The idea of the Alma Valley winery project was born in the first decade of this century, when privatization of agricultural land began in Crimea. One of the most promising parcels for new vineyards was found in the Western-Foothills region of Crimea, in the valley of the Alma River. This valley was historically known as a good location for grape growing, as the land of the ancient Scythians, and as the site of the Battle of the Alma in 1854 — a key battle in the 1853-1856 Crimean War.
The climate of Western-Foothills Crimea can be characterized as mild Mediterranean, with moderate influence of the Black Sea and good ventilation by sea breezes. The average rainfall varies between 450-600 mm annually, depending upon the height above sea level. The average annual temperature is 10.4 °С. The winter temperature in the region can fall below -27 °С, so for protection the vines must be plowed under a layer of earth each winter.
The gentle slopes of the hills of Western Crimea are composed primarily of dark brown loam, while the river valleys have concentrations of richer fertile calcareous soils. The underlying rocks here are primarily limestone and a unique, especially dense sort of marl stone, known locally as "white-eyed clay".
Wine was already an important part of the culture of the ancient Scythians. Wine amphorae, dated to the end of the 3rd century B.C.E., have been found in the excavation of a Scythian city near Vilino.
When a resurgence of Crimean wine-making took place in the second half of the 19th-century and beginning of the 20th, the valleys of Western Crimea were investigated in more detail. In the classic work of Alexander Negrul, Viticulture, published in 1955, the region is described as "suitable for quality wine-making" and particularly promising for the production of dry table wines.
Agricultural land in the Alma Valley was successfully used for grape-growing in the 20th century. Unfortunately, after the infamous anti-alcohol campaign of 1985 and the economic crisis of the beginning of the 1990's, the majority of the vineyards fell into disuse.
In 2005, a group of Swiss specialists — agronomists, engineers, and architects — were invited to the Alma Valley to investigate the potential for growing classic European wine grapes, and for planning and construction of a winery.
The first vines were planted on a parcel near Vilino in 2008, and an ultramodern winery began operation in 2013.
Thomas Doll, a German specialist with 35 years of experience working in Germany, Spain, and Australia, was appointed the head winemaker of Alma Valley.
Thomas DollThe head winemaker of Alma Valley
A company equipped according to the most up-to-date enological ideas, prepared to produce up to 3 million bottles annually;
A winery working on the principle of gravity-fed flow of wine within the winery;
Steel and oak fermentation tanks, allowing fermentation with controlled temperature;
A large stock of barrels of French, American, and Karabakh oak, half of which are replaced each year;
250 hectares of proprietary vineyards with trickle irrigation, which are tended by a team of qualified agronomists;
A wide spectrum of European and indigenous grape varieties (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Rieslaner, Petite Arvine, Traminer, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Tempranillo, Kefesia, and Dornfelder) which enable the production of wine at the highest level of quality, both single varietal wines and multi-variety blends.
We are happy to present you the wine of Alma Valley — for many, a new wine region of Crimea. The exceptional terroir, with a combination of climatic conditions and soil unlike anywhere else, has been transformed by us, taking into account the traditions of world wine-making and with the help of the most modern technology. In our wines are the winds and aromas of the Crimean steppes, the breath of the Black Sea, the warm southern sun.
Our wines are born surrounded by important historical monuments, such as the villages of the ancient Scythians, the Bakhchisarai Palace with the fountain which Alexander Pushkin wrote about, and the Alma battlefield, one of the most important sites of the Crimean War.
History and modernity unite on the banks of the Alma River, under the arches of our winery. Open a bottle of our wines and travel to us in Crimea!