Abrau Durso Winery is located between Anapa and Novorossiysk near the Black Sea Coast. It was developed in 1870 by decree of Emperor Alexander II on land found by agronomist Feodor Geiduk in a small, rugged valley about 20 kilometers north of Novorossiysk. Abrau Durso is named after two streams, the Abrau that forms a small, natural lake (the largest in the North Caucasus) in front of winery, and the Durso, which falls to the Black Sea two kilometers distant and 84 meters below. The first grapes planted included Riesling, Portugieser, Aligote, Sauvignon, Saperavi, and Muscat.
In 1896 Prince Lev Golitsyn, the godfather of modern Russian winemaking, arrived with French specialists to make sparkling wines. An extensive series of tunnels and caverns were dug into the hills beside the winery.
Prince Golitsyn established a school to train young Russian winemakers, and it was these young winemakers that were to continue the Abrau Durso winemaking tradition after the Revolution when the winery became a vinsovkhoz (state wine farm). Golitsyn died in 1913 and was buried at his other sparkling winery, Novy Svet at Sudak on the Crimean peninsula.
Abrau Durso Winery is now a very large complex that stretches from the main building that front on the lake, through an extensive complex of tunnels and caves. In recent years, Abrau Durso was acquired by entrepreneur Boris Titov. Mr. Titov has made a large investment in Abrau Durso to renovate the production facilities, acquire modern equipment, bring in French consultants, update labels and develop a marketing and sales program. He has also established an interesting museum and tour program, and renovated a nearby hotel to create the comfortable and luxurious Imperial. Herve Jestin, a well-known oenologist from Champagne, consults with Abrau Durso.
The winery has few vineyards, but purchases grapes from neighboring vineyards to produce about 2 million bottles per year of classic méthode champenoise wines. Grapes used are largely white varieties that include Aligote, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. An additional 14 million or so bottles are produced using the reservoir (charmat) method from imported “wine material” from several countries including South Africa.
Some of the classic wines are aged at least three years to earn the aged (vyderjhannoye) label. Look for Abrau-Durso Aged for a classic brut, or Jubilee (Yublileynaya) if you wish a sweeter classic sparkling wine. Abrau Durso’s Velvet Season is a red sparkling wine.
Abrau Durso is open during the summer and fall for tours from Russia’s Black Sea resort Anapa, about an hour drive to the north.
Shares of Abrau Durso trade on Moscow’s MICEX stock exchange. As a result considerable public information is available on the Abrau Durso website.
Abrau Durso (ОАО Абрау-Дюрсо)
Owner: Boris Titov
Director: Pavel Titov
Consulting Winemaker: Herve Jestin
Telephone-Commercial: +7 495 933 3333
Telephone-Hotel and Excursions: +7 800 100 9 100