Vodka down, wine up

To boycott vodka because of Russia's invasion is daft as it's not an exclusively Russian product

ANDREW J. LINN

The idea of boycotting vodka to protest at Russia's invasion of Ukraine is daft. Although we tend to think of it as being a Russian product, it is made in many countries.

The classic Stolichnaya brand is jointly owned by two European companies, and the US version is distilled in Latvia.

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Nor is Smirnoff from Russia, rather owned by multinational Diageo Group. Genuine Russian brands include Beluga Noble, Ustianochka, and Russian Standard. There is an ample selection of vodkas made in Ukraine, Finland, Poland, France and the UK.

All this is happening while there is a global crisis in many wine-producing areas, and a reduction of around 20% is the estimated figure.

High value wines, mainly French, will be unable to meet demand, and distributors are casting around for alternatives.

This is bad news for France and some Italian and German producers, but every cloud has its silver lining and Spain will be the beneficiary this time round. For example, the shortage of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is being predicted as likely to create an opening for Rueda wines.

A leading international shipper that normally specialises in Burgundy is looking at Ribera del Duero, Rioja and Priorato, as well as other wines from lesser-known Spanish regions.

These 'new' wines will start appearing on international markets next year, so it is likely that wine drinkers worldwide will be getting their first opportunity to enjoy some of Spain's greatest wines. Old habits die hard, but hopefully the resulting converts will continue to appreciate them even after the present crisis finishes.