Discovering Ukrainian Wines: 6 Of The Best Wines From Ukrainian Vintners

Wine has held almost mythical importance in many European countries, yet it often seems that Spain, France, and Italy are the only regions oft talked about. In attending the Ukrainian wine and cheese festival in Lviv (something I attend every year as it takes place next door to my apartment) I felt an article about discovering Ukrainian wines was in order. While it might come as a surprise to some, Ukraine actually does have quite an interesting winemaking history.

discover Ukrainian wines title card

While a few European countries tend to control the narrative about European wines, every country has a winemaking legacy, Ukraine included. In fact, one of Ukraine’s most storied wineries even won the 1900 Grand Prix in Paris. Although that chateau was bombed in 2023 there are still plenty of vintners producing excellent quality wines in other regions.

Many of the best Ukrainian wines are still grown in the south and west of the country as the weather creates acceptable growing conditions. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Ukraine actually invented their own grape specifically for their climate.

Hold Up. Ukrainians Invented A Wine Grape?

Believe it or not Ukraine’s agriculture successes do not just rely on wheat and root vegetables. In 1950 the Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute for Wine and Vines created a cross of Alicante Bouchet and Cabernet Sauvignon aptly named alibernet, or Odesa Black.

While today this grape is mostly grown in Slovakia, recent young winemakers in the west of Ukraine have started to heavily push this grape as a cultural varietal. It doesn’t hurt at all that it creates absolutely delicious wine (in my opinion).

Ukrainian Wines You’ll Love

While I don’t know your exact tastes or preferences in wine, this list includes some of my favorite Ukrainian wines. I have included everything from the aforementioned Odesa Black to even ‘traditionally made in the French style’ sparkling wines.

Most of these wines can only be purchased in Ukraine, however it is possible to find some of them at specialty wine shops around Europe and even the rest of the world. Some wineries even offer online ordering.

Leleka Wines: Odesa Black

Leleka Wines makes one of my favorite bottles of Odesa Black. The wine is heavy and rich with cherry and wood overtones. I find it best served with equally heavy food such as red meat or duck. Leleka, which means stork in Ukrainian, is considered one of the national animals of the country (the nightingale is the official one, but many people consider it the stork – especially in the west).

Recommended Pairing: Duck Breast With Peppercorn Sauce

Vitaly Malanchuk: Frontenac Gris

Vitaly Malanchuk is definitely making a name for himself in Ukrainian winemaking. His own label produces award winning bottles like the delicious frontenac gris pictured above. This is a deliciously crisp white wine. It happens to be quite floral while remaining dry, perfectly served chilled and paired with fruits, fish, or cured meats.

Unfortunately these are still considered vins garage and Malanchuk only produces about a thousand bottles a year. Which means if you want to get your hands on one you’ll have to make a special order or find one at the various food and drink festivals around Ukraine.

Recommended Pairing: Spanish Marinated Anchovies (with bread)

Frumushkina-Nova: Chardonnay (Orange)

One of the most endearing wineries in Ukraine is Frumushika-Nova from the village of the same name. This family run enterprise not only produces delicious wines, but cheeses, cured meats, and honey, as well as a hotel with restaurant and tours. In fact, even staying for a few days at the hotel and doing everything they have to offer might not be enough time – that’s how many things they have.

Frumushika-Nova sells about 20 different bottles of wine, as well as stronger alcohol like brandy. One of my favorites is their ‘orange’ wine, which is a type of chardonnay with a longer than normal skin contact. This gives the wine it’s signature orange color and as is tradition – a wax dipped bottle cap replaces the standard cork and foil.

Recommended Pairing: Pike Perch With Smoked Pear

Axis Wine: Black Friday

Axis Wine is another Lviv based winery that makes a fantastic wine called Black Friday. Based on the name I’m sure you can guess that it is also made with the Odesa Black grape. This deep, deep red wine is best served very slightly chilled and is great paired with game meats. While the company is based in the Lviv region, the actual vineyard is located in Prydunayska Bessarabia, one of the best growing regions in Ukraine.

This particular wine comes in at nearly 15% so it is definitely a unique bottle you should try. If you are a fan of sweeter wines, I can also recommend their passito which is a dessert wine perfect to pair with chocolate or creme brulee!

Recommended Pairing: Lapin au Vin (Rabbit Wine Stew)

My Wine: Rose

My Wine by Eduard Gorodetsky is a rather new company. It just started in 2021 however Mr. Gorodetsky worked for over 20 years at the Odesa Cognac Plant and as Chairman of the Board.

I particularly like the rose which has notes of raspberry and citrus and is best served moderately chilled. It should be paired with other light and refreshing dishes like soft cheeses, salads, or fruit.

Recommended Pairing: Roquefort And Candied Walnut Salad With Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Father’s Wine: Amber Circuit

Father’s Wine was the first winery in the Ternopil region of western Ukraine and due to the unique climate they grow what can only be called a ‘weird’ assortment of vines. In my opinion that makes them an excellent example of Ukrainian wines as they’ve chosen grapes specifically for their terroir. This amber colored wine is unlike any I’ve had before and that’s saying something.

The grape used to make this wine is Muscat Ottonel, which is traditionally used in sweet and dessert wines. Yet this bottle from Father’s Wine is rather dry; It almost presents like a smoky pinot grigio – although someone with a more advanced palate could better explain it. I find this bottle pairs perfectly with dense and creamy foods like risotto or soft cheeses.

Related Pairing: Lemon Asparagus Risotto

A Note About Ukrainian Cuisine

If you are interested in learning more about Ukrainian cuisine on top of their wine, I have plenty of Ukrainian recipes from all different regions of the country. From a rich, heavy borshch to light and fluffy syrnyky there’s something everyone will enjoy. While the cuisine does not normally lend itself to wine pairings, due to the vastness and cultural history of cuisine in Ukraine there is always something new to try and experiment with.

Recommended Wine Accessories

No self respecting wino can go without their favorite tools. And I’m not just talking about choosing the correct stemware for the grape. Here are some of my favorite wine and wine drinking accessories.


If you are a vintner in Ukraine or have a product you would like reviewed, please email me at

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