Letters from Kyiv

Kyiv fire

30 September 2022 – Ukraine, day 219

Dear Friends and Partners,

We are happy to share with you some great news about our company.

Finally, after over six months of break, we reopened the TSUM Goodwine store.

We are so pleased to welcome people back to our store on the 6th floor of the Central Department Store TSUM on the main street of Kyiv. The shelves are full of bottles again and clients arrive. It is loud again, you know.

All our shops are open now. Another step is made.

Thank you for being with us and for all your support. We look forward to the time when we can welcome you in Ukraine and pour you a glass of Ukrainian wine.

Sincerely yours,

Wine Bureau Team

16 September 2022 – Ukraine, day 205

Dear Friends and Partners,

‘Simultaneity’ is the right word to describe our emotions and events here in Ukraine. Simultaneously we rejoice at the progress of our army and weep for those who sacrificed their lives. Faith and moments of despair, smiles and sadness are simultaneous. Hugs to those who have returned and to those who are leaving again. Weddings and farewells on the same squares simultaneously. Simultaneously there are cities in Ukraine to which people return, and cities to which even birds do not fly back.

All these emotions can be imagined by witnessing the ways of life in different regions and cities of our country. Cities where our regional managers are located and work now.

Odesa (south of Ukraine, 3rd city by population before the war): Anton, our regional manager for the south

Before the war, it was a city by the sea with many tourists, both locals and foreigners. Now it is the number one military and medical aid line for the southern front. This summer, approximately 15% of those 50% that had left at the very beginning, returned. Some because of financial problems, some because they could no longer live without their families or husbands.

Shops, cafes and some restaurants are open. More expensive ones are empty, people do not feel for fancy food when everyday they see queues of ambulances and know that hospitals are full of our heroes from the front.

Wine producers from the Odesa region are now harvesting. This year they will get only 50% of the grapes – part of their vineyards is near Mykolaiv, which is mercilessly bombarded by rockets every day, or near Kherson, which is occupied.

Lviv (west of Ukraine, 7th city by population before the war): Taras, our regional manager for the west

A city, where many foreign tourists have always been, and the region where the majority of Ukrainians have come since 24 February to wait, to find a temporary place to live, to put back together pieces of their hearts, to decide whether to go to another country or to return home.

Now many of these people have already left the region. Part of them went to other countries, while the other part returned to their cities, where it became safer. Restaurant owners from other parts of Ukraine are trying to open some places here, but mostly these are small coffee shops that do not require large investments. These owners believe that soon they will be able to return to their cities and continue the development of their projects at home. According to sales figures, we see that wine retail is now more successful in Lviv (we have BadBoy store here), people prefer to take a bottle of wine to have a quiet dinner at home or invite their closest friends. Local winegrowers are harvesting, but they have problems with bottles, as the Gostomel glass factory has just started to resume work (the same problem exists for the winemakers in the south, of course).

As an indicator of life, weddings have returned to the region. Of course, they are no longer held for 250 guests as they used to be before (so big weddings were traditional in the west of Ukraine), but more than ever, people want to celebrate life and to see their families and friends together. 

Kharkiv (east of Ukraine, 2nd city by the population before the war): Maksym, our regional manager for the east

Kharkiv is the city that has been daily bombarded by Grad missile systems and rockets from Russian territory since 24 February. The city, where 20% of the population remained. Today, the Kharkiv region is being talked about in all the news because this was the occupied territory that was heroically returned to Ukraine by our Army last week.

Now people are slowly returning, but it is not clear what will happen next. Last week, as a sign of revenge for the liberation of the territory, Russia struck critical infrastructure with missiles and left Kharkiv and some other regions of our country without electricity, water and communications for some time. Our public services work 24/7 to fix what is done by our horrible neighbour, but it's hard to predict what it's going to be like when it gets really cold.

But no matter what, some HORECA places work in the city so that people who left can have at least something from their former life, and the owners can have at least some income. Many people are afraid to return to Kharkiv because it is close to the border with Russia and can be hit by missiles from its territory, but there are also people who believe that returning to their home town is possible and will be very soon.

Maksym, our regional manager, comes to Kharkiv three times a week, most of the time he stays in Kremenchug with his family (it is in the neighbouring region). Perhaps you remember the Russian terrorist attack in this city – a rocket that hit the shopping centre on 27 June when there were a lot of people. By a lucky coincidence, Maksym left this building 5 minutes before the attack.

Dnipro (central-east of Ukraine, 4th city by population before the war): Andriy, our regional manager for the central-east 

Dnipro is a city that has been close to the occupied territory of the Donetsk region for the past eight years, so local people are used to military presence here. In February, about 40% of the population left the city, mostly women and children, but many of them had already returned by the summer. Many refugees from Kharkiv, Mariupol, Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia have moved to Dnipro, so the city even seems overcrowded, despite the constant air raids and missile attacks on the region. All public places are open, but people try not to sit out for a long time. Cafes are the places for food now, not for emotions. There are many volunteers, soldiers, medics, but the city is trying to live a life that is at least a little closer to 23 February.

PS 1 of September is the day when children traditionally go to schools in Ukraine. This year, only schools with bomb shelters were opened. The others work only online. This year on 1 September some schools in Kyiv decided to have short ceremonies for those children who came to school for the first time in the first grade. To invite them to their classrooms, to tell them what heroic country they live in. Never before we have seen so many parents and children festively dressed in our national embroidered vyshyvanka. Never before we have seen so many parents’ tears while our national anthem was playing during these ceremonies. Because of pride and sadness. Simultaneously.

Letter prepared by Yulia Demianenko

With regards from all over Ukraine,

Wine Bureau Team

9 September 2022 – Ukraine, day 198

Dear Friends and Partners,

It is official. More than 1,000 square kilometres of our land were liberated by the Armed Forces of Ukraine this week.

Thank you for being with us.

Dreaming of peaceful sky and our Ukraine back,

Wine Bureau Team

2 September 2022 – Ukraine, day 191

Dear Friends and Partners,

The first days of autumn, we would like to tell you about one of our comings back to old life. The first market visit has been made by one of our biggest partners and friends recently. This meant a lot to us and we would like to share with you a short interview by Yulia Demianenko. In case this story encourages you to visit us in Ukraine as well, we will be happy to welcome you, simply let Yulia know. Be assured that we will be here with you all the way round to make the trip as safe as possible.

In my April’s letter I wrote that one of my dreams is to welcome our partners again in Kyiv, in our Goodwine store.

In August, this small dream came true. Stefano Padredi, from one of our Italian partners, decided to come to Ukraine to support us personally, to feel the energy of our country, to visit places so painful for us and even to make some tastings for sommeliers and clients in Lviv and Kyiv.

To tell you the truth, we worried about this first visit. But Stefano’s desire to come and support us was bigger than the fear. Of course, our colleagues from the sales department accompanied Stefano at every possible stage of this trip.

We decided to share with you some of his comments as we believe that visits and support like this help us to move forward despite the war.

Stefano Padredi writes

The decision

When the war in Ukraine began, we had the opportunity to host some of your colleagues with families in Italy. In June they returned to Kyiv. I decided to come here now because I missed your people a lot and I decided to be a part of your team just for some days to prove that our company, our team – we are and will be on your side. We believe in you, we believe in our common future and for us it is important to be strong like you.

You demonstrate to the whole world that you are very strong, you have character, and you want to defend your dream, you want to defend your future and you want to defend your country. This is what I explained to my friends and relatives for them to understand my wish to come here.

Lviv

Before the war I have been to Ukraine many times. This time my journey to Ukraine was longer than previous years. First, I had the flight to Budapest. Then I took a car and came to the border between Hungary and Ukraine. I crossed the border on foot and afterward Valentyn (from the sales department of Wine Bureau) was waiting for me on the Ukraine side. He took me to Lviv by car. Lviv was the new Kyiv for me because now the capital is more calm. Lviv lives differently and at first sight it seems that people enjoy the moment but also in my personal opinion people TRY to enjoy the moment. But things are not like in the past. People try to smile but they do not laugh. This is the big difference. I see from their faces how people try to omit bad moments, especially if they are with children. They try not to be very sad with their children.

I know that the day of our arrival to Lviv there were rocket attacks somewhere in the region, but I didn’t hear anything. I just received a notification on my phone. But I think that life everywhere is difficult, I can lose my life even in my city in Italy.

Kyiv

I came to Kyiv by train with Valentyn. Visit of Kyiv is quite an emotional trip for me as this time I met your team in a very different way. Even when I was tired, these kinds of meetings and events charged my personal battery, they charged my personal soul, my personal happiness. You are a part of my life now. I had an important discussion with Igor (Wine Bureau co-owner), that when living in other countries we have to realise what the real problems in life are. We have more important questions to underline every day. Life and freedom are the most important questions. 

Today I was in the centre of Kyiv, I was on the main square where the exposition of burned Russian tanks is. I was in Bucha – I was impressed when I looked at the situation with my eyes.

I looked differently at people who live here. Something is changing in your people. They are not afraid, but something is different inside each person. 

I visited the burned storage that you lost. I saw its photos and a video previously, but they all made totally different impression. In a few seconds you have lost a large part of your work. But at the same time, I saw the strong reaction of your team and the owners of your company. I saw that you have a strong mentality, that you want to come back again. You want to be stronger than in the past. This message is also important for me, for our company, for our important relations because we want to maintain our support and we want to do our best to improve our collaboration.

The picture

At the beginning of the war, in my personal opinion, our Italian media made a lot of confusion and didn’t transfer correctly information to us. They said that this conflict is not that big or Russia made this because they were obliged. Maybe it is because some of them were influenced by some politics or persons related to Russia. 

My cousin is a journalist for La Repubblica newspaper, one of the biggest in Italy. He is in Ukraine since the beginning of this war and he told me the real information. Day by day, I had a correct picture of the situation. He was in the eastern part of Ukraine recently, now he is in Odessa. Every day I tell him to pay attention and to be careful.

The most important

For a long time I have been visiting your country. Today for me it is not easy to be here and accept this situation, as people from your company are real friends of mine. Our owner decided at the beginning of the war to stop immediately our partnership with Russians and I was really happy about this. We understand that today the relations and the quality of this relations with you are more important. 

I looked at all of you and I understand that you are stressed. Maybe you try not to make the manifestation of your mood, but I realise that there is a special secret place in each of you that is now not easy to explain. Because many of your people have lost some colleagues, friends or relatives not because of some life circumstances but because of war. In 2022. 

I was today in a church at the farewell ceremony for your colleague Volodymyr [unfortunately, one of our employees was killed during the battle near Bahmut]. I wanted to say goodbye to him even if I had never met him. It was important to me. 

Ukraine is a unique piece of art and I want Ukraine and your people to be part of my life and I want to have the possibility to come here another way, in a different mood, during the most happy period for all of you. 

With hopes for Stefano’s dream to come true ASAP,

Wine Bureau Team

 

24 August 2022 – Ukraine Independence Day

Dear Friends and Partners, 

Today is the Independence Day of Ukraine. But we do not have the privilege of having national holidays and celebrations now. Exactly six months ago, on 24 February, early in the morning, we were attacked. We, our people, our country, our land are going through an existential war.

Independence Day is always a special day. We have been seeking our independence for too long and now we have to defend it and regain it. For us now it has a new meaning, new understanding and new value. Priceless. We deserve it, we earned it. The New Ukraine is born. The one we cannot lose.

During the entire history of Ukraine, our terroristic neighbour has been trying to prove the non-existence of Ukrainian nationality by various means: from forbidding people to speak Ukrainian to deportation from our own land and massacres; denying our history, erasing the witness of their misery. Finally, in 2022, the imperialist idea has come to its peak, leading to catastrophic results which you all are aware of.

No one could believe the war might last for six months in the middle of Europe in the 21st century. No one expected the Ukrainians to fight back that fiercely and resist. No one could forecast such a long and cruel battle. No one could think of such inhuman behaviour from so-called 'brotherly' people.

The true face is finally revealed. Not the face of only one man, but the face and beliefs of all its people. Unfortunately, domineering ideas are deeply rooted in the minds of Russians, just as feelings of inferiority used to be nurtured in Ukrainian minds by propaganda. However, their desire and route to conquer the world finally woke us up and united Ukraine and the hearts and minds of the entire world devoted to liberty, evolution, dignity, justice and humanity. This war brought an incarnation of the Ukrainian nation, by making us proud of who we are and showing everyone who, how and why Ukraine stands.

They wanted to march in a conquering parade on the central street of Kyiv within 72 hours. They have it – the destroyed machinery of the world’s second-biggest army is now exhibited on the main street of our beloved capital.

We want peace on our Ukrainian lands – from Donbas to Zakarpattia, from Chernihiv to the Sevastopil; we want our country be developed and prosperous in each of its corners; we want to be free Ukrainians and together with the democratic world who supported us celebrate our Victory and Independence Days.

