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Russia looks to China for wine imports amid Western sanctions by NATALIE WANG15/05/2022  

As Western sanctions start to bite Russian economy, it looks like Russia might be swapping fine Bordeaux and Barolos with wines made from China, India and Turkey.

Two of Russia’s leading wine and spirits companies, Ladoga and Luding, are reportedly pivoting to “a pool of friendly countries” including China, India, Turkey and Brazil to replace Old World wines as Europe introduces a wide range of sanctions on Russia in response to Ukraine invasion.

Dmitry Isachenkov, Development Director of Ladoga, Russia’s leading wine and spirits producer and importer, told local news Izvestia that the company is actively searching for new partners in China, India and Brazil.

“The vast majority of current foreign suppliers are ready to continue shipments and want to continue working with Russia,” he was quoted as saying. However, with logistics challenges, Ladoga does not yet know when the sale of wine from China and India will begin in Russia.

Sanctions on Russia may cause Russia GDP to shrink by 12%, according to Bloomberg (pic: iStock)

Another drinks company trying to find replacements for European and American wines is Luding group. According to the company’s marketing director Andrey Ushakov, it is in negotiation with wine producers from China and Turkey.

Since Russia launched invasion into Ukraine in February, US, EU and their allies have imposed a wide range of sanctions targeting Russian banks, businesses and individuals.

This promoted suspension of essential trade between Russia and major EU and US companies. For wine, that means traditional wine producing countries such as France, Italy, Spain and Germany won’t be sending their bottles to Russian market anytime soon, as long as the sanctions are in place.

In response, many of Russia’s principal wine importers and distributors, are swiftly switching suppliers to find new sources of wine.

According to a HKTDC report, Russia’s wine and spirits companies including Fort, Ladoga, Luding and Simple are looking to Chile, Argentina and South Africa and other countries that have yet to sign up to any sanctions agreement. 

However, there’s still a big question mark if Chinese or Indian wine imports can fill up the void left by EU wine countries.

Traditionally, Italian, French and Spanish wines accounted for around 60% of Russia’s total wine imports by value.