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April 25, 2024

Why Vino Keeps on Truckin’ to Russia

European “sanctions” allow a big loophole for wine

My recent Robert Camuto Meets….column at amplifies a situation that’s remained relatively hush-hush: the flow of wine to Russia despite 2022 European sanctions on luxury goods.

Italy leads the way in Europe, and Prosecco leads the way in Italy. And it’s all perfectly legal.

Russian wine importer Anatoly Karneev

Russian wine importer Anatoly Karneev (Here at last week's Vinitaly wine fair in Verona) features in my latest Robert Camuto Meets column.... Photo @ Robert Camuto

The main reason for this flow of wine is the way the sanctions were written — coming into effect above a 300-euro-per-unit threshold. Meaning that for a wine to be barred from export it must cost more than about $320 a bottle!

The idea was to somehow hit the Russian middle class by making them feel the pain of Putin’s invasion in Ukraine.

But Holy Sassicaia! 300 Euros is a ridiculously big number for wine. I get it for, say, men’s suits. For most Italians even the threshold is a fraction of that. More like 25 Euros.

So the flow goes on because it’s legal — and there are no moral considerations like: What in the hell do Russians have to toast right now? More bombings?

Of course wine is not something that can be used for military purposes, but then neither are designer evening clutches. So why ban those?

Moreover, remember that every liter of wine that travels to Russia from Europe is heavily taxed by Putin with revenues going to his war effort.

This is how the world turns friends — and wine like oil always finds its way to a market.

Read about it here.