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"Amur grapes are our jewel"

Primorye Sergey Kurechko about wine from taiga wild plants and popularization of winemaking in the region

Maikha farm is the only place in Primorsky Krai where you can get acquainted with wines from taiga wild plants and learn from the winemaker about the unique technology of producing bio-products from local raw materials. Primary Primorye Sergei Kurechko moved from Vladivostok to the village of Anisimovka, where he develops wine tourism on his creative backyard. On the unique varieties of local wine and the prospects for winemaking in the southernmost region of the Far East, he told EastRussia for the project "Unsuccessful."

"Amur grapes are our jewel"
Photo: from personal archive of Sergei Kurechko
Sergei Kurechko was born in Primorsky Krai, in the small town of Spassk-Dalniy. At the age of five he moved with his parents to the Magadan Region. His childhood passed in the environment of geologists, and he dreamed to connect his life with this science. But when he was 16 years old, the family returned to Primorye and settled in Arsenyev.
- I was a grant-holder of the Arsenyev machine-building plant "Askold". I went to study at the Kharkov Aviation Institute, because the best engineers were trained there. But when he graduated, perestroika began, engineers "Askold" were no longer needed, - says Sergei. - In 1992 I went to the Crimea on a scientific basis. A year later this base also closed, and more by profession I did not work. Returned to his homeland, he began to live in Vladivostok. More than twenty years he worked at the Vladivostok customs.
Books for winemaking Sergei first saw in his student years. After reading, there appeared a desire to apply theoretical knowledge in practice. And such a chance he introduced himself while working in the Crimea: the company was sent to collect grapes. 
- For the work in the vineyards were calculated grapes, - Sergey recalls. - From it, I made wine for my own needs. But the very first wine was of cherry. She rushes faster than grapes, and I was impatient to try to start the process. I got a three-liter jar of a beautiful, fragrant, very tasty drink.
Since 2004, Sergei Kurechko began to make the first seaside wine at the grandmother's farmstead in the village of Artemovsky, on the Artemivka River. The old name of this river is Mayha. That is why later he named his farm Maykha.
The beginning winemaker understood that the quality of wine directly depends on the quality of the raw materials used. And good raw materials can be grown only in their gardens and vineyards. I was looking for a place to move long and thoroughly. Chose village Anisimovka in Shkotovsky district - in 120 km from Vladivostok. This is a beautiful place, a favorite place for tourists, where in winter they come to ride on the ski slopes, running track, tubing tracks. In the warm season, hiking to the mountains of Pidan, Falaza, the Great Sparrow ridge and the Smolninsk waterfalls are popular.
Wine tourism is popular all over the world. And Sergey decided to develop it in Primorye. This year the Maykhinsky farm will be 14 years old. The territory has a vineyard, garden, guest area. Kurechko is engaged in selection and collects the best forms of Amur grapes. He recently received a land plot under the Far Eastern Hectare program, where he intends to create a park area for his guests and enlarge a wild plant garden. It is very difficult to collect some wild plants in the taiga, so it was decided to grow them on our own.
"The Amur grapes are our jewels," says Sergei. - From it we make a great classic red dry wine. Of course, I like all the Maykhin wines, but I have special favorites. A unique, pearl, perfectly quenched thirst wine from the viburnum. Wine from magnolia vine is a bright energy wine. Our star - honeysuckle, from which you get a rich, multifaceted wine. And, undoubtedly, wine from cowberries. Everyone remembers the magic of cowberry mors, who wants to drink infinitely much? The wine from this berry is the same.
Now, more than ten varieties of wine from unique local wild plants and garden berries are made in Maykha farm: actinidia (kishmish), Amur grapes, magnolia vine, lingonberries, blueberries, viburnum and others. In production, no chemicals and artificially created wine yeast are used.
"I am self-taught, I read literature on winemaking, I study foreign experience and came to the fact that I do not want to make wine using technologies with the use of sulfur dioxide and other chemicals that are produced in all wineries," Kurechko said. - I like the original, natural drink, the so-called bio-wine. It is now becoming very popular abroad. This wine requires certain storage conditions, but it is much tastier and more beneficial for the human body. All the nutrients of the berries are stored in wine - and this is already a liquid food.
The Mayhinskoe economy is visited by tourists not only from Primorye, but also from other regions of Russia. Sometimes the winery is visited by foreign tourists. They learn about this unique place from local friends or come with tour agencies that have already been offering weekend tours to the winery in Anisimovka for several years. Sergei Kurechko introduces guests to the philosophy of the economy and the methods of local winemaking, conducts an excursion. In Maykinsky wine is made herbal fermented tea, cold pressed cedar oil, manchurian tincture and printed honey. Those wishing to spend a few days in Anisimovka can stay in two guest houses.
In Russia it is possible to taste wine where it is made (at a winery), only in the Krasnodar Territory, the Crimea and Primorye. In Primorsky Krai, the southernmost region of the Far East, a warm favorable climate for the cultivation of fruit and berry crops. The region can become a place of distribution of winemaking in the Far East.
- The example of Maykha wine-making economy shows that local wine drinks are interesting to people. After the tasting, many notice that it is difficult for them to drink wine made in an industrial way, - says Sergey Kurechko. - I would like, that in each district center there were small wineries where would make wine from local berries. Far Eastern Federal University prepares professional winemakers. I want these young specialists to apply in their region, and not leave in search of work. The creation of small wineries will stimulate the development of a whole line of agriculture in the region from the cultivation of seedlings, berries, wine making to the creation of glass production. We have something to be proud of, our berry and grape wines can be an alternative to imported wines of dubious quality.
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