From the window of the bus, on the way to Bobovysche, I see vast areas of vineyards. Curly bush are overgrown with grass. This vineyards are owned by the state wineries. Vasyl’s family vineyards exact opposite of industry. Each bush digged perfectly, there anre no weed. His family grows sixteen kind of grape and make twenty types of wine. They have to buy more grapes from other farmers because they don’t have enough land to grow — the government does not give ground.
Bobovysche is a village under Mukachevo, Zakarpattya. It seems here in the local cult of wine. Each house have grape arches, metal fences decorated with vine branches and even rural cafe called “Grono” (bunch of grapes). Families in Bobovyscha produce 200–600 liters of wine for summer. In the family of Mr. Antalovych are seven people: he and his wife, children and grandchildren — they make 12 thousand liters of wine per year.
We come in little village store, sellers see cameras in our hands and ask whether we have not come to Antalovych:
-Yes, we are.
-Immediately guessed. There are so many tourists come here, — says seller. When we asked Mr. Antalovych what thinks his neighbors in the village about his business Vasyl says simply thing: What then prevents them also make good wine?
Vasyl is a hereditary winemaker. His grandfather had a vineyard on the mountain calls Old Hill, but in 1946 it was confiscate by government.
Previously, all the grapes were in the mountains, on the slopes, about four kilometers from our village. And people always lived by wine, because after the establishment of the Soviet regime, they began to plant these arches in their yards.
In Soviet times, the Vasily’s father worked in industrial vineyards, but want to have their own again. Therefore, immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union, father and son took forty acres of land, which were previously pasture for livestock and planted grapes there. Within four years had their first harvest.
Winemaker interrupts his story, gets back to the box, which are diplomas and acknowledgments, spends three minutes to find among the many necessary and exclaims:
-Oh! It is the oldest our gratitude — 1996 year. From the first wine festival in Mukachevo, which has become a generator of private wine Transcarpathia — he says that it all began quite primitive: people selling wine with stools in the square, now they sell wine in houses with barrels. — You have not been to our festival? Come join us at the Old New Year, the pompous festival from all over the country people come! — Vasyll says enthusiastically.
Although Ukraine has almost thirty years as an independent, private wine still illegal, as in Soviet times. Winemakers can sell only at festivals. In store homemade wine you will not find. Such private winemakers, as Vasyl about a hundred only in Transcarpathia.
He said a bill of legalize trade there in Parliament for six years. Mr. Vasyl believes that this will make homemade wine more accessible. They could sold wine in cafes and shops. Abroad, this procedure is more simplified, where the state helps winemakers.
Raise a wine
Every day he wakes up at five in the morning. After all, vineyards need care throughout the year.
- Now, in the spring, grape plant, then they need to take care of: dig, break off, tie — because, as a man — he is sick, — carefully says Mr. Antalovych .
Family wineries still produce a drink for old technology of grandfather. The grapes are harvested, grinding, separating dam from berries, pressed and poured into the barrel.
Grape juice ferments for 60 days and then removed from the yeast, white wine, two or three times, red — once. Their wine is costs from 25 to 100 USD per bottle. — We have the lowest prices in the region. Because here where I live there are no thermal treatment or high mountains. People go here only because of wine — says winemaker.
Their family have 16 kind of grape and from enery variety makes about 500–800 liters of wine. But Antalovych have not old wine, because all snapping tourists. Mr. Vasyl even have not a bar. Asked does he likes wine and he laughing in response:
-How not to like? It is my product. We drink, of course, not every day, but it happens that evening, family sit down and drink a liter of wine. There is nothing to worry about. Winemaker says immemorial our ancestors drank dry wine, so his family also uses mostly dry. However, produce different because more young people loves sweet wine. — I like different kinds of wine: dry Cabernet Sauvignon, Muscat. Of course, I like to drink “Black Prince” because I invented it. Also good wine: sweet and sour. Its taste gathered into one all that wine have. Persuade Mr Antalovych reveal the secret of a new type of wine failed. He said only that it happened quite by accident.
There are seven wine festivals in Transcarpathia. They are chronologically so that tourists could enjoy all stages of maturing wine. Vasyl tell about their product that wine is a living organism, it is born, lives, suffers, dies. And during these festivals can be felt as the wine matures — for example at the festival “Beaujolais” wine is still young, it is about a month. Next festival in Mukachevo, the old new year, there are more mature wine. Then winemakers go to Berehovo, next to Uzhgorod on “Sunny drink” — that’s already selling mature wine. But Vasyl equally convinced that the best use is young wine:
— The most useful wine — is “Burchak”, which is three or four days. Young wines eliminate toxins from the body. This product which can be used, but in moderation. A glass of wine only raises the tone and adds energy — he said.
He said that the purpose of their union — to restore the tradition of winemaking and learn the culture of alcohol consumption. As long as vodka is cheap people drink it. A normal wine is more useful than vodka. Everything depends on how many you drink, but a glass of wine inspires the work, energy increases. Abuse is not necessary. He tell us this words: “Wine is slavery and freedom, the price guilt knows that drinking it like water.”