Oregon Wine Board and Washington State Wine Commission, along with the Agricultural Trade Commission in Moscow, will be hosting a trade tasting at the U.S. Ambassador Residence in Moscow, Russia on March 19, 2020. All Oregon wineries are eligible to participate whether or not they have representation in the market.
Details on the wine market in Russia, U.S.-Russia trade missions, and critical details and links about obtaining a required entry visa can be found below.
There is no cost to participate, but wineries must pay for their own travel costs and supply wine.
Wine in the Russian market
90 years ago, Winston Churchill famously said “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.” Defining what exactly is Russia’s “national interest” is a challenge, but one thing that can be said for sure is that wine is an important element. Yes, the land of vodka also LOVES wine. Younger generations of Russians are perhaps more likely to be seen sipping a glass of wine than drinking shots of vodka. In 2018, Russia imported 278 million liters of wine (still and sparkling), and while mass market wines from Georgia, Armenia, Italy, France and Spain tend to dominate the market, there growing interest in American wine.
The U.S. Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Moscow is developing partnerships to promote wine from Oregon and Washington. Together with the Oregon Wine Board and Washington State Wines, they are planning to host a very special wine tasting event at Spaso House, the official historic residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Russia. More than just a wine tasting, producers are invited to join our wine diplomacy initiative, to learn more about Russia, and to develop new relationships with people who are eager to hear more about the Oregon wine story.
On March 21, 2019 the ATO and California Wine Institute organized a wine tasting for industry professionals. 30 U.S. wineries were represented at the event, the largest professional U.S. wine tasting in Russia since 2012. The tasting gave the opportunity to expand the number of U.S. labels on offer in Russia and further penetrate the Russian market with new and existing brands. Of the 30 wineries that participated, 14 are now in the market.
This 2020 event will be a trade tasting targeting the 150 of the top sommeliers, importers and other trade in Moscow, highlighting Oregon and Washington wine. There will also be opportunities to learn about the market with events hosted by the ATO leading up to the event. If you are interested in working in this exciting market this is a great way to start.
Important logistical information
Travel: This event will take place directly after ProWein. For those of attending ProWein, it has been advised that everyone travel together and stay in the same hotel for ease of transportation. The ATO will help to arrange accommodations and transportation but wineries will be expected to pay their way.
Wine Shipping: OWB will be consolidating the shipment and will work with the embassy to do so. Wines will need to be shipped very early to ensure they arrive on time, so deadlines must be met.
Russian Entry Visa: A visa is required for entry into Russia and this process can take some time. We have included detailed instructions and information below. Please read prior to registering to confirm that you will be able to secure a visa prior to the event. Below is the information provided by the ATO:
- Regarding the procedure for Russian visas, refer to the Russian Embassy webpage.
- There are detailed forms to fill out, and this takes time. It is recommended to start the process as soon as possible (wait times are unpredictable).
- For participants that currently do not have a business relationship in Russia, ATO recommends requesting a tourist visa.
- For participants that already have a business relationship in Russia, ATO recommends requesting a business visa.
- Applicants should contact their Russian partner or contact the ATO office for assistance with an invitation letter.
- The Russian Embassy uses an online service called VFS Global. This site includes very useful details on the different options and eligibility information for Tourists Visas.
- Regular service is advertised as “20 Calendar Days from the day the documents are submitted to the Russian Consulate for review.”
- Expedited service is recommended which is “3 Business Days from the day the documents are submitted to the Russian Consulate for review.” There is an extra charge for this and there is no guarantee that it will be processed in 3 days. We recommend allowing 2 or even 3 weeks. If it runs longer, you can always ask them to return your passport.