What is in the heart of a winemaker remains under the cork. Wine story of Ivan Kirchikov
Wine for the inhabitants of Ukrainian Bessarabia and even more for Bulgarians, has always been something familiar, like air or water. At the same time, it is sacred, an important part of age-old traditions. It is still difficult to find a courtyard in the village of Krinichnoye (Bolgradsky District) that does not have a barrel of homemade wine. This noble drink was also made in the family of Ivan Kirchikov.
The grapes that were grown were enough for about 200 liters of white and 200 liters of red wine for family and friends. Ivan Kirchikov himself decided to take this business to a higher level: two years ago, he seriously took up winemaking and has already developed a trademark.
In 2005, finishing 11th grade at school, Ivan faced the choice of his future profession. And here, a hint: at this time in Krinichnoye began the construction of the now famous winery “Kolonist”. “I decided to apply to the Odessa National Academy of Food Technologies, specialty technology of fermentation and winemaking,” recalls the winemaker Kirchikov. “And in 2008, while still a student, the Kolonist team accepted me as a technologist.” Ivan worked at the winery for 10 years! Was in good standing. But the young man’s professional ambitions demanded more, and the idea of starting his own business began to come to him more and more often.
We have the appropriate education and the necessary knowledge, there is a colossal experience gained at one of the best wineries in Ukraine, and there are family secrets. For some time, Kirchikov nurtured this idea and one day he made a decision.
First I decided to try it – I made my own wine in small volumes. People appreciated the taste and quality and an order for my products has appeared.
So gradually Ivan began to increase the volume, bought Italian equipment made of stainless steel – a crusher, a mezgositel, a press, a filter, containers. A small winery is located right at home. At the moment, about 40 families are Kirchikov’s regular clients. Local restaurateurs also cooperate with him. So, quite possibly, without knowing it, you may already have the opportunity to enjoy the amazing wines of this manufacturer.
Ivan Kirchikov is engaged in the production of dry table wines. The assortment of permanent ones is small: from white wines, chardonnay and aligote; from red, cabernet, merlot and Odessa black. In 2019, he made trial batches of fortified dessert wine Cabernet and natural champagne using a special author’s technology. And this year there will also be fortified cahors and champagne.
I make dry white wines only from gravity must, this is a very crucial moment – mistakes during the process lead to a decrease in quality.
The pressed fraction is used for the production of brandy (grape vodka), it has a delicate aroma and soft grape flavor. Dry red wines are infused on the pulp for about 15-20 days, depending on the type of wine
For the production of wine, Ivan Kirchikov grows part of the grapes himself. This makes it easier to control the quality of the berries, besides, in Krinichnoye there are ideal conditions for this: the freshwater lake Yalpug and 310 days of Southern sun. But the available areas do not allow growing more, so the winemaker buys the rest from local winegrowers.
Unfortunately, 2020 (especially summer) turned out to be extremely difficult, due to drought, the grape yield is very low, and even that one is of poor quality. I had to look for and buy raw materials in other areas of the region.
Kirchikov’s wine is stored in professional stainless steel containers. This material is not only the strongest and most durable among those used in winemaking, it also has other advantages. This “barrel” is neutral to acids and alcohol in the wort. It retains the summer freshness of aroma and pleasant taste better.
The wooden barrel is a classic. But today they are used either to store their own, homemade wine, or for the production of respectable wines, where aging lasts for years. And in the latter case, the barrels are not horrible, but made from special varieties of oak. We also have several of them.
About achievements and plans
Ivan Kirchikov has repeatedly participated in wine festivals that took place in Izmail, Bolgrad, Odessa. Dry cabernet and dry chardonnay have diplomas and prizes. This is a very good indicator for a young winemaker! “Such awards give an incentive for further work,” says Ivan. “It is especially pleasant that our wines are evaluated together with the wines of famous wineries!”
Kirchikov’s plans are to move forward! The process of registering its own trademark is being completed. And these are new goals, new opportunities, new dimensions. But at the same time, always only honest, natural wine.
It is interesting that under the same names “different” wines are produced every year, they are slightly different. The taste is influenced by many factors: in what environment the grapes grew, what was the weather and, which is also important, with what mood it was grown, harvested and processed.
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