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A wine culture already existed in the 4th century B.C. on the southern coast of the Crimean peninsula, from this time wine presses and amphorae were found. In the northern part, however, it only developed much later from the 11th century onwards by monks. In the Middle Ages, the Genoese, who were then the owners of Sudak, traded Crimean wines throughout Europe. Under Catherine II. (1729-1796) the Crimean peninsula became part of the Russian Empire in 1783. Her favourite Grigory Alexandrovich Potyomkin (1739-1791) made it arable and also promoted viticulture. The count imported vines from Italy, Spain and France, where the climate was very similar to that of the Crimea. Especially the soil around the city of Sudak was very fertile. Here lies the Solnechnaya Dolina (Sun Valley), aptly named for its 300 days of sunshine a year, with a large cellar of the same name. Near Yalta, Count Mikhail Vorontsov (1782-1856) had vineyards planted and a large winery built in 1820. In 1828 he founded the Magarach Wine Institute in the vicinity.

Special credit for Russian viticulture goes to Peter Simon Pallas (1741-1811), a German scientist and member of the Academy, who was brought from Berlin by Catherine II and established large vineyards in the Sudak region. He was the first to describe in detail about 40 local grape varieties. In 1878 Prince Lev Golizyn founded the still existing winery Nowyj Swet (New World) in Sudak. A sparkling wine was first produced in 1799 in the climatically favoured cities of Sudak and Alushta. However, the quantities were insignificant. Golizyn is regarded as the founder of the famous Krimskoye sparkling wine (Schampanskoje Krimskoje). By order of Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918), he also founded the present state winery Massandra.

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