Sparkling Wine Capital

Bakhmut Travel Blog

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Downtown Bakhmut

Bakhmut is a city in the northeast of Donetsk Region, Ukraine. The city was founded in 1571 and is one of the oldest Cossack cities in Ukraine. It received municipal rights in 1783.In 1924, Bakhmut was renamed into Artemivsk to honor Artem, the revolutionary leader of UkrainianCommunists. On September 23, 2015 the deputies of the city council voted for returning the historical nameto the city. On February 4, 2016 by the Resolution of the Ukrainian Parliament the city got back its historical name - Bakhmut.

The city is located right in the middle of the ancient Bakhmut Trail connecting Kiev and Eastern Ukraine.Bakhmut is center of a district in Donetsk region. It is located on the River Bakhmutka about 55 miles awayfrom Donetsk, the administrative center of the region and the Capital of the Donets Basin.

Arriving to the winery
The city population is about 80 thousand inhabitants.

The city is famous for its huge sparkling wine factory called Artemivsk Winery. We all enjoy its qualityproducts. However, it had never occurred to me I could do a winery tour, until my American friend Gordonfound out about that winery and wished to look at it on the way from Donetsk airport to Luhansk, thatwas his destination then.

Therefore, I called the winery and reserved a tour for the three of us: our driver, Gordon and myself. During the tourthat lasted for two and a half hours, we learnt many new things about sparkling wine productionand took lots ofpictures and did wine tasting in the special Bacchus Room. It was a great experience and I am glad we did it!

Artemivsk Winery is famous for being the world’s only winery located 72 meters below ground.

Downtown Bakhmut
The wine production takes places deep below ground in the special microclimate of former gypsum tunnels.Prussian engineer Edmund Farke, who built several factories in Bakhmut, used localdeposits of gypsum for development of production of plaster of Paris (called “alebaster” here) at the end ofthe 19th century.Later the gypsum tunnels were neglected and flooded. They were only rediscovered after the Second World War.On June 29, 1950, a new winery was dedicated. The unique microclimate of gypsum tunnels was used for successful production of many wine sorts.The winery premises boast stable annual temperature of +12+14 degrees Centigrade and favorable humidity of 88-90%. The winery uses wine materials from Crimea as well as from Ukraine’s southern regions: Odessa Region, Kherson Region and Mykolayiv Region.
The local lore museum
They use the French method of sparkling wine production. The wine is aged for at least a year to become asparkling wine. Some white wines are aged for three years or more.You can read wise words of Omar Khayyam about wine on the walls of the factory corridors. Artemivsk sparkling wine is exported into thirty countries of the world. We were told the winery was the world’s onlywinery that produced Red Brut – a very special and expensive sort of sparkling wine.

After the winery tour we were invited into the Wane Tasting Hall - a nice hall with a sculpture of Bachhus and his Graces. The wine maker told us about different wines and the process of their production.There was no menu on the table. We were simply served with different wines, starting with what they callwine material (white) and ending with red brut sparkling wine.

Artem monument

Bacchus - the Roman God of Wine - is duly revered here. You can see two of his sculptures: a bas-relief overthe entrance to the production premises and his sculpture with two female assistants in the Wine Tasting Hall.I especially admired the latter one. We had our pictures taken in front of it after the wine tasting session wasover.

The winery’s products became well known all over the world after 1972 when the winery started its export program. Germany, Russia, United States, Canada and Australia are its biggest trade partners now. World connoisseurs of wines value the products of Artemivsk Winery. These wines have won a lot of prestigious international prizes, among them:

- the Prize of the International Trade Leaders’ Club;

- the Golden Star “The Arc of Europe” for mastership and quality;

- the Best Sparkling Wine of Eastern Europe - the VITeff’s award.

Visiting Artemivsk Winery

At present, the winery produces over a dozen of sorts of sparkling wines:

- White Brut Zero;

- White Extra Brut;

- White Brut;

- White Dry;

- White Semidry;

- White Semisweet;

- Muscat Brut;

- Muscat Semidry;

- Muscat Semisweet;

- Muscat Rose Semisweet;

- Rose Brut;

- Rose Semidry;

- Red Brut;

- Red Semisweet.