Today it is a symbolic point. We’ve been waiting for this day breathlessly. There is a danger of the most severe air strikes on the cities exactly today. Thus it is forbidden to gather for any celebrations. We can’t be physically united to stand for Ukraine, but our hearts are full of glory.

Glory to Ukraine! 

Sending you our spirit of independent Ukraine,

Always yours,

Wine Bureau Team

27 July 2022 – Ukraine

Dear Partners and Friends,

It has been a long time since our last update and we hope you will excuse us for this. We are always here, simply because it takes all of us to be in the new flow.

New circumstances, new conditions, new rules and new measures. And we face this new reality with new ideas, new routes, new systems, new approaches, new us. New and still the same. We have not lost ourselves, we still keep our values, goals, passion and dreams.

We are moving on, appreciating each day, any step and result. Finally, we have signed all the agreements settling our new main warehouse – our new distribution centre, the new nerve centre of our supply chain. Our phoenix.

It is located in the Kyiv suburbs and, with the cooperation of a small warehouse in Lviv and our own storage facilities within our stores, it will give us enough storage and distribution capacity for a full-scale renewal of the activity on the market. To give you some understanding of it: it is of the same warehouse type as before, it is used by international operators, our section will be 4,000 m2 and, what is extremely important for us, it is all temperature-controlled. Here are some pictures below.

So let the goods flow again!

Always yours,

Wine Bureau Team

New Kyiv warehouse ext
New Kyiv warehouse int

1 July 2022 – Ukraine, fifth month

Dear Friends and Partners,

In the news from Ukraine you all see the most devastated pictures, the continuing atrocities and massive destruction. But what is not properly shown is how common Ukrainians continue their lives by making businesses work, by creating an old atmosphere where it is possible, by making the economy work and bringing back normality.

So today we would like to show you how Wine Bureau lives now, what is still important to us and what the reality is now in Kyiv.

Please, watch the video specially created for you, our dearest friends and simply fantastic people. So follow the link

Since the beginning of the war, we have imported around 330 orders to Ukraine (with about half of the number brought in the last month of June) and by now we have about 6–8 trucks shipped each week. The route from the EU to Lviv and Kyiv is clear. We have kept the main standards of high-quality business, so safety, controlled temperatures and legality are still the main values for us in terms of logistics. 

In June we reached 50% of our regular turnover. Our business activities are now concentrated in Kyiv and the western part of Ukraine, where life is relatively normal. Our charity campaigns cover even occupied territories.

Thank you for helping us to restart our business. We are one step closer to our victory, one step towards the remarkable future of an independent and picturesque Ukraine.

With warmest regards from our home,

Wine Bureau Team

27 June 2022 on Ukraine – day 124

Dear Partners and Friends,

Weekends… how much we all look forward to them to rest, recover, sleep a little longer than usual, and have a lazy sip of coffee in our favourite café. But not any longer, not in Ukraine.

The most horrifying missile attacks now come on weekends, early in the morning, when civilians are the most vulnerable.

This past weekend was particular. There was no time to pull oneself together or enjoy the summer. Our hearts are broken again and again. In addition to the G7 summit starting and a new round of talks between Ukraine and Russia under discussion, it was the weekend of the most severe, massive and devastating missile attacks all over Ukraine in many weeks. No coincidences, definitely. Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Cherkasy, an endless list. Starting from nearly 5.30 am no one could sleep any longer on Saturday. Sirens, explosions and rush. Air strikes were made from three directions, mainly from the territory of Belorussia, Kaspiy and the Black Sea. At least 45 cruise missiles were launched on Saturday night and tens more on Sunday. This time various types of missiles, including the most imprecise as Kh-22s, were used simultaneously to make air defence as difficult as possible.

One military target was among the numerous others. Another World War II memorial is now destroyed and the old complex is partially damaged. Unfortunately, mostly residential areas were under attack.

On Sunday, four of the 14 launched ‘Russian high-precision missiles have reached their strategic military super-important targets in Kyiv’ as proclaimed by the Russian spokesman. These strategically highly important targets are two high-rise residential buildings and a kindergarten in the very heart of the city. The goal is reached – new families, lives, dreams destroyed, new deaths.

Today at 16.37 a big shopping centre in Kremenchug was hit. The area of the fire now is 10,300 m2. It is already reported that the number of civilian victims may reach 1,000. 1,000 people who were trying to live a normal life. This is what the enemy is scared of the most – normality, life.

This is the beginning of the fifth month of this inhuman war. Many difficult days ahead. This won’t break us, this won’t stop us all. We are the frontier of the good side. They continue the war with civilians, violating all the rules of war. They have no honour, humanity, conscience or courage. Russia is the aggressor, the terrorist country, the country sponsor of terrorism. The sooner this status will be recognised, the sooner the victory on the battlefield will come. The victory is the peace. No other way. 

Willing the peace and justice,

Wine Bureau Team from Ukraine

23 June 2022 on Ukraine – day 120

Dear Partners and Friends,

Every day we are surrounded by a continuous news flow full of disturbing messages from Ukraine and all over the world. But today, on 23 June 2022, the European Parliament, with 529 votes (out of 588), adopted a resolution calling on the heads of state or government to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova ‘without delay’.

It is only a resolution to give candidate status and the final decision will be taken during the EU summit in Brussels, which is held today and tomorrow. Whatever further developments would be, it is a huge sign of recognition and support which ought to come exactly now.

Ukraine is a European country that has demonstrated the resilience of its institutions which guarantee democracy, the rule of law, human rights, respect and protection of national minorities. The EU is not only an economic union but, first of all, an ideological union we consider ourselves to be part of and have aimed to be a part of since 1994. But it all goes back to our independence day, when the people of Ukraine decided to reject totalitarianism and take a step towards becoming a part of the modern free democratic civilised world.

Ukraine already meets almost 70% of all norms and standards for joining the European Union. There is still a lot of work to do ahead, fighting corruption, oligarchy and protecting fundamental human rights. A lot of questions arise within the union to the existing rules and structure. And still there is a plan and we will follow it doing utmost to stay the course for our future which we have selected by ourselves, the future we want and we deserve. 

We are proud to be Ukrainians, we are proud to be your partners, we are proud to be a part of the future.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CfJIN2GDhlo/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

Responsibly yours from the centre of Europe,

Wine Bureau Team

17June 2022 on Ukraine – day 114

Dear Friends and Partners,

Though most of us here in Ukraine try to continue our lives, all fighting our own battles, supporting as much as possible our defenders and volunteers, and believing in a brighter future, there are still millions of refugees who ought to leave their homes, as our freedom is still under attack and Ukraine is still under fire.

Around 20% of our beautiful land is still occupied by terrorists. The most fierce warfare is taking place on the front even now, bringing destruction to civil houses, murder of thousands of people, not only soldiers but civilians and kids. Already, 313 children have been killed in this war, which was started by one person but is inalterably supported and carried on by millions.

During 114 days approximately 3,000 bombs were dropped on Ukraine, mostly on the residential parts of the towns and cities. People who ought to flee their homes with a high chance of not having one to return to experience hardship now not only on a physical level but mostly mental and psychological.

'When fireworks sound like gunfire. When sirens sound like screaming. When slamming doors sounds like dropping bombs. Refugees need solidarity and love to help heal the scars of war.'
See this video.

And we would like to express enormous gratitude to all of YOU, who welcomed Ukrainians in your places, villages and towns, who created special web-services for refugees, who shared belongings, who helped Ukrainians to adapt in unknown countries and overcome the hardest memories of all time.

The nation that is being born in a fight is impossible to uproot.

Always with a strong belief in unity with the free world,

Wine Bureau Team  

10 June 2022 on Ukraine – day 107

Dear Partners and Friends,

After a brief pause we write to you as usual bringing attention to us and to Ukraine.

We hope that in the flow of news and global challenges that everyone feels and faces every day, there is still enough room for the uncovered truth about the Russian aggression towards the free world. We are not about politics and manipulation. It is all about freedom, lives, values, future and people. It is all always about people, people with values.   

In one of the rare interviews our co-founder Volodymyr Shapovalov shares his value-oriented outlook. The outlook of light and driving direction for us.

Everything that happens to us is attracted by our thoughts and actions. If our warehouse burned down, then somehow we brought ourselves to this situation, somewhere we did something wrong. Disappointment here is not a working pattern. The working pattern is to accept this and move on.

… The first thing is what we think about, what we believe in, what vibration we send and feel inside.

And we are moving on. Focusing on life and future.

Move on with us and Ukraine.

With positive vibes, 

Wine Bureau Team
 

3 June 2022 on Ukraine – day 100

Dear Partners and Friends,

100 days have already passed since the full-scale outbreak of the war, from the moment Russia attacked defenceless, peaceful cities early in the morning. A hundred days. It is impossible to get used to, impossible to forget. This event of unprecedented scale in Europe led to unprecedented consequences for Ukraine, Europe and the world.

12 million people had to leave their homes. 1.4 million have been deported to Russia. 6.8 million had to leave their country. 2.2 million returned.

4,100 civilians died according to the UN, not including the deaths of 22,000 people in Mariupol. Already 267 children have been killed.

44 million sq m of housing have been destroyed, as well as 23,800 km of roads.

1,123 education facilities and 641 hospitals have been destroyed.

368 cultural sites destroyed. 79 religious buildings, 10 memorials, 17 museums of international and national importance, 21 national monuments and 12 national libraries.

These are verified cases. The total loss is uncountable. The total number of lives broken is uncountable.

This is the way of life Russian power brought to our land, destroying entire cities and reducing regions to ashes.

The world will never be the same again. We will never be the same. But we survived, we stand, the world stands with us and peace will come. There will be a new history, a new development and new lives. It is impossible to forget and the horrors should not be forgotten. Lessons must be learned. The value of every life, freedom and heritage is priceless and should never again be questioned.

Eternal memory to all who gave lives for Ukraine!

Eternal glory to each of our heroes!

Glory to Ukraine!

Wine Bureau Team from Ukraine

1 June 2022 on Ukraine – day 98

Dear Partners and Friends,

Today we would like you to meet our former colleague and friend, Leila. An incredibly energetic and charismatic person, totally in love with bread, pastry, desserts and nice people. A girl with a small croissant tattoo on her arm, dreams about her Ukrainian Crimea. One among many young and beautiful faces we have, but definitely one of the most enthusiastic and brave. Being pregnant and despite the war, Leila never stopped, started volunteering and was at her own front line every day.

Leila, ukraine volunteer

Here is an interview with Leila by Artem Kyzmenchuk for the Guide to Goodwine magazine:

'It's all about people.' How Ukrainian businesses came together during the war to feed 10,000 people every day

Restaurant consultant Leila Tuvaklieva spent the first three days of the war in Kyiv underground. Three days of fear, uncertainty and anticipation. When she was invited to participant in a volunteer project, she agreed immediately. 'It was important to do something, to act, to feel useful. Many people needed it,' was her comment.

She was invited to join the Kyiv Volunteer Charitable Organisation, a volunteer organisation comprised of over 20 restaurants, cafes and bakeries. They prepare food for the military and people in dangerous areas, help with evacuations and run charity kitchens in war-affected areas.

Leila Tuvaklieva, a Ukrainian of the Crimean Tatar origin, worked for five years as the manager of Bakehouse bakery at Good Wine. Now she is the director of the Kyiv Volunteer Charitable Organisation.

'Hi, we are creating a kitchen to prepare free food for people. Are you with us?' The Ukrainian architect Slava Balbek addressed Leila with such an offer. During the first day, his team prepared 1,000 portions of food in his cafe Dubler. Word of mouth has worked – people found out about us. Some wanted to join, others asked for help.

Sitting down and being afraid is the worst thing that can happen in a stressful situation. It is very exhausting and oppressive. When the idea of Kyiv Volunteer project appeared, it became a lifeline for many of us. The Project's participants wake up in the morning knowing that they are needed and that their work is important. This is the best way to deal with stress and the opportunity to help people with your best skills.

In the first week, we were joined by more than 10 restaurants and bakeries like Bakehouse bakery by Good Wine and Mimosa bakery. In two weeks we had reached a record high of more than 14,000 portions of meals per day. We were cooking for hospitals, maternity hospitals and orphanages, charitable foundations for the elderly people Zhythelub and Starenki, the armed forces of Ukraine, territorial defence forces.

Four to five times a week in a large convoy we take food and humanitarian aid to the Kyiv region. Now villages liberated from Russian occupation have no electricity, water or gas, and people cannot cook anything. We just give people food for free.

Organisation World Central Kitchen covers the cost of food prepared by seven restaurants in our group. Its founder, Jose Andres, came to Ukraine and took part in food delivery. This help from World Central Kitchen is extremely important because we can pay volunteers at least some money.

