Most northern vineyard in the country yields first fruits

Ogovskoe farm, near Vitebsk, embraces the vine
By Daria Kurilova

In the Vitebsk Region, amateur gardeners have long been engaged in cultivating grapes, despite these being more traditionally grown in the south. Some varieties are suitable for the north of Belarus but the notion of industrial wine-growing seemed bizarre until recently. “I decided to fulfil my destiny as a Georgian,” jokes the head of the farm, Demiko Nadirashvili. He adds, “Grapes truly can be grown in the Vitebsk Region.”

Last November, the farm began growing about 50 vines across more than 40 table varieties. By August, the fruits were ripening, with each grape weighing between 2 and 12g. They don’t really differ in taste from the sweet, crunchy grapes of Southern Europe and a good harvest is forecast for the varieties ‘kishmish’ and ‘talisman’ and some red table varieties.
In addition, last spring, the farm planted about 300 frost-resistant varieties, which have rooted well. Within two to three years, the first great harvest should be ready. 

The Chairman of the Vitebsk Regional Executive Committee, Alexander Kosinets, is now considering creating vineyards on a wider scale, including storage facilities, with suburban farms across the entire region taking part. Processing facilities could then be built to make the most of the new crop.
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