We simply walked down the tunnel and soon we were told we were walking at the depth of 72 meters belowground.We did not visit all the production premises. The winery has 29 hectares of production premises belowground.We walked for about two hours, but did not feel tired at all, whether it was due to the air or to ventilationthere. Besides, curiosity did not allow us to get tired, I believe.

City symbols (my postcard)
Our curiosity was duly awarded.We managed to find out many interesting things about how the wines are brewed and bottled.Who could have thought the process requires so much tedious attitude and care!I think I will have more appreciation to a bottle of sparkling wine now and will consume it not bottoms up,but sipping and enjoying every moment of this “Drink of Gods”.

During our winery tour the guide warned us about taking pictures.It is prohibited to take pictures inside the production premises, where the workers operate robots and othermachines. I think itis connected with flash that can blind operators, and thus interfere with productionprocess. In spite of the warning, I managed to take a picture of a female worker doing visual control of filledbottles. No flash was needed/allowed.

Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Taking pictures of the corridors and bottle storage shop is not prohibited.

The old gypsum tunnels are also known as the place of mass executions during the Second World War.There is a memorial to the Innocent Victims of Nazism here.You can see three white figures of victims and candles installed onto the wall.There is a Book of Mourning in front of the memorial.The inscription on the memorial plaque reads, “Here, during the period of the temporary Nazi occupation,within the period from January 5 through 9, 1942,over 3,000 Soviet citizens were barbarically slaughtered.The residents of Artemivsk shall never forget that unheard-of atrocity of Nazi invaders.Eternal Glory to you, innocent victims of fascism.” There is another memorial plaque near that one. It is the memorial plaque to hundreds of Jewish residents ofArtemivsk massacred here during the last war.

The war memorial at Artemivsk Winery
The Hebrew and Russian inscriptions on the white memorialplaque with the Star of David read, “May God remember the souls of the Jews! Amen!”

The Winery Foundation Memorial with the year 1950 is next to the war memorial.

Winery tour reservation: http://www.krimart.com/en/excursion/order.html

Address:87 Patris Lumumba Street; Phone:+38 /0627/ 49-8595; Website:http://www.krimart.com/en/main.html

The city of Bakhmut boasts of such architectural landmarks as:

  1. St.Nicolas Church dedicated in 1797;
  2. Belfry of St.John the Baptist Church (the church was dedicated in 1861);
  3. All Saints Church dedicated in 1903;
  4. Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God Church dedicated in 1903.
    The war memorial

The Winery is undoubtedly the city sight #1.

You can also pay a visit to the Local Lore Museum+38 06274 2 25 95; +38 06274 2 19 68; 26 Sovietskaya Street.

The city observes its City Day on the second Saturday of September after September 1. The city’s coat-of-arms was adopted on March 26, 1996. The local deputes approved the resolution on using the old coat-of-arms of Bakhmut, as the city was called before 1924 and as it will be called since 2016, when the Ukrainian Parliament approves of the local deputies resolution to return to the historical name of the city.

The coat-of-arms symbolizes natural richness of the Bakhmut Area: coal (black) and fertility of vegetation (green). You can see the chemical sign of salt in the middle. Bakhmut District  has its own coat-of-arms and flag too. They have similar symbolism plus wheat ears and the sun with wheat ears as its rays.

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Downtown Bakhmut
Downtown Bakhmut
Arriving to the winery
Arriving to the winery
Downtown Bakhmut
Downtown Bakhmut
The local lore museum
The local lore museum
Artem monument
Artem monument
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
City symbols (my postcard)
City symbols (my postcard)
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
The war memorial at Artemivsk Wine…
The war memorial at Artemivsk Win…
The war memorial
The war memorial
The war memorial
The war memorial
Visiting Artemivsk Winery: the com…
Visiting Artemivsk Winery: the co…
City entry sign
City entry sign
Arriving to Bakhmut
Arriving to Bakhmut
Exploring Bakhmut
Exploring Bakhmut
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery: the lab…
Visiting Artemivsk Winery: the la…
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Bacchus and his female assistants
Bacchus and his female assistants
The wine tasting hall
The wine tasting hall
The Wine Tasting Hall
The Wine Tasting Hall
The Wine Tasting Hall
The Wine Tasting Hall
The Wine Tasting Hall
The Wine Tasting Hall
The Wine Tasting Hall
The Wine Tasting Hall
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Visiting Artemivsk Winery
Bakhmut
photo by: vicIII