's governor Alexander Karlin.
'One kilo of grape make about 0.75 litre of wine, exactly a whole bottle, and that's why we expect to decant the Altai wines from the barrels into 10,000 bottles in 2014,' disclosed Yuliya Yusupova, of the Altaispirtprom company which is cultivating the vineyards. We are just at the start of tuning up the wine-making process.'
Experimentation in recent years has shown that the Pinot, Chardonnay, Muscat and Muller Thurgau grapes can, with love and devotion, adapt to Siberia's extreme climate. They are are not afraid of early autumn and late winter cold spells, and indeed thrive in the exceptionally fertile Altai soil.
'We'll perform a number of tryouts,' said Ms Yusopova in an intriguing interview with Itar-Tass news agency. 'Last year's batch of the white wine was kept in the barrels for about half a year and we realised that apparently it had lost is flavour and accumulated an oak-like waft. Now we know it and decant the white wine from barrels into bottles much earlier. Though the red wines only gain in quality as they acquire the oak-like hint.'
Experimentation has shown that the Pinot, Chardonnay, Muscat and Muller Thurgau are not afraid of early autumn and late winter cold spells, and indeed thrive in the exceptionally fertile Altai soil. Pictures: Nashi Novosti TV company, Barnaul
The Pinot Noir is due to appear in shops next year, and there are hopes that the wine - which has been made with French assistance and know-how - will intrigue connoisseurs as a new arrival.
'Altai engineers passed a vigneron course in France at the L.E.G.T.A. agricultural school and later were trained at a winery in Franche-Comte,' reported the news agency. 'The company is engaged in the process of official registration of their produce.'
The process began in 2009 with the planting of 600 cuttings of grape from the vineyards of the Franche-Comte' region, supplied by the Guillaume family company. Local expert Vladimir Vagner said the proximity of the Altai Mountains makes the Siberian climate milder and enables the harvest of a good grape crop.
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