Words from Edoardo Freddi, wine expert and patron of Edoardo Freddi International which exports more than 33 million bottles worldwide every year: «The Russian people love Italian wines and Made in Italy in general, exports are continuing. The war in Ukraine has in no way slowed down the export and trade of Italian wines in Russia. It can be said that, at most, it has changed its consumption due to the growing inflation which has reduced the purchasing power of Russian citizens. But above all, since last autumn a large group of Russians with medium-high spending power left their country during the war, Italian fine wines and super premiums have fewer customers today than they did a few months ago». The export of Italian wines to Russia has therefore only moved towards a lower price range compared to the period before the war. «The reaction of sellers in Russia starting from February 2022 was to focus on entry level wines, - explains Edoardo Freddi - certainly wines such as Super Tuscans, Brunello, Amarone and Barolo remain highly appreciated by Russians, but in the last period less expensive Italian wines are starting to be discovered such as Primitivo della Puglia, but also Pinot Grigio, Lambrusco, Asti, Prosecco, Chianti and Montepulciano. Recently there is also great enthusiasm for Vermentino, which is slowly replacing and taking the place of Lugana. All these wines are selling a lot in Russia right now». As for places to consume wine in Russia, there has been a boom in wine bar openings in large cities in recent years. On the other hand, among the sales channels, there is a surprising lack of online access: «Wine bars are increasingly widespread, but they are certainly not the only channel for purchasing Italian wines in Russia. It continues to be consumed in restaurants, but also at home, mainly between meals and during holidays. Among the purchasing channels, there are also many chain stores specialized in the sale of wines and spirits, with both entry level and premium offers. The Russian consumer can also buy wine in supermarkets, where there are dedicated shelves. In the big cities, in addition to these channels, independent boutique stores have sprung up, which are also able to offer rare wines. We must not forget the on-trade, i.e. hotels and restaurants. To date, the only unmanned channel is the online one,” explained Edoardo Freddi. The only real threat currently present in Russia for the export of Italian wines is represented by the market for wines from the former Soviet republics: «Russian wine distributors and retailers in fact have to somehow counter the problems relating to deliveries and costs high prices, as well as the fear of sanctions due to the ongoing war: currently there are many promotions of wines from the former Soviet republics in Russia because they are easier to import. Despite this, the Russian consumer continues to be interested and attracted by quality Italian wines. It is no coincidence that Italian wines are still the best-selling in Russia, followed by Georgian wines which have managed to unseat Spanish wines, now in third place», concluded Edoardo Freddi, owner of Edoardo Freddi International.