When I sat down to write my Blog this week, my thoughts were filled – not with wine – but with the tragic events taking place in Ukraine. The senseless and unprovoked invasion by Putin’s Russian war machine has caused countless deaths and injuries and massive destruction and has resulted in perhaps, a million or more Ukrainian citizens being forced to flee their country and seek refuge abroad. This latter point makes all these events personal for me: in the early 1900s, my own grandfather was forced to flee from Russia in the face of anti-Jewish violence encouraged by the Tsars, who ruled the country at the time. He settled happily in England but never returned to his homeland. I fear the same may be true for many of today’s refugees.
It’s not entirely inappropriate that I should be writing about Ukraine in a wine blog. The country does (or at least did) have an active wine industry centred, sadly, in the south around the Black Sea towns of Kherson (which has already apparently fallen to the invading troops) and Odessa (which seems to be next in line). Little Ukrainian wine is exported to the UK and I don’t recall ever tasting any. I suspect that now I never will.
I hope readers will forgive me for hijacking this space for something other than a wine blog – some things are just more important than wine – and that you will join me in conveying support for all Ukrainians, wherever they may be. I trust you will get your country back some day.