A champagne for Ukraine

Mariaa Didkovska shows of label art for the Victoire de la Dignité 2015 special-cuvée Champagne

James Mayor reports on a special-cuvée Champagne created to support Ukraine. Above, Mariia Didkovska is showing artwork by Mykola Bilous.

In 1945, with Europe still smouldering from a lengthy war and the world discovering the horror of the Holocaust, Philippe de Rothschild decided to commission an artist to design a label for each vintage of Château Mouton-Rothschild. Art and wine were paired to play a part in rebuilding Europe. Over the years, Picasso, Miró, Chagall, Hockney and many others succeeded each other on Mouton labels.

Mariia Didkovska does not own a vineyard. A restaurateur and philanthropist, Didkovska is the owner of Citronelle, one of Kyiv’s most successful French restaurants, and Saint Bar, a cocktail bar. A cultural warrior with a huge heart, Didkovska and her team have been working with the Zhyttelyub charitable foundation to supply meals for the elderly and homeless throughout the war. She’s now introduced another initiative to support Ukraine, adopting the artist-label idea to meet the context of the current war.

For her Victoire de la Dignité project, nine years after Ukraine’s February 2014 Revolution of Dignity, she is working with Champagne Pierre Morlet to release a cuvée with labels featuring the work of six leading contemporary Ukrainian artists – Oleksii Apollonov, Mykola Bilous, Olena Pryduvalova, Maryna Skugareva, Oleksandr Sukholit and Oleg Tistol. Each of the artists’ works references an aspect of Ukraine’s resistance to the invasion.

The artwork of the six artists chosen for Victoire de la Dignité shown on the bottles.

A 2015 blanc de blancs, the Victoire de la Dignité champagne will be a limited edition of 3,000 bottles. Eighty per cent of the profits will be donated to the Military Hospital in Kyiv to fund a rehabilitation programme for wounded Ukrainian soldiers. The remaining 20% will support art and music initiatives post war, a contribution to the colossal task of healing and restoring Ukrainian society. In wartime, Didkovska explains, the military need arms and ammunition, while civil society needs a whole raft of things, but perhaps most of all hope.

The Victoire de la Dignité champagne is €380 per 75-ml bottle, and there will also be a small number of bottles signed by the artists. Pre-orders can be sent from 1 March to pre-order@victoiredeladignite.com. Bottles will be available for shipping from early May. For more information, contact inquiries@victoiredeladignite.com.

Today we received an update from the Wine Bureau Team about another charity wine project; see the latest Letters from Kyiv for more information.