The Russian Orthodox Church is set to start producing its own wine, with the first bottles expected to be ready next year.
Set in the Krasnodar region of southern Russia, on the Black Sea coast, the Church's vineyards were constructed by subsidiary company Mezyb and cover over 70 hectares of land. They are situated next to the summer residence of Church leader Patriarch Kirill, who will surely be first in line for a bottle.
“With such an area [the winery] will be able to produce more than 500,000 bottles a year,” Vadim Drobiz, director of the Research Center for Federal and Regional Alcohol Markets, told Russia's RBC media group.
In a masterful move of vertical integration, the Church will be able to supply monasteries with holy wine. Currently major monasteries purchase wine from Russian, Ukrainian and Moldovan factories, according to Church spokesman Alexander Volkov. “Wine is used in every rite, in every liturgy,” he added.
Given that individual churches use around half a bottle of wine per every 100 parishioners during routine services, the new winery could prove to be an efficient money-saving measure in the long term.
There has been speculation that Mezyb might plan to sell its wine, although it will have to obtain a proper trading licence, Mr Drobiz stated. Could you soon be seeing Russian Orthodox wine in your local shop?
Source: The Moscow Times