Gorbachev, Mikhail

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

(1931– ), last President of the Soviet Union (1985–91) and significant in the history of wine because of his 1985–8 national campaign against alcohol abuse. Measures were energetically directed not just against vodka consumption but also against the production and importation of wine. The immediate domestic effect was that the total vineyard area in the Soviet Union (which until the fall of communism included such wine-producing republics as moldova, ukraine, the crimea, uzbekistan, russia, azerbaijan, georgia and, producing very much less wine, armenia, kyrgyzstan, tajikistan, kazakhstan, and turkmenistan) fell by a third between 1980 and 1990 to the 1960 level of just over 1 million ha/2,471,000 acres. In 1990, the Soviet Union still accounted for 12% of the world’s total area of vineyard and 5% of the wine produced. By 1996, according to oiv statistics, those same countries accounted for 11% of the world’s vineyard but only 3% of the wine produced.