We prepare simple dishes. For the military, it is porridge, meat, vegetables and fruits. We baked sweets for children and an Easter Paska to deliver to people. Bakehouse bakes 400 to 500 loaves of bread per day, we add it to food portions or take loaves to places where there are problems with bread. Additionally, Honey Bakery works with us. They bake bread and make sweets. It was once estimated that we are currently preparing food for five million a month.

Now we have 345 volunteers working in the kitchen. More than 100 drivers deliver food in Kyiv and the Kyiv region. In total, the Kyiv Volunteers already have more than 500 people.

Pavlo Poltorakin, co-head of coffee shop Yellow Place and head of the wine bar Sabotage Wine Garage, found those who wanted to help us abroad. I was also contacted by guys from Weingut Edgar Brutler (Austria), whom I helped with the translation at the SuperNatural Wine Festival in Kyiv. In the first days of the war, we had nothing and they sent us 10 tons of cereals, food, food packaging and hygiene products.

In addition to food, we tried to help with the evacuation of people from the war zone. One of the most difficult things was the evacuation of people from Chernihiv, which was heavily shelled in March. The road bridge was bombed and we took people by car from the pedestrian bridge. People called us, asked for evacuation, and they had to go to the bridge under fire. No one could guarantee that a person would reach the bridge and our cars.

The war changed all of us, exposed the problems in Ukraine, made the world more contrasted. People are focused on the key things. We help strangers as if they were our own relatives because they are our people, Ukrainians. We did not know the names of our neighbours. Now, the value of relationships, the value of life, the value of time has grown for each of us.

Recently we arrived in the Ivankivsky district, 70 km from Kyiv. Now it's a humanitarian catastrophe there including problems with food. I think that when the war ends, I will continue volunteering because now we know about the problems and we know how to solve them.

One girl from the Slava Balbek team who went to eastern Ukraine to work as a paramedic, asked for help in finding a car. We made a post on Instagram and the next day the other girl came to us and said, 'here is 100,000 UAH for a car for doctors'. We had tears in our eyes when we realised that this was her savings.

None of us from the Kyiv Volunteer team had volunteer experience until February 2022. We lived a different life; we earned money, loved, made friends, drank wine. Sometimes we miss that life. But this is a short-lived sadness. We see what incredible people we have, how much strength we have, and sadness disappears. Imagine, we have a choirmaster in our team who delivers food, and there are also actors, artists, and singers. Incredible people.

Many of us feel anger and despair that the war has come to Ukraine. But this is righteous anger – it motivates us. We want to change the situation for the better. There is also a feeling of emptiness. We have all hardened. This is probably a protective function of the body; otherwise we would not be able to do our job. I think that after the war we will require help from our psychotherapists for a long time to unlock our sensual aspects.

I realised that people are everything. Nothing is impossible for a person with an open heart. I would never have thought that I could manage so many people, restaurants, bakeries. It turned out that nothing is impossible.

For more information and donations, please, visit https://www.kyiv-volunteer.com or donate directly to the accounts below.

Support Kyiv Volunteer (USD account):

IBAN: UA173052990000026005036804535
USREO Code: 44671773
Beneficiary: BLAGODIYNYY FOND KYIV VOLONTERS'KYY BLAGODIYNA ORGANIZACIYA (Charity Organization)
Payment destination: Charity

Support Kyiv Volunteer (EUR account):

IBAN: UA453052990000026000006807727
USREO Code: 44671773
Beneficiary: BLAGODIYNYY FOND KYIV VOLONTERS'KYY BLAGODIYNA ORGANIZACIYA (Charity Organization)
Payment destination: Charity

BTC: bc1qsqlzz853z0as2nhdwkkeps3aedwyjtjsrzk5rz
ETC: 0x4D52A7f7e22C2627c121a8A04899885960ccD991
BNB: bnb1zkyhfhaw3a7lkf4r95a53eupy3u8jnyn0wutzm

30 May 2022 on Ukraine – day 96

Dear Partners and Friends,

Each year the last Sunday of May, we celebrate the Day of Kyiv. Yesterday, our beautiful capital had its 1,540th birthday. Kyiv has grown to become one of Europe's largest capitals, something we are particularly proud of today.

And Kyiv is coming back to life. Many of its citizens have already returned to their homes.

The embassies have also returned to the city. More than 40 embassies have restored their full activities. Among them are France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, the USA, even Switzerland, and so on. What a statement, what a show of support, which is greatly appreciated.

We wish you all could see Kyiv in person, so to fall a little in love with its ancient and modern, cosy and energetic freedom-atmosphere. For those who have not visited us yet, here we invite you to watch a small preview of our capital.

Looking forward to welcoming you all to Kyiv,

Wine Bureau Team

23 May 2022 on Ukraine – day 89

Dear Partners and Friends,

After a brief break, we are back. It was an intense week for us and our country.

Despite all the circumstances we have finally participated in international and the most important in wine industry exhibitions since the beginning of the war. This was a true breath of inspiration and normality, incredible emotions, an enormous flow of communication.

It had a particular meaning for us as a company. You, together with our team, are one of our most valuable assets. We do our best to keep in contact, communicate, be totally open with our partners and bring our message in person. Symbolically, it was like a proof that we are in business, life goes on, and there are a lot of things to be done in the future.

Thank you for standing with us, reading us, supporting us and Ukraine. It was a great pleasure to see you and we will be looking for new opportunities to meet again, especially with those who were not at Prowein.

Thank you for the efficient conversations and all the agreements reached. Initially we had hope, now we have confidence in restoration. With your aid the new life cycle will come sooner. You can rely on us. Each day we will be selflessly working as much as possible to make it happen, confronting all the challenges. We are brave and determined to have peace, life and our beautiful country back.

Be brave like Ukraine!

Faithfully yours,

Wine Bureau Team

12 May 2022 From tomorrow, Friday 13 May 2022, we will unpin this article in recognition of the reduced frequency of these wonderful bulletins from the front line of this European tragedy but this does not signal any lack of concern and support for Ukraine and Ukrainians.

11 May on Ukraine – day 77

Dear Partners and Friends,

We are sending you a personal update from one of the founders of our company and director Dmitry Krimsky below.

Additionally, from our side, we would like to announce that from now on the day-to-day letters with updates will be sent a couple of days per week only. We need to focus our energy on the soonest recovery and restart of all the activities of our company. Hope you understand. But this also means that we will be in touch with you more closely on some business issues.

Dear Partners,

I would like to do an update on the Wine Bureau situation.

Hopefully, thanks to our brave girls (sometimes men also participate) you receive our news almost every day. First of all, we restore all operations today. Some business units are more influenced by the war (HoReCa is an example) and of course, we have a lack of products in stock, especially in wines and spirits, but also in food.

In April we did 36% of our normal turnover and in the mid summer are planning to reach 50–60%. We managed to get a loan from one government bank with a good interest rate. And we are working on the procedure of payments for wines abroad, what has been forbidden since the beginning of war.

In March we paid salaries only to the employees who were working (150 out of 850).

Thanks to your financial help in April we paid everyone. Working employees got €600–€1000 net and those not working €300–€500. You can understand how important that is. Thank you once again for your generous donations.

In May we plan to use 50% of our margin for salaries in order to increase these amounts.

All top managers and some key employees have refused salaries since the beginning of the war. All the major owners of the Wine Bureau are in Kyiv.

We did not pay taxes in March and April (however we did some prepayment before) and Wine Bureau has restarted to pay everything since May. That is very important for our country now.

With great regret, I inform you that we have confirmation of one death among Wine Bureau employees. Andrey Dvornikov was shot down in Bucha by Russian soldiers. He was a civilian, working as a driver in the logistics department. More than 30 of our employees serve in the Ukrainian army now and we pray that all of them return home alive and not wounded.

I know that a lot of you are going to be at Prowein soon. The Wine Bureau will be represented by a small group too. I would like to ask you to give full support to Olga, Dasha, Irina, Ighor and Valentin. It’s very difficult for them to fully concentrate on business while the war is still there. Through them all the Wine Bureau team will feel your energy.

Glory to Ukraine!

Dmitry Krimsky
Wine Bureau co-founder

Keeping in touch,

Wine Bureau Team
 

9 May on Ukraine – day 75

Dear Partners and Friends,

On 8 and 9 May we celebrate the Day of Victory over Nazism. We do remember and honour each one.

We ought to celebrate but there is no peace in here yet. The sirens never stopped all over Ukraine, one of the most severe attacks on the residential areas of Odessa took place, one more cathedral and national museum in ruins, new civil victims and separated families, the blocked cities suffer from the reborn evil.

And still these days have new significance to all of us. Our land and people heroically go through again this painful path. This is not a war of two armies. We are free people who have their own path. We have never fought against anyone. We always fight for ourselves. Again with our allies we stand for humanity, freedom, future and new victory. We have no doubt that we will win. Soon there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine.

Congratulations on the Victory Day over Nazism!

Glory to Ukraine!

Together we will win again! 

Wine Bureau Team
 

6 May on Ukraine – day 72

Dear Friends and Partners, 

The aggressor-country has, by now, sent over 2,000 rockets on to the territory of independent Ukraine. Each Ukrainian region has already suffered from air raids, even the most western parts of our country. Thousands of houses have been destroyed, tens of thousands of families left without their homes and their memories. And there is no certainty for them whether they will have a chance to rebuild something or when it may be possible.  

We would like to share with you another story of a person whose family lost their home – Nikita Zakrutnyi, one of the youngest purchasing managers in our team, who also felt quite early the true significance of family heritage and traditions to be fundamental for the future.

Is it possible to expect the outbreak of a full-scale war in 2022? 'Of course not', I argued on 23 February. Yet, history has its own plans.

On 24 February, as a family, we were still trying to recover from the first shock – the shock of the beginning of the war, explosions in the middle of the night, uncertainty. During the early days, we were hiding in the air-raid shelter to protect ourselves. In the meantime, many of our family friends were already in other settlements (cities, towns and villages) or on their way to safe places. We had a plan B – our country house located 25 km north of Kyiv. It seemed to us that hiding from military actions in a small village was safer than being in the capital, which was the main target of invaders. At some point, my mom started to insist on staying in Kyiv after all. We decided to trust the woman's intuition.

On 5 March the Ukrainian army was already standing on the territory of our village, 2 km from the enemy. The fighting began. A dozen families remained in that village, but some were leaving every day. The rest of the families were left without electricity, mobile service and limited food supply. They rarely managed to charge phones from generators and were risking their lives to go higher or to an open area to inform their families and neighbours about the situation by phone. Our neighbour stayed there almost until the very last.

The situation was getting tense. On one of the following days, a shell fell into our yard (as well as into many others), damaging our windows, the glass in our neighbour’s house and car with shrapnel. In the dead of night, terrible explosions were heard nearby. The neighbour was writing death notes. The next morning (10 March) he decided to take the risk of leaving towards Kyiv despite the great danger. He brought nothing with him but his cats and a local street dog that he sheltered in his house (afterwards we took that dog to care for). In tattered and old clothes, in a car without windows, he managed to break through to Kyiv. Immediately after we met our neighbour and he told us everything about the situation in the village. It was incredibly upsetting to find out about the damage, but at least our houses were intact and the neighbour managed to get out. After getting herself together, my mom said, ‘Well, lightning never strikes the same place twice’.

A couple of days later our house was gone. Direct hit. The house was almost totally destroyed. There was no roof, the second floor fell through, all the inner walls were destroyed. ‘The house became the Colosseum ruins’, says dad. Everything inside burned out. To ashes. Nothing left. Everything that could burn, burned down. Everything that could melt, melted into entire large pieces of glass or metal. All things, furniture, appliances burned down. The explosion was so powerful that pieces of our house flew apart around the neighbourhood. Bricks and pieces of the roof could be found in the neighbours’ yards. Even our furniture that flew out in the explosion was lying around. Somewhere you could find pieces of Dad's childhood photos… A heavy loss. Parents lost a part of their lives, lost their place of inspiration, lost their home and sense of security. They could not recover for a long time.

My dad and granddad started building that house 30 years ago with their own hands, brick by brick. For a couple of years, they were building a dream house based on their financial and physical possibilities. The house where you can come not only for a weekend, but also live all the time, welcome guests, enjoy life, raise children and grandchildren. Every summer me, my brothers and sisters spent our childhood in that country house and lately my parents lived there most of the year. My father and grandfather may have laid the first brick of the new house 30 years ago and now I’m going to do that with my dad. History repeats itself. Yet, unfortunately, we paid a high price. I truly believe that we will rebuild it soon. A new home means a new beginning for my family. And it will be an amazing story. And all of that peaceful past will remain in our memories.

Restoring for the future,

Wine Bureau Team

5 May on Ukraine – day 71

Dear Partners and Friends,

From the first minutes of the war, the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, was a direct target. The Russian troops from the territory of Belorussia made an active breakthrough, trying to surround and cut off the city. The destruction of the city's vital infrastructure was among the strategies of the invasion. The bombing was concentrated on the key transport interchanges and warehouses. Especially the warehouses.

Kyiv and satellite cities were home to around 7 million people. Such a big city requires developed infrastructure and constant supply. The system needs to work with no delay to ensure people have what they need and when they need it. While huge numbers of civilians under fire were trying to escape the city, creating huge traffic jams and trying to get to the train, at least 3.5 million remained in the city. But the city was not able to function any more in the regular way. Especially during the first days when people started recovering from the first shock of the new reality, figuring out what to do, they found out that the new supply of food to Kyiv was impossible. When you no longer have access to basic necessities, you experience a new level of fear and desperation. The entire country was struggling, and this was an unseen front of the retailers, drivers, warehouse operators and ordinary people who were risking their lives to bring food, medicine and other basic products to the citizens. In order not to let the panic defeat us first, in order to avoid the humanitarian crisis.

Definitely, Kyiv was not the only city living in this horror, and to our pain, there are still some. But Kyiv is not only the capital but also the centre of everything. The country's geographical centre, commercial centre, logistical centre and distribution centre. All the main warehouses were concentrated around Kyiv, from where the goods were further distributed all over Ukraine.

Not only did we, the Wine Bureau, lose our main stock, which was located at the A-rate warehouse complex of a total of 100,000 m2. Among our biggest companions in misfortune are Watsons, Bacardi-Martini, Campari, Bohnenkamp, SAVService and cargos of some logistics operators. The overall losses reached over €45.8.

Despite the fact that the warehouses as vital infrastructure are protected by the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, about 400,000 m2 around Kyiv were destroyed or damaged. This is 20% of all warehouse space in Kyiv and the region. For instance, the aggressor destroyed a large Komodor logistics park (68,621 m2) near Kyiv, which burned €46.7 million in medicines and raw materials of one pharmaceutical company. The losses of other lessees are still unknown. Some warehouses and supply chains are not able to keep fully operational activity, it is impossible either to bring the goods or to send them out. ATB Corporation, for example, was left without access to half of the distribution centres – four out of eight warehouses do not work. 

Due to the destruction of warehouses, operators are forced to build new logistics chains. Companies partially decentralise supply and warehousing. Now there are almost no free storage places in the west of the country. There were not enough warehouses in the capital market and within the region before the war. Now it all depends on how fast the consumption recovery will take place.

Recently, we finally got access to our warehouse and had the possibility to look inside by ourselves. This is what the other side of the war looks like.

Destruction of Kyiv warehouse image 1 of 3
Destruction of Kyiv warehouse 2 of 3 showing melted wine glass
Destruction of Kyiv warehouse 3 of 3 showing piles of charred wine bottles

Rising from the ashes, Wine Bureau Team
 

4 May on Ukraine – day 70

Dear Friends and Partners,

On the 70th day of the war we would like to draw attention to our valued co-operation with you. We highly appreciate each letter with warm words, each financial support provided, each discount issued, each prolonged payment term, each case and pallet of humanitarian aid. This has been helping us during all the wartime days, and it also encouraged us to further fight for our future.

When, on 3 March, our warehouse was hit by a Russian missile, the smoke from this fire covered the capital and did not scatter for several days. This was not only the main warehouse of ours, the main logistics centre, but it was our history of 15 years, one of the main assets of the Wine Bureau company. Of course, it was insured, but no insurance covers the risks of war.

Thus, many of our competitors considered our company as one that would not survive, dreaming of taking over our market share and brands. Yet most of you have known us for many years, we never give up. Like a phoenix, the Wine Bureau rises from the ashes and continues its mission. We are alive, we will further present the best wines and spirits in Ukraine, as well as the best fine food.

We have already imported few trucks. And this is only the beginning. And, as usual, we are among those first and few businesses renewing import activity. And that is all possible thanks to your involvement and support.

Step by step, we are getting in touch with all of our partners to discuss our current collaboration and potential new orders. We are working on all possible scenarios and best possible options under new circumstances.

The Wine Bureau stands and rises, no doubt. As well as the whole Ukraine.

The new most successful startup at launch,

Wine Bureau Team
 

3 May on Ukraine – day 69

Dear Friends and Partners,

We are all waiting for this war to become a memory, a dreadful and hideous one. Psychologically this will be difficult to bear for each and everyone, but the heaviest burden will be for the smallest heroes of Ukraine – children. For them to overcome this experience it becomes a real challenge.

These days more and more kids suffer from panic attacks and other mental health issues. And the most widespread problem occurs with hearing. Kids simply refuse to hear more sounds of bombing or sirens. Their brains as self preservation switch off such a capability.

Liuda Kovalchuk, head of our private client department, visited several different otolaryngologists with her boy, who at one moment simply stopped hearing. Finally, they were prescribed by specialists to leave the country so as to eliminate the stress. A true patriot who had no intention of leaving Ukraine should have fled the country to restore her children's hearing. Luckily, after a month of staying abroad and maximum distraction from what is happening at home, the child got back his ability to hear. 

We hope all children will be able to see the new and flourishing Ukraine soon, hear birds singing, and feel peaceful and joyful life moving on. We hope their memories will be distant and their wounds healed by the new life and bright future. Like this https://www.instagram.com/p/Cc2veLbD25X/

So with this letter we also wanted to send our special thanks to those of you who welcomed families with children, who helped them to get over their fear of being attacked, who helped kids to enter local schools and kindergartens so they could socialise, who helped them to restart living their childhood again, who helped them smile. You are saving not only these families, but you are saving the future.

With dreams for a peaceful future,

Wine Bureau Team
 

2 May on Ukraine – day 68

Dear Partners and Friends,

We are in May now.

The last week was full of honour dates, the dates of the events that we all would love to forget. But at the same time the date which are important to remember, study, and ensure that the past does not repeat itself in the future.

Monday 25 April – Liberation Day from Nazis

Tuesday 26 April – Chernobyl disaster memorial day

Friday 27 April – International Holocaust Remembrance Day

But all these outrages are back in our lives, newsfeeds, and emotional daily conversations.

The missile attacks, information on victims, fierce battles, and sabotaged civilian evacuations have kept us on edge for the past week. And still, the week is over with the first evacuation from Mariupol in ruins. Finally, after all the negotiations and attempts from all over the world, the first 100 people were liberated. We are praying that the ongoing operation will be terminated by the salvation of all the remaining people.

The month of May starts on May Day or Labour Day, as a tribute to strong and free people, people standing for their rights. The day for all of us.

Then comes Victory Day. As well as the victory itself one day.

With many memories and hope,

Wine Bureau Team
 

29 April on Ukraine – day 65

Dear All,

We are Wine Bureau, a Ukrainian company that has been developing the market of healthy products and wine culture in Ukraine for the last 15 years.

One day, we changed the rules of the game: we started importing wines directly from producers and setting fair prices on the Ukrainian market.

There were thousands of wines in our collection. For years we collected 'stars' for which the whole world stood in line. Most of them were burned during the fire due to Russia's military actions in Ukraine (estimated amount of damage: €15 million).

Despite this, during the two months of the war, we spent about UAH 5 million of the company's funds on helping the population; we brought over 500 tons of humanitarian aid generously provided by our suppliers from all over Europe to the regions most affected. We continue to carry out our mission. And we want to be able to continue to do so, as well as support 800+ of our employees and their families.

That's why we're launching an NFT project with a history on behalf of the wines that were burned in our warehouse due to an enemy missile hit. We invite you to share the information about the auction or even participate in it: it will last for seven days, until the end of 6 May.

Please follow this link.

Modern art for the sake of life and freedom.

Non stopping Wine Bureau Team.
 

29 April – a change from the usual inspiring despatch from the Wine Bureau Team of Goodwine.

My name is Anna Milian, I was born in Kyiv, Ukraine. My father is from Lviv and my mother from Mariupol. I am a translator turned restaurant owner and live in Madrid. I am currently enrolled in the WSET Diploma course. This is what I would like to share.

In early February my cousin Gala and I were tasting some outstanding Malvasia at Adega Viúves Gomes winery in Colares, about an hour outside of Lisbon. We had toured the area quite a bit by this point, but it was definitively the highlight of our day. There is always something magical about being in a quiet and peaceful cellar, one on one with the winemaker and his creations. I was (as I always am) looking for new wines to add to my restaurant’s list in Madrid, and my cousin, who was visiting from Ukraine, decided to come along. The experience had fascinated her so much that on our way back to Lisbon she enrolled in WSET Level 2, which she was to start in Kyiv a few weeks later, on Saturday 26 February. Two days before, Russia invaded Ukraine. 

When I look back on those first weeks everything is a grey blur. It’s a horrible thing to have to call your father and hold your breath not knowing if he will pick up because you have just read in the news that the place he was at when you last spoke to him two hours before has been hit by two missiles; to have to feel your heart shudder at the thought of your elderly and ill grandparents being left without electricity or heating or food; to have friends tell you they cannot flee from the bombing because there is no gasoline to be found, or that they cannot reach loved ones who are being held hostage in a city or town under siege. The impotence one feels at such moments is all-consuming. This is the reality of millions of people today in Ukraine.

Since then it has become clear that Ukraine simply will not allow Russia to have its way, and over the course of these past two months I have felt the pride in my heart grow as I observed the strength, determination and dignity of my people, who I know will fight until victory is obtained.

Gala and I have made a pact to return to Viúva Gomes once the war has ended to be reminded that at the end of even the darkest night, there will always be light.

Thank you for your interest. 
 

28 April on Ukraine – day 64

Dear Partners and Friends,

According to UN data, approximately 5.2 million people were forced to flee Ukraine in search of safety and temporary shelter. Families divided, all their lives packed in a few suitcases. 5.2 million broken hearts and desperate minds think about their homeland and loved ones all the time. Many have found nice places to stay and met wonderful people with infinite hearts, but it is hard to see the beauty around, hard to find peace inside, hard to have a normal life while knowing that somewhere someone is living a nightmare. People living through the war outside have a constant gnawing feeling of guilt.

Some more thoughts in the first person below, from Anna E Yanchenko, wine journalist and book author.

Last weekend, my friends and I participated in a big charity market tribute to Ukraine in Tbilisi. All the money gathered on that day should go to various charity funds in Ukraine. 

The sun was bright, the weather was splendid, and the wind was spreading the aromas of blossoming trees. There were people from different countries and Ukrainian refugees from various regions: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Mariupol, etc. Some were selling goods for Ukraine, and some were buying them. People were smiling, children were playing games, and everybody seemed relieved. I was helping to sell Georgian natural wines, which four Georgian wineries donated. I smiled a lot, being glad to be helpful. But at some moment, I understood that something had gone wrong. I felt guilty. It was like a pit in my stomach that would not go away.

Moms with little children feel guilty for leaving the country and being far away from home. ‘I feel ashamed to be here, in safety, while in Ukraine, women have to give birth in bomb shelters’, said one of them.

Those gathering tons of medical aid as volunteers felt guilty about not ‘doing enough’. ‘I could gather more, and I need to work harder!’, said one of my friends.

Those volunteering as drivers, helping Ukrainian women cross the Polish border, and then bringing cars for the army on their way home to Ukraine felt the same. ‘I feel guilty for having even necessary sleep, but it is impossible to skip this moment due to safety.’

Those from territorial defence felt guilty about spending days without fighting. Even soldiers – I have several friends in the army now – declared feeling guilt and shame about not doing enough for our country.

All of us feel proud of the bravery and attitude of other Ukrainians, but not of ourselves. We are proud of our army, we feel inspired by territorial defences, and we are amazed and encouraged by volunteers who sacrifice their lives to help other people. Also, we are grateful and pleased with the thousands of people who spend all their time and energy cooking for soldiers and refugees. We are left speechless by those who donate all they have to the army's needs…

But despite all this, all of us, deep inside, feel guilty.

We become even more ashamed that we did so little while they were out doing so much, and then our shame becomes guilt, and then guilt transforms into worries that our shame is overshadowing our gratitude. It's a vicious cycle.

I hope someday we will all understand that our country owes its victory to each small, even tiny effort of all of us. And I dream this perpetual nagging feeling of guilt finally disappears ‘like the dew before the sun’. You mightn’t know that this phrase refers to our national anthem, so we can manage it, I am sure:

‘Glorious spirit of Ukraine shines and lives forever.
Blessed by Fortune, brotherhood will stand up together.
Like the dew before the sun, enemies will fade,
We will further rule and prosper in our promised land.’

Beating heart of Wine Bureau Team with all Ukrainians
 

27 April on Ukraine – day 63

Dear Partners and Friends,

The war has brought a lot of challenges, and a lot of challenges are ahead.

The country, life and all the processes must be restored, and some must be rebuilt from the ground up.

The supply chain is not an exception. On the contrary, the supply chain is the cardiovascular system for any country, similar to any organism. It makes people, goods and aid flow and fill the economy, putting everything in motion. This is one of our competencies, and this is what we are all working on, finding new routes.

Seaports accounted for the lion's share of exports, with over 70% of all cargo worth about $47 billion. The situation is similar in import of goods. With the start of the war, ports closed and export/import opportunities fell by more than half. Ports are blocked by the Russian fleet and anti-ship mines. Hundreds of thousands of tons of cargo were trapped in ports. Some managed to be taken out by road and rail, others were under fire or captured by the Russian military.

Ukraine has lost control over four ports: Mariupol, Berdiansk, Skadovsk and Kherson. At the beginning of the war, there were about 300,000 tons of cargo in the ports that were lost or sent to Russia. Anyway, Ukraine controls the largest ports, which account for more than 85% of sea freight turnover: Mykolaiv, Olbia, Odessa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi. But the sea is mined. The recalcitrant dark waters of the Black Sea are already periodically throwing sea mines onto their shores. It will take time to make it safe again.

Ports are working to 'return' the goods; businesses can only export their goods by road and rail. The war created some opportunities for growth in three small ports at the mouth of the Danube: Izmail, Reni and Ust-Danube. They previously accounted for slightly less than 5% of exports. Now these are the only three ports out of 13 that can fully operate.

Due to the port blockade, the economy is losing about $170 million every day.

The restoration of the ports is a critical condition for the launch of the Ukrainian economy. We are not wasting time and are working on the diversification of logistics chains. A new role and revival may have a railway connection. But it's a supply chain. Everything is interconnected, and all other crossing ports of Europe and the world on the way must be also ready. Presently they are not.

Everything is connected. As the law of chaos says the heartbeat of wings of a butterfly can provoke a cyclone in another part of the world.

Thinking of future,

Wine Bureau Team
 

26 April on Ukraine – day 62

Dear Partners and Friends,

The war came suddenly to all of us, no matter whether one was an advocate for no war at all or the opposite. It is impossible to get really prepared for such drastic changes in your life.

It is deadly tough for those who were caught by the first air strikes at home. And anyway, it is tough for those caught by war far away from home, being detached, isolated, and feeling even more helpless than anyone.

Today we share some thoughts by Anna E Yanchenko, a sommelier, a wine journalist pursuing an MSc degree in sensory analysis and dreaming to get back home.

I have worked in a whimsical wine universe for a decade, trying to somehow develop wine culture in Ukraine's fierce world of strong alcohol. My work was all about an abundance of tastes and aromas. My primary idea was to guide people to wine mindfulness and share prospects for improving the quality of their lives.

Blah-blah-blah… all those words lost their actuality two months ago. And I wasn't prepared for it.

I was blind and stupid enough to take my vacation and leave my country three days before the Russian invasion began. I am now in Tbilisi, Georgia. To be more precise – in the Kakheti wine region. Georgia is well known for being a homeland of wine. To improve my proficiency, I was supposed to spend my time here tasting thousands of Saperavi, Rkatsiteli and wines from the other 521 indigenous grape varieties.

Brand new reality brought new challenges, and now my life consists of scrolling the news, sending money to the army, searching for turnstiles, blood-stopping supplies and medical supplies for the military, and finding temporary shelter for people I don't even know. And waiting for answers from my parents and brother in Kharkiv. They refused to leave their city (oh, you really can't imagine how terrifying it can be to simply wait...).

Surprisingly, for the first time in 10 years, instead of my wine knowledge thousands of acquaintances came in handy. Unsurprisingly, most of them are from the wine world. It is so silly to understand that the critical questions for me and my colleagues really used to be like 'what grape variety do you prefer?' or 'which wine style is your favourite?' Questions like that have totally lost their actuality now since those new standards of life or, to put it better, survival have emerged.

A family of refugees from Mariupol shared their experience with us while spending some days here in Tbilisi. If I could, I'd prefer not to know how to spend 20 days in the basement drinking water from melted snow or from a heating radiator… or how it is to spend your days and nights sharing the same basement with a screaming guy with an injured hand. And after some days, sharing that very basement with the corpse of this exact same guy.

I'd really prefer not to know all that stuff, but I have no choice. I can't simply close my eyes. Likewise, I can't pretend there is no war, that Russia is not killing and raping innocent people, that there is no genocide on the Ukrainian nation, and that my family is not in danger every second.

But what I can do is use my social capital to locate what is needed and come back home as soon as possible to start working hard on the renovation of my peaceful and fruitful country.

I wait for the war to stop, and I also have a dream which supports me. You may find it rather superficial, but… accidentally, before leaving Kyiv, I left a bottle of champagne in my fridge. 

And the first thing I will do when I come back home is open that bottle of Gosset and drink a glass while watching the city and remembering all the Ukrainian soldiers and innocent people who sacrificed themselves for our victory.

Of course, it will be possible only if I find my home untouched, which may be in doubt. What I have no doubts about is that our Victory is coming up.

Sincerely yours,

Wine Bureau Team

 

25 April on Ukraine – day 61

Dear Partners and Friends,

On the 61st day since the beginning of the war the third month has now begun. It is quite a symbolic Monday after Easter, the celebration of revival and the future.

Our flagship store Goodwine in Kyiv has been open almost all the time since the beginning of the Russian attack on Ukraine, with reduced working hours in order to ensure a safe way home for the employees before the curfews. Our brave and enthusiastic boys and girls were doing everything possible to fulfil their mission: to keep the infrastructure of the city, to feed the life of it and to maintain a place of stability for many people. And we succeeded.

Despite all the challenges our country and our businesses are going through, now we feel quite confident that we are moving to the new stage – revival. New times, new system, new approaches, new supply chains, new stock, maximum speed. We are basically a start-up company again now, a big family who is reuniting for a big new goal and a new, prosperous future for all of us in the new world.     

Two of the three Goodwine stores and two BadBoy stores are now open from 10 am till 8 pm all week long. Sales of wines and spirits are only permitted until 4 pm. Distribution and the on-trade are mostly on hold, having renewed co-operation only with several big partners. This is only the beginning. The stores are only achieving 40% of their usual sales compared with figures from the same period last year. 

Definitely, that it is not so much. But it is already huge. And we see positive trends every day. We create positive trends.

There are still a lot of challenges ahead. But we are good at challenges. Challenges accepted!

The Reviving Wine Bureau Team
 

22 April on Ukraine – day 58

Dear Partners and Friends,

A sense of humour is just common sense, but dancing. So true. So needed these days.

Below, we send you today a brief diary of our colleague Anna Kulish. Anna is a category manager for low-alcohol and no-alcohol beverages, а true beer lover and connoisseur, one of the few in continuous search of new tasting palates, who surprisingly on the last day of peace chose wine over beer.

23 February 2022 

10.00 pm still sitting in the office with my colleagues, as if celebrating regular Friday, drinking quietly a bottle of wine (ok, not so quietly), debating that there will be no war for sure and my friend Masha is just persuading me not to take my laptop home as tomorrow we’ll definitely come to the office, drink coffee and start our regular one more incredible working day.

24 February 2022 

5.00 am the fastest wake-up ever, ‘the best’ hangover recipe. Hundreds of unread SMSs. Bomb sound. When you say that you are at a loss, this is comparably nothing in fact. You simply have a thousand thoughts in your head and at the same time no thoughts at all. 

7.30 am My husband decided to go to work, I decided to make a soup. We had no plans to leave. Come on! War with bombs and ruined houses and deaths in 2022… no way. 

10.30 am I decided to go to the office myself, my computer is there (you remember). I helped with packing clients’ purchases at a cash desk. In an hour my husband called me and asked to come home.

Everyone in the underground was with that ‘alarm’ luggage that I had been laughing at as I had been so sure that there was no need to pack it. What for?! 

1.00 pm I was in a rush packing 2 sports suits for me, husband and the cat. We left Kyiv to a village which is just after Boryspil where my husband’s family lives.

4.00 pm on the way to our destination there were challenges to get petrol, the queues were huge. Everywhere. No one knew what to expect.

We came to say hello to Masha (you remember, from yesterday’s party. She also rescued her computer, no worries). And just said ‘see you soon’ with no understanding how long this ‘soon’ would last.

7.00 pm finally, we arrived at the village, still without knowing what was going to happen. Scrolling all possible resources and news. 

I’m not sure, but it seems that I wore the same sport suit for some days. You slept in it to be ready to run out of the house, you wore it in fear going to the bathroom, as the sirens wail, of course, in that very moment when you plan to go there. I also don’t remember when that day was over, the next day, or in a week or two, but it was the longest day of my life.

25 February to 4 March 2022 

Unconscious days, you can’t sleep, for a few days we’re there was no bread in the shops, long queues in the supermarket, my husband is in the territorial defence, he is on duty every second night as well as every man in the village holding weapons. Would never believe it could happen in my life. Some of my friends are leaving, others consider those leaving as betrayers. Psychologically it was a very difficult time.

On Friday evening, 4 March, my husband came home and told that Russians were approaching and that I with his sister needed to run. He as well as another man of the family stayed, being ready to defend our country. 

5 March 2022

Me, my cat, the sister of my husband, who is pregnant by the way, her mother and three children sat in a car and drove away. God only knows where. That day it seemed that all the people were leaving, as we drove the two-hour distance in ten hours. The most dangerous part was crossing the bridge. Only one car at the same time was allowed to pass it and only at maximum possible speed. We stopped at the house of the most welcoming person in my life in Kaniv, my cat decided to make this stay memorable for everyone and broke a huge plant. On top of all I got a fever of 37.8 the next morning.

6 March 2022 

There was no exact route as the situation was changing, so you needed to change your route constantly. But I saw on the map that we potentially could cross Zhytomyr, the place where my parents live, the place that was bombed from the beginning, but I asked to leave me and the cat there. By that time the cat had changed 4 houses during 1.5 weeks, shocked was not a proper word to describe his state. For the second part of the group, we decided that they need to go abroad as it will be more safe for children.

7–31 March 2022 

They say that there is no place like home. It is true! 

And that's when homeland needs our support!

My husband jokes about how well I had planned my March away from home: during 7–19 March in the USA for ExpoWest and 26–29 March at the beer attraction in Rimini. And so it happened that for the entire March I was out of Kyiv. But not there where I planned. Make your wishes in the proper way!

My dear beer suppliers, I promise to come and see you next year!

1 April 2022

10.00 am my heart started beating again. I came back to Kyiv, I came to Goodwine, to my home, back to life, not my regular one, but still life that I will start building from the beginning. A person could not be happier than me, and it is not an April joke. 

It is still war in my country, horrible and heartbreaking news from all parts, no one knows when there will be an end to this, but everyone hopes for the best!

PS You may wonder how my soup from the day of 24 February is doing? No worries. No biological threat any more. My husband was lucky enough to come home after one month and clean it. 

PPS I’m grateful for every single person who helped, asked how we were, prayed and was ready to help!

Glory to Ukraine!

Wine Bureau Team, with common sense and in good spirits.

21 April on Ukraine – day 57

Dear Friends and Partners,

Bread is the staff of life. It is called as a gift from God, breadwinner, the head of everything. No important event is celebrated without bread in Ukraine. The table is empty without bread.

No need to emphasise how essential this product is for Ukrainians in the period of war. Since the first attack on Kyiv, the Goodwine store has been one of the few places in the city centre where elderly people could get bread. And it was a real tragedy to witness. With the coming Orthodox Easter we would like to pay a tribute to the Orthodox holiday bread – Paska.

This coming Sunday is Easter in our country. It is one of the two biggest holidays in Ukraine, along with Christmas. The family holiday.

Earlier in peacetime, the week before Easter was always spent in preparation for the holy day. Traditionally, spring work in the fields was completed, we cleaned the house and baked sweet Easter bread as a symbol of joy and a new beginning. Now when all Ukrainians hardly feel safe, we are unlikely to do the usual pre-holiday routine. Many churches have been bombed. Millions of our people will ‘celebrate’ Easter out of their homes, out of our country. A lot of them will not be able to be with their families on this day, many have lost their relatives and families.

Goodwine continues to work and plans to bake even more Easter bread this year than usual in order to give a part of it for the needs of the armed forces, territorial defence, hospitals and citizens from the Kyiv region who have suffered during the occupation. Last year our guests bought about 2,400 Easter loaves made by our bakery. Despite the fact that only a small part of our team is able to work in Kyiv during the war, we have already baked about 2,000 for our clients and other 1,500 for charity to create a cheerful and holy atmosphere in as many houses as possible. In addition to holiday baking, our bakery continues to make about 750 loaves of ‘volunteer’ bread every day, as in the first days of the war.  

At this terrible time for Ukraine, all of you, all our partners around the world, are very helpful with charity. For example, friends from Arizona offered our bakery assistance and organised a fundraising. People from all over the world collected $120,000 so that we could continue to bake our traditional bread. Thanks to the money raised, we can continue to buy raw materials.

Recently, we managed to reopen our second production facility, so we hope that more of our employees will return to Kyiv and will continue to bake bread for the needs of the city. 

We have been alerted that intensified bombing of civilian infrastructure by Russians is expected during the coming holiday. The Ukrainian authorities have warned us about possible provocations and recommend not to attend the traditional all-night church service, especially in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine. So we are prepared that there will be a lot of air-raid sirens this Easter and we know that it is better not to bring the Easter bread to the church. And despite this, we feel the approach of this holy day and, perhaps, in contrast to the dark times that Ukraine is experiencing now, it will be even brighter than ever.

Viktoria Zamchenko, Guide to Goodwine magazine

Your great believers, 

Wine Bureau Team

20 April on Ukraine – day 56

We would like to make more room for good every day, but especially this week. Good in our minds, hearts and newsfeed.

We are only going to share one song with you today. A good song with a timeless message performed by our Ukrainian children: ‘Sia – courage to change’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNXJtSpPjUs

World, I want to leave you better
I want my life to matter
Sowing the seeds of love and hope, love and hope
We don't have to stay here, stuck in the weeds

Have I the courage to change?


You're not alone in all this
You're not alone, I promise
Standing together we can do anything 

Let's make the world a better place together.

Your Wine Bureau Team

19 April on Ukraine – day 55

Dear Friends and Partners, 

The Ukrainian reality made many Ukrainian women become more brave, think decisively, take risks for the future peace of their children. Among 8 million forced refugees who moved abroad are mostly women with their kids. Feelings of saying ‘goodbye’ to husbands and dads are always hard, but these days an uncertain future makes it even more unbearable.

Iryna Zhukovska, senior purchasing manager, has been one of those determined women trying to do everything possible for their children to avoid the horrors of the war:

Nightmares are not a common thing of mine, I hardly remember any dreams. Yet on the very night of 24 February I had a dream. I was driving in a car with my family. There were numerous cars on the road, which gave me a feeling of a very long and anxious drive. Two airplanes of Ukrainian airlines were whirling too low over the road and I knew, that they had no possibility to land. In some time one of those planes nose-dived into the ground just before our car and crashed. That was all, nothing more…

At 6 o’clock in the morning a phone call woke me up. I did not answer, thought that someone dialled a wrong number. And yet the phone rang again. ‘Ira! No time to sleep! Seems, it started.’ And unfortunately, it did start. No one wanted to believe. Until the very minute the first bombs hit Ukrainian land no one could imagine that. Yet deep down we all knew who our neighbour was and that the probability of the war still existed.

First thing after the call I opened a working chat. While I was reading the news, my husband entered the room. He did not sleep already and simply could not dare to wake me up and inform me of such a terrible announcement.  

I have a daughter. For me, as for any mother, my child’s safety is the highest priority. I didn’t need to think twice. I woke her up with the words, ‘Seems, you are going to have unexpected holidays. We are going to granny to Vinnytsia immediately, or maybe even further to the Carpathian Mountains.”

It took us too long to drive to our destination. Some of the places we passed by were bombed the next day. Luckily, we had a place where to go.

Ten days we finally spent in the Carpathians, where there was calm and quiet. If that is utterly possible in the country which is being mercilessly destroyed.

All day long we were reading news and could not believe in the nightmare happening in your country in the 21st century. 

Finally I could not stand that any more. And I drove further to take my little girl and my mother away to a safe place. With all my heart I hoped that decision would be for no reason and I would need to turn around and go back home, where my husband was heading to, back to Kyiv. 

From the first days our partners and friends were calling us offering shelter. And I would like to thank everyone so much for such incredible help and support. I shall never forget it.  

Now together with my daughter and mother I am in Italy, in a picturesque but most importantly safe and calm place welcomed by the nicest people. But none of us is joyful. Everyone wishes to go home and have some peace. There is only one true wish for each Ukrainian. Peace.

Your hearts of bravery, 

Wine Bureau Team

18 April on Ukraine – day 54

Dear Partners and Friends,

We hope you had a happy and heartwarming Easter time this weekend.

Easter is a symbol of the victory of life over death, light over darkness. It is a time when nature finally awakens from its slumber. The time we all await so much.

This Sunday was a holy day in Ukraine as well. Most Orthodox celebrated Palm Sunday or Easter as per Catholic tradition. Unfortunately, it was not a Sunday of peace. The sky was not clear. Despite all the agreements, churches with pilgrims were under direct missile attacks and humanitarian corridors under fire.

Each war finishes by a peace treaty. And we do wish Ukraine to restore peace within its land and sky. The entire world wants peace. But it is rather hard to make peace with someone who does not want it at all. We face an enemy that has provoked and processed war for 21 years in all during the 30 years since our independence. And now Ukraine is not its only front.

And still it is Easter. Such a special period for all children. Let the joy, warmth and love be always in their hearts. We cannot allow them to miss it, at least some of them. With your kind participation a small celebration for kids was organised in one of the refugee camps. Please accept their smiles in return.

Ukrainian children Easter 2022

Sincerely yours, Wine Bureau Team

15 April on Ukraine – day 51

Dear Friends and Partners, 

On this 15 April the Holy Friday and the Passover are celebrated the same day, in anticipation and as a sign of good tidings, peace, fate and freedom. Please, accept our felicitations! We are happy to share this day with you. 

And with today’s story of Mariia Holubova, officially head of import logistics, unofficially the loudest and most cheerful laugh of our office, we would like to underline the importance of people in our surroundings, the importance of help and support received, the importance of warm words sent these days.

This war taught me to wake up every day at sunrise.

Just to check if I am still alive, if my closest ones woke up today as well.

I was born in Mongolia, then we moved to Russia and then to Ukraine. Years spent in school and university were in Ukraine. Then I lived some time in the USA (Washington DC, my good days as a waitress there), and in South Korea (Seoul, my modern lovely city) and finally decided to return to Ukraine and continue my life here. Ukraine is my conscious choice. I like to tell about myself ‘born in Mongolia, in love with Ukraine’. Here I found myself and sense of my life. Here I am a free person. I was free, until that morning.

As all of us in Kyiv I woke up from sounds of bombing. We moved to a sister’s private house the same day, where one more family of their friends joined us. All in all, three families, three dogs, two cats under one roof.  

One moment I realised that life was becoming a bit senseless as all day long I was checking news every three seconds, trying to stay alive, trying not to become psycho, trying to open my laptop and work. Realising that now my life is on hold made me scared. Yet every time I talk to people from Mykolaiv, Kherson, Bucha, Irpin, Makariv, Chernigiv I understand that I am totally OK and just have no right to complain at all. I am alive, I am not hungry, I can take a shower. 

I do not pay attention any longer to the sound of sirens. This sound is like from all those movies about WWII. The worst sound in my life. A sound that means a missile is on its way to destroy or to take somebody’s life. I definitely will tell my future grandchildren that the worst thing that could happen to humanity is war and I will tell them about this sound of sirens.

It is said that a war shows the real faces of your relatives, friends, colleagues and they might be not good at all. I am so happy and thankful to life and to Ukraine that war showed me that I can rely on 100% of people around me during the worst situation in my life. I expected people would help us in case the war started, but the support of the world turned out to be so huge. That was and still is unbelievable. With every humanitarian aid request we got immediate answers that you are working on it. I never thought that people could support us so much! No matter to which organisation you have donated and what the amount was, you gave huge support to the Ukrainian people.

Moreover, I found so many friends among you during this war. I received such a big support!

You can’t even imagine how everyday messages from Spain, France, Italy and the whole of Europe with just a short question ‘how are you today, Mariia?’ helps. To see beautiful pictures from your vineyards or countries. Pictures from a peaceful life. You are amazing, guys.

The fact that ALL OF US are united now means a lot! Together with you, and (what is more important!) THANKS TO YOU we can make good things for our homeland, for Ukrainians, for those who are in need.

I believe that someday I will have a chance to say that in person to each of you.

Life continues even during the war. This fact is hard to realise, but cannot be avoided. So now I am enjoying as never before a good cup of coffee, a good song, a good bottle of wine, a good time with people around me, sometimes good yoga if sirens do not interrupt it. 

This war taught me to wake up every day at sunrise.

I hate waking up early in the morning. I am waiting for that victory day when Ukrainians will wake up free and happy with a chance to sleep till late morning and enjoy a good brunch with a glass of mimosa.

With promises of brighter days, 

Wine Bureau Team

14 April on Ukraine – day 50

Dear Partners and Friends,

Beyond the flow of all the hard news coming from Ukraine, it is hard to notice the positive stories. But there are some and we are here to keep you informed of these as well.

Our defenders made great progress in regaining our occupied territories. The Russian invading army was expelled entirely from three regions around Kyiv. The frontier guards took up their legal positions on the border of independent Ukraine helping Kyiv to sleep undisturbed at night. Vigorous actions take place in the direction of the remaining invaded lands, delivering humanitarian aid, freeing our people, saving lives.

Definitely, it is not over. There are still a couple of most big sore points for all of us – blocked cities which resist and will resist. Our hearts and prayers are with those people trapped and those who risk their own lives to save others. There are still sirens, airstrike threats but we are ready, we won’t stop. Everything possible and impossible is done by the government, army, international society and you, common people, for the good to triumph. 

Even during the darkest days the infrastructure was maintained to the maximum possible extent in the country. The banking system didn’t fail even for a day. The municipal services despite the conditions have been bravely working on troubleshooting. The medics, firemen, drivers, teachers, store employees and so on, impossible to make a list of all those who have been doing their best in order to keep life going.

And life goes on. Spring came. The planting season has started on around 70% of suitable land. The temporary bridges are under construction. Supply chains are being re-established.

The free cities revive. People are coming back to their homes where it is safe. Even the embassies start to come back to Kyiv and today is the first day when the metropolitan railway renews all its routes. Favourite coffee places, restaurants and stores reopen, as well as beauty salons finally. 

Normal life is almost here. It is only the beginning. But a good one towards rebuilding.

Enthusiastic Wine Bureau Team

13 April on Ukraine – day 49

Dear Partners and Friends,

49 days ago it all started. We have been woken up by explosions. From the early morning Putin’s speech we found out that we were ‘officially’ considered to be Nazi. In the past we already heard that we do not exist. But now we are Nazi, we are spoiled by the West, we are threatening our neighbour and we have to be ‘denazified’.

It is incomprehensible to be associated with Nazism. Nazism is considered as a form of fascism, the most cruel and radical one. The one our grandfathers and grandmothers were fighting against. What a shame. 

Well, this is a part of our history now. History is the best judge anyway and it is due to the history that key signs of fascism in any country and at any time can be identified. These signs unfortunately we see indeed nowadays, but not in Ukraine. 

  • Truth is defined, so knowledge is not needed – actions are needed.
  • Symbol of the economy – ‘blood and soil’.
  • The cult of masculinity. Weakness is treated with contempt.
  • Personality plays no role. People is a monolithic concept. The people have rights, but the individual does not.
  • Pacifism is a betrayal. Dissent and disagreement is a betrayal.
  • Superior race is a new privilege, which gives the right to literally everything.
  • Propaganda. Everyone who is not with us is an enemy.  

Propaganda is among one of the most used lethal weapons of Putin’s war machine. We witness an extreme scale of it. No evidence is accepted. Any kind of news and events are turned upside down. Sick imagination has no limits literally saying that on our own land we are killing, raping, looting, destroying ourselves and staging for the cameras with bodies.

When the entire world was horrified with us by the evidence of war crimes from Bucha and other liberated territories, the top Russian news magazine published one more terrible guide on what to do with Ukraine (English translation here).

Fascism is the total evil for sure. And now we cannot wait for history to judge. Now we are in charge to stop the evil from spreading over the world.

We stand. We resist. We win.

Your democratic people of Ukraine and Wine Bureau Team.

12 April on Ukraine – day 48

Dear Friends and Partners, 

As you may understand, life in Ukraine has turned upside down. Many had to leave their homes, many shifted their métier, many reconsidered their values. And for all it will never be the same. Everyone will start from the beginning, like the phoenix Ukrainians will need to be reborn. 

Yulia Demyanenko, chief editor of the Guide to Good Wine magazine and the person who made your trips to Ukraine as efficient as possible, tells her story and that of her team:

In my previous life you could meet me during your visits to Ukraine when I was happy to welcome you in the Goodwine store or during interviews and photo shoots for our Guide to Good Wine magazine. 

When I was told on 23 of February that following day the attack on Kyiv would begin, I didn’t believe. Despite all the headlines and discussions during previous months.

On the 24th the war started, and it changed the life of everyone in my world. It changed the life of a quiet town in the Cherkasy region, where my relatives live; where a Russian plane was shot down the first day of the war and the whole nearest village went in search of the ejected enemy. It changed the life of my 70-year-old father, who was sitting the first 4 weeks with me for 6–7 hours every day in a cold underground shelter due to incessant air raids. It changed the life again of my father’s 84-year-old neighbour who cries every day as his childhood was spent in 1941–1945. It changed my life when the very first day I saw rockets flying over my father's house.

The war has changed the life of all my friends, but I want to tell you about two of them. I think many of you remember the photographers who took your wonderful photos for our magazine – Dima and Igor. The lives of these leading photographers whose schedules were fully booked months in advance have also changed. 

Now Dima is in one of the central regions of Ukraine. He does not make creative photos anymore and does not talk about future photo shoots. By agreement with the local mayor's office, he takes photos of refugees, if they do not mind of course. By the same agreement he takes photos of the funerals of our soldiers – the great people who gave their lives for us.  

Igor is in Kyiv and now he is a sniper. For many years gun shooting has been his hobby and he has participated in various competitions. I saw him two days ago – soon he will go to eastern Ukraine. He knows that we will win, but he also knows that he can pay for it with his life.

If you or your winemakers had ever had a photo shoot for our magazine and somehow didn’t receive or lost photos – let me know and I will check our archive. I would like you to have the photos by these two men. 

I don’t know whether we will issue our magazine in the future, but I know that we will win and very soon I will meet each of you entering Goodwine in the peaceful Kyiv and I will be happy as never before. 

May Yulia’s wish soon come true.

Always yours,

Wine Bureau Team

11 April on Ukraine – day 47

Dear Friends and Partners,

From time to time flashbacks of our cities in barricades or ruins from the past are being seen. History repeats and too soon. The history which was meant to happen NEVER again. This is what we were taught and this is what we used to hear on commemoration days. But time flies faster now and the world has forgotten the horror of the war and started really to believe that nowadays it is no place for Nazism madness in Europe.

It is difficult to comprehend what is happening in Ukraine, to feel it until you are here. It is difficult to comprehend why it is happening and why we are so desperately fighting, why the resistance and efficiency is so high. There is a reason. We are fighting not simply for the possibility to live in a modern European country, with no fear to speak and to think. We are fighting for the possibility to exist as a nation, for the possibility of our kids to have a future, bright and peaceful. 

It was not always like this. Since our independence we preferred to avoid any conflicts by all means, giving up our people, land, ambitions and plans. This was a losing game. We became dependent and vulnerable. Our peacefulness was treated as weakness. And to our greatest regret we saw the aggressors true face, we saw the evil empire only to grow up becoming more hungry and deadly. The occupied territories of Donbas became new zones of frozen military conflicts, territories of lawlessness, desperation, fear, violence, dictatorship, poverty. We all realised the awful truth…

We can’t change our past. But we can choose our future. This is the reason to resist and not to stop. Atrocities and massacres we all evidence on the liberated lands could have made us monsters and killed our nature. But it did not. We are who we are – humans, Europeans, dreamers, caring, loving, eager to live. We know what we stand for and we won’t lose it.

Never again. Stand with us for peace and humanity.

Faithfully yours, 

Wine Bureau Team

8 April on Ukraine – day 44

Dear Friends and Partners,  

Half of the refugees who left Ukraine are kids. There is nothing more important for each of us than our children, therefore the warm welcome of families in your homes is priceless. We will not be able to thank you enough for that. Yet unfortunately, not all Ukrainians were lucky or quick enough to evacuate families. Every 6 hours Ukraine cries for a loss of its small citizen and every 3 hours a child requires doctor’s help during the war time.

The next story to share with you is about the youngest refugee, evacuated from home by one of the shareholders of Wine Bureau and a founder of the Bakehouse bakery, Anna Makiievska.

I am Anna Makiievska and many of you may know me as a person who stood at the origins of the Goodwine food division and the creator of Bakehouse bakery, the best bakery in Ukraine.

The war caught me in Kyiv, with two children, a husband, a dog and a bakery of dreams just built on Podil.

With a two-month-old child on hands it took us two days to get to the border, where I, like most women, was split from my husband since men are not allowed to leave.

In total, we were on the road for 6 days and now we are in the vicinity of Lisbon, where unfortunately we still are not able to find housing for long-term rent. 

But the most important thing is that Goodwine and Bakehouse are working. Our bakers, no matter what, bake bread in the center of Kyiv and since the first days of the war, we have been baking 600–800 loaves a day for free to help the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the territorial defence, hospitals and refugees. 

My friend from Arizona offered our bakery assistance in it and organised a fundraising. People from all over the world have already collected $120,000 so that we could continue to bake our traditional bread. Thanks to the money raised we can continue to pay minimum wages and buy raw materials. Grief has brought people together and this is the most impressive positive experience of the last month.

Here is the link https://www.gofundme.com/f/bake-for-ukraine-help-a-kyiv-bakery-continue

I work seven days a week. And I am very preoccupied that the children really lack of my attention. My husband volunteers in Vinnitsa and deals with humanitarian supplies and their distribution. Any day he can be called into the army, although he had never held a weapon in his hands before. And like millions of families, we don't know when we'll see each other.

With belief in the brighter future, 

Your Wine Bureau Team

7 April on Ukraine – day 43

Dear Friends and Partners, 

43 days Ukraine and a big part of the world have been fighting against inhumanity. 43 days the aggressor is attacking our life-supporting infrastructure, destroying warehouses with food, household chemicals and medicaments, ruining roads and bridges, to make our strategically important logistics impossible. This all causes a humanitarian catastrophe not only in the occupied regions, but all over Ukraine. The west of Ukraine which seemed to be more or less safe did not expected to welcome so many internal refugees and was the first area in critical need. Then suffered all the occupied and already well known by you heroic cities.

Generous and kind hearts of many people in the world gathered in their willingness to help Ukraine. Many organised humanitarian centres right away and worked out the best options to deliver the aid where needed. YOU, our dearest friends, and Wine Bureau company are playing a very big role in that too. From the very first days we were looking for the most efficient options, and are lucky to have such a partner as Angela Transport company in Poland who offered their warehouse for aid consolidation and further its delivery by full trucks to Lviv. In the rest of Ukraine we closely co-operate with a charity foundation Human, having our employees as volunteers participating in the whole of the process – from its receipt in Poland to civilians in the most critical places of our country. When we have started to receive medicaments, our guys even have found a doctor who is now helping with proper consultations.

From the very beginning we collected and transported to Ukraine 20 full trucks of aid from you and 6 more are on the way to Poland. Roughly 100,000 people of Ukraine received YOUR help in about 50 villages and cities, including Chernihiv, Bucha, Irpin, Kherson, Mykolaiv and Kharkiv. The aid goes not only to private people, but also to hospitals, maternity houses, orphanages, elderly homes and for sure to our defenders. Where it is safe, we asked for some photos and would like to share with you our online gallery of thankful people. 

It is important to underline, this would not be possible without YOU. Each help is priceless, even a child’s painting which warmed up the volunteers’ hearts.

THANK YOU! YOU ARE AMAZING. 

Unfortunately, we still have enormous lack of products and medicaments. If you are ready to join this initiative and help Ukraine with the essentials (please, follow the link), please, contact our team below, who will be happy to assist and provide any information required:

Daria Zadniprovska: Zadniprovska.D@goodwine.ua
Mariia Holubova: holubova.m@goodwine.ua
Olena Kushko: Kushko.O@goodwine.ua

We are not alone. Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Your kindness and involvement!

Warm hearts of Wine Bureau Team

6 April on Ukraine – day 42

Dear Friends and Partners, 

Life goes on. Despite all the horror and atrocities Ukrainians face during this war, we all understand how important it is to continue supporting each other. Therefore everyone is trying to get back to their businesses or to start something new, just to keep or create jobs and give our economy more chances to be restored soon. Step by step, plants are being moved to safer regions, those which have survived are trying to resume local production, where possible farmers have already started sowing campaigns, stores and restaurants are being reopened, more and more coffee places make Ukrainians awake in the mornings.

Distance learning at kindergartens, schools and universities has been renewed thanks to telecom engineers who have managed to keep the country online during the whole period of war. Now more than ever children and teenagers need to be motivated, to get more educated and to absorb new knowledge. They are our future and they need to be not only proud of the ancestors, but also clever enough not to repeat our mistakes.

Desired awakening came also to our Wine Bureau company. We are finally allowed to sell alcohol in Kyiv and Lviv, where our goodwine and Bad Boy retail stores are located. This is a true revival for our company, as wine & spirits has still been the biggest part of our commerce. Though there is no understanding of the demand, the news definitely encourages positive stirrings. Therefore the previously empty and sad shelves of our stores are being filled up again with bottles of great wines, spirits and beers. This creates atmosphere of the old times. And we dream to be able to restore our burned stock in a while.

It is important always to see some light despite all of the darkness, to have some hope, some help and be believed in.

Always on the side of freedom and good, 

Your Wine Bureau Team

5 April on Ukraine – day 41

Dear Partners and Friends,

No other place like home.

Mariupil is on everybody’s lips now. Unfortunately no longer as a huge metallurgy center, a big port on Azov sea, an industrial center, one of the largest cities of Ukraine or a big historical Greek diaspora. Can you imagine that only few years ago, it was recognised as the best city in Ukraine for living and where many people were happy to live? Now Mariupil is a phantom city from a horror movie. And still it always will be a home for many in their memories.

One of our colleagues, Tetiana Kaistrenko, purchasing manager, made a post in social media a few days ago and we believe these emotions are worth sharing.

There is only one childhood photo of our family altogether left.

After a month of war, we found out that my parent's home, a home where I grew up, has completely burned down.

I can't believe all our photo albums with childhood pictures, all the Christmas ornaments, some of which were older than me, all the books grandma read to me when I was a kid, mom's favorite coffee machine and dozens of beautiful plants, everything dad has fixed around the apartment, every window with a sea view, everything that was dear to us, isn't there anymore.

There is nothing left, but a black hole.

And we can never get it back.

How is it even possible that everything you've owned, everything you've worked for your entire life, every little thing (I'm not talking about electric devices or furniture), but a sense of home, your fortress and safe space, your community, is gone altogether? Just like that, in a blink of an eye.

I can't comprehend it. Every moment I wish I could wake up and realise it was all just a long nightmare.

And I can safely come home. To the rooms where we played and fought with my brother, where we celebrated holidays and mourned our losses, where mom baked the most delicious cakes, where dad used to bring us treats and pretend not to care about the pets. 

It is so surreal to me.

I mean, nothing in this war makes any sense.

But having no home to come back to, no city to return to is simply unbelievable.

There is no way we can ever forgive Russian fascists for what they've done to us.

For generations, we will remember and make sure they get what they deserve.

And it will not break us. We will win, and rebuild our lives.

And we will love harder, laugh louder, and be kinder to one another.

No other place like Ukraine, Wine Bureau Team

4 April on Ukraine – day 40

Dear Partners and Friends,

You can evade reality, but not the consequences of evading reality.

We all have suffered a severe shock. The world has seen pictures from Bucha. Formerly a picturesque suburb less than 30 km from Kyiv. We knew it was awful but the reality appeared to be too nauseous and scary. We could have sent you videos and photos from the scene, yet it is too cruel to ask you to watch.

All these could not have been one’s man action on the territory over 2,500 km2.

This all leads us to the question whether it is truly the war of one and only person. One has started it, for sure, yet thousands act in it and millions support. Not that one person pulls the trigger onto the back of a man trying to evacuate his kids, or onto the back of woman trying to feed her dog. Not that one man sends a bomb onto the shelter with big letters “CHILDREN”, visible from the air. It is even hard to imagine an order to rape women, isn’t it?

Propaganda, technically legalised domestic violence, repression, censorship, social oppression in all educational institutions, hazing in the army, no privacy, force cult, homophobia, unacceptance of disabled people, hating migrants is a fertile ground for the Nazism of our days. We were avoiding to see this reality.

During past weeks there was a strong opinion in many media that Ukraine has to accept a compromise from Russia giving up the invaded territories. This thought was never close to our hearts and minds. We have already paid a huge price, we knew that we cannot rely on any statements and promises from the Russian establishment, but most importantly we knew that there is no civil life as an option for the people left behind. We made a choice to struggle. This was not understood by many.

But then the world has seen the Bucha massacre evidence. The president of the Euro Commission was one of the first to see it in person. We hope the Bucha massacre will become a turning point in the common approach to this war, to the taken measures. There is no liberation, there is no historical justice for what is happening. There is Western civilisation against horrors which we hoped we wouldn’t evidence ever again since the Nazzis.

Like in 2014 when a Malaysian civil aircraft was shot down by a Russian missile as a show of force. When the world had listened the audio recordings of the message and notification of the pilot to the flight dispatcher and passengers’ last calls to the relatives saying goodbye, disillusion united the international reaction which helped to stop the aggression in Ukraine but it was not enough. It created one more frozen military conflict initiated by Russia. Now there is a new wave of international statements against this evil and we hope this time it will be enough.

Today we feel sick. But determined to win, determined to live, determined to give a better world to our children. We do not feel hate, we feel anger.

Wine Bureau Team in a moment of silence for all victims.

1 April on Ukraine – day 37

Dear Friends,

This spring we understood that material things are worthless. All that matters is a peaceful sky, freedom and loved ones being well.

Today we share with you a story of Yuliia Pryshchepa, our import manager, knowing that the good always defeats evil.

Like many others on 24 February, early morning I woke up from the sounds of explosions, the car alarms were going crazy outside my windows.

Shortly after I left my home in Kyiv in one tracksuit, with documents, toothbrush and PC.

We rushed to drive to my hometown Mena, tiny place in Chernihiv region, close to the Belarusian and Russian bordersHalfway we were informed the bridges along the road were blown up, and Russian forces entered the town. We pulled over and literally didn’t know what to do next. There was no way forward and we were frightened to go back since my apartment is located near the airport. And by this time this area has already been shelled several times. At that exact moment I received a call from my friend advising us to go to her mother’s house and to have a shelter there in a small town near Kyiv. That was our "saving call".

We planned to spend one night there and proceed to my hometown the very next day..But we are still here 37 days after the nightmare started.

During the air alerts we hide in neighbours basement. They show their care and bring canned food for us as internal refugees” (I still can’t believe this is happening to me and my family).

My father is still stuck near Chernihiv. Yet there are no options to get there or pull him out. The situation in his area is tough, as it is fully dependent on logistics from Chernihiv which is now fully cut, like an island. Lack of supplies caused the humanitarian crisis, pharmacies are empty, hospitals are sending their patients back home due to impossibility of treatment.

But there is good news too: my dad has a telephone connection and yesterday he has got mobile internet so we could have a video call. I could see my farther for the first time in more than a month. He told us that yesterday he got some gas at a petrol station, it took him 9 (!) hours of waiting, being the 82nd in the queue, all this for just 15 litres.

During this month of war I am lucky to have access to the internet, so I can work, I can stay connected, I can ask for help and help others. The most successful and inspiring days for me are those when I can provide help to somebody.

And yes, I surely know what I will do first when we win, I will hug my dad!

And one more story to share about a big heart.

Our grandma strongly refused to escape from Kyiv and come with us. She stayed there in the downtown on 12th floor, COVID positive. She took all her strengths and overcame the disease. During this period she went to the bomb shelter only once: “Yulia, it’s really humid and no fresh air there, it is really unhealthy”. What can I argue?

On 25 March she turned 85! Such a big date and no one to celebrate with…

By that day it had been nearly a week since she had no bread. My colleague Kate (our logistics manager Kate Opanasenko) stays on the same street and I asked her to bring some bread and some first need products to my granny. I shared the address only. In two hours Kate sent me the picture below and asked to make sure the granny put all the packages in a fridge.

After my grandma excitedly narrated how Kate and her handsome fiancée knocked at her door with big pack of products, flowers and a birthday cake with a candle and sang her “Happy Birthday to you!”.

A woman who went through the Second World War as a child and knows about the Nazis from her own experience. A woman who lost her beloved. A woman who survived a big fire in her home at her advanced age… And now COVID and now war. Again.

But on that day, she was in tears of happiness and gratefulness, so was I.

There is no limit to Ukrainian spirit and big human heart, Kate’s heart.

“The most important things in life aren't things.” © Anthony J D'Angelo

PS Grandma was really worried that she didn’t dress up for their visit so please don’t be so strict to my Nadia Stepanivna! Girls remain girls.

Kate Opanasenko and Nadia Stepanivna, grandmother of Yulia Pryshchepa

Warm wishes from Wine Bureau Team

31 March on Ukraine – day 36

Dear Friends and Partners,

The good goes round. 

This is one more e-mail of our sincere and enormous gratitude to all of you: https://youtu.be/4CQSHMffxlQ.

Be sure that all the humanitarian and financial aid sent reaches the places most in need in the fastest possible way. We manage it directly or in collaboration with the trusted local humanitarian and volunteering organisations. Our family is big, with origins from all over Ukraine, and now we are everywhere. Wherever you point on a map of Ukraine, there will be someone from Wine Bureau working on its own front line. We manage to be flexible compared to big institutions, which bureaucracy takes time to take decisions and coordinate the activity. 

Unfortunately, for most people, war is grief and misery. But there are still such people, who manage to flourish in war. As during the ages, as everywhere. So please be careful. Only trusted foundations and secure links should be donated. No occasional cash raising.

There are some disturbing news reports on the Red Cross activity. But we sincerely hope that this all is a misunderstanding which will be settled soon and the foundation will join the humanitarian missions ensuring that all aid raised to support of Ukrainians will transparently go to Ukraine with no support of the aggressor’s policy.

Staying connected and united.

Warmest sentiments from Wine Bureau family

30 March on Ukraine – day 35

Dear Partners and Friends,

Last week we sent you a brief update on the Ukrainian winemakers living today. Feeling your response we continue telling more about businesses related to you. Let’s call it a contributory column from our colleague Yulia Demyanenko, chief editor of the Guide to Good Wine magazine.

By the way, the Ukrainian wineries will be happy to accept any winemaking equipment or bottles to restart their business. We will be happy to connect you with those in need.

Beer front against aggressor

Every citizen, business and organisation in Ukraine invests everything they can in the fight for victory against aggressor: resources, knowledge, funds. This is our mission for the right to live. The best craft breweries in Ukraine with which Wine Bureau cooperates are no exception.

Generally most companies of the brewing industry in our country have stopped their activity due to the location in the war zone, logistic disruptions or prohibition of alcohol. Yet many brewers are now engaged in purchase of equipment for the armed forces and territorial defence (eg Didko, Kyiv local brewery), supply of humanitarian aid (eg IIIO, Ten men, Mateich) or they simply joined our armed forces (eg Ax).

From the first days Pravda Brewery, located in Lviv, has been preparing Molotov cocktails, raising funds for the purchase of drones, thermal imagers and everything necessary for the territorial defence formation. About 10,000 meals are prepared daily for the needs of forced migrants and defenders. They have bottles and cans in stock being able to brew beer together with other Ukrainian craft breweries and export to European countries raising funds. They also collect donations for war victims arranging regular joint brewing around the world online.

Brewery MOVA, based in Dnipro, provides drinking water to hospitals, settlements for displaced persons and defenders. Also, they prepare meals at the brewery Beer Space. Thanks to their partners from Norway, new beer appeared in support of Ukraine. 

Part of Kyiv Brewery 2085 team also did not stay away joined territorial defence. And yet in collaboration with a brewery KCBC in New York, beer Resolve was brewed, the proceeds of which will go to help war victims and the armed forces of Ukraine.

Kyiv brewery Underwood, whose facilities are located in the village just near Kyiv with active hostilities nearby, was forced to stop the production with the beginning of the war. But this did not stop the team. Together with the Berlin brewery BRLO, they made a new beer in honour of the world's largest aircraft MRIYA (“mriya” it is dream in English), which was destroyed by Russians on February 26. Another collaboration with Danish brewery To Ol is called "Hi, are you safe?" – the most popular message in Ukraine as a universal symbol of love and care. A joint beer with the French brewery Aerofab called “Freedom IPA” is coming soon too, in honour of freedom and independence we are all fighting for and praying for now. All funds received from collaborations will go to humanitarian help to Ukrainians from the war zones.

Kyiv brewery Varvar is currently closed, but is getting ready to ship beer to European distributors. A collaboration with the UK colleagues is planed as well, and the raised funds from the sales will go to support the armed forces of Ukraine. The brewery also helps with the logistics of food and medicine.

On the basis of brewery Tsypa in western Ukraine a powerful volunteer centre was formed with the participation of other craft brewers, such as Didko, Underwood and others. The locals weave camouflage nets, create food stocks, etc.

The collaboration of breweries under slogan We stand with Ukraine has been launched, which has already been supported by more than 100 breweries around the world.

Awaiting to raise glasses for the victory of Ukraine with you,

Enthusiastic Wine Bureau Team

29 March 2022 on Ukraine – day 34

Dear Partners and Friends,

A new story of Ukraine began on 24 February. A new story for all of us. Rather a painful one. Nothing will be as before.

Today we share with you a personal story of one of our colleagues – our young and strong logistics manager Kateryna Opanasenko. Many of you may know her in person. She is a master of consolidated trucks in Italy and not only. Here is her letter from Kyiv:  

The second day since the beginning of the war, we took a decision to move to a small village Dmytrovka which is located 4 km away from our burned warehouse. We thought it would be safer than in Kyiv…

At the beginning there were simply loud explosions as basically we were between Stoyanka, Bucha and Irpin, but in our village everything was still open and we managed to go to the local grocery shop in time.

But in 2 days we were cut off from everything. No connection, no electricity, no water, no heating. We were cut from the other world entirely. Days long we were trying to catch at least a glimpse of cell network in order to write parents that we are alive. The explosions became stronger, the airplanes were flying upon our roof, assault riffles and Grad shelling from everywhere, drones upon our heads. A missile targeted the next house to us and all went on fire. Under all those horrifying cannonades we were rushing into the basement of our house to wait the worst missile attacks to be over. I remember the most horrifying moment when a battle-plane flight over us at 1 am and unstoppable airstrike began close to us. That moment I said goodbye to myself.

The most remarkable evening was by candlelight, we had jacket potato and herring which we managed to buy that last time we went to the grocery shop.

When the situation got even worse, when the Russians were already in our village, we took a decision to escape. On our own risk, facing the threat of death. We were averted that there are no humanitarian corridors, but if we see some Ukrainian army or police, no Russian tanks, then we can try to go. In the morning we checked that all seemed to be ok, but when we left, we saw that there was nobody at all, nobody anywhere. That time again, I thought this was over. I can not even tell you the emotions I felt that moment, I simply latched onto the wheel and was pushing the throttle pedal so insanely to cross that scary route, running away.

So we got back to Kyiv and now I’m based here again, I feel safer here, the alarms and sounds of shooting do not seem to be so scary here as they were there. And still I continue to jump up each time I hear a loud noise, explosion or murmur, I take some medicine to overcome and still each evening I cry. But I continue working with my import manager, donating in Ukrainian army, shelters, I continue cooking for elderly people who remained here, I continue supporting my family and praying for Ukraine.  

In a couple of days after our departure we found out that our house in Dmytrovka was invaded and taken by Russians bringing the military equipment into our garden. And I’m thanking everything in the world and everybody that we managed to run away, otherwise most probably we would not be able to write this letter to you.

We sincerely hope this nightmare will become past history to study soon.

Nothing will be as before. But a new future is coming for all of us and we see it prominent and free.

Be our voice. Pray with us for peace, humanity and Ukraine.

United hearts of Wine Bureau Team

28 March 2022 on Ukraine – day 33

Dear Friends and Partners,

In Ukraine the last couple of days passed with extreme bombardment of Ukrainian territory (some bombs originating from the territory of Belorussia). Just the Lviv region was the target of 70 (!) bombs during Saturday though only eight of them reached their destination. On the other hand, those eight bombs destroyed infrastructure, life-supporting plants, people’s homes. And that was only one region during one day…

The economic losses of Ukraine because of the terroristic aggression counts to US$565 billion by now. Within that is $119 billion for the totally destroyed infrastructure with 8,000 km of roads, railways and airports, 10 million m2 of housing and 200,000 cars demolished, meaning that thousands of people will simply have no homes to come back to…

Today 3.8 million Ukrainians moved abroad, 6.5 million people stay as internal refuges. At the same time almost half a million Ukrainians returned to Ukraine from abroad to defend our homeland. But the scariest number is 13 million – people stuck in the territories with relentless hostilities with no food, no electricity, no water, no possibility to move to a safer place. The green corridors are being attacked all the time, civilians murdered with cruelty not seen even during WWII. Today seven agreed green corridors were canceled because of the information received about possible provocations by the invaders on the route. Tens of thousands from the already occupied territories of Ukraine were forcibly transported to the terroristic country with no further information on their location and safety.

We will not say again that this all could have been avoided if only the sky was closed by NATO or anything similar. We will remind that Ukraine had numerous agreements to be supported by other countries after renunciation of nuclear weapons. And those promises must be kept. This war could have been ended rather soon, if only the Ukrainian army had enough means.

Yet there is some good news too. Ukraine has officially moved from COVID red zone. It seems that coronavirus understood how ridiculous it is compared to Z-virus and disappeared.

Always with positive thoughts for the future,

Your Wine Bureau Team

25 March 2022 on Ukraine – day 30

Dear Friends,

This Friday we could have told you more news from the war field or numbers of loses or scale of destruction. Yet we would like to send you some positive vibes for the coming weekend.

Where there is evil, there is always good. Ukrainians have never been as proud of our nationality as we are now. We have never been that united and concentrated. We have never been that fast in our decisions