Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Inside the Kremlin's Winery

The wine house at Abrau-Durso, near the shore of Lake Abrau, is the largest sparkling wine producer in Russia. The house was founded in 1870 to supply sparkling wine to the Tsar's household. It has endured a shift from imperialism to communism, the fall of the Soviet Union, and economic turmoil brought on by low oil prices and political strife in Crimea. Under the communist regime, Abrau-Durso made Sovetskoye Shampanskoye, which translates "Soviet Champagne". Take a tour. Photographs by Andrey Rudakov for Bloomberg

The vineyard at the Abrau-Durso PJSC Winery in Abrau Durso Village, Russia.

Abrau-Durso PJSC, founded in 1870 to supply sparkling wine to Czar Alexander II, is leading a revival of the industry as swelling national pride and a weaker ruble make foreign products less palatable.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Workers load containers of harvested grapes onto a trailer.

Long the official bubbly at premier events like the Sochi Olympics, its cabernets and chardonnays are now winning awards and gracing some of Moscow’s finest dining halls, from the Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Workers unload crates of harvested grapes for pressing.

Abrau-Durso’s surge in popularity at a time when the country is under U.S. and EU sanctions has been aided by speculation that some of its grapes are grown at one of Putin’s residences.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

An employee checks a tank producing sparkling wine by the Charmat method.

Abrau-Durso’s traditional wines are now on the menu in more than 85 restaurants in Moscow alone at prices as high as 10,000 rubles ($200) a bottle, on par with fine French Champagnes.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

An employee loads a corking machine.

Since 2006, the winery has invested more than $100 million to renovate production facilities.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

A remuager turns bottles of sparkling wine.

More than a third of Russia's adult population consumes Abrau-Durso wines.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

A remuager turns bottles in stored in a pupitre.

Last year, over 160 000 tourists visited the winery.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

A degorger uses a light bulb to inspect sediment in a bottle of sparkling wine.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Bottles of sparkling wine sit in storage.     

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

An employee unwinds a roll of Russian sparkling wine bottle labels at the Abrau-Durso PJSC Winery.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Employees prepare boxes of Russian sparkling wine.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

A selection of bottles sit on display at the Abrau-Durso PJSC Wine Store in Abrau Durso Village.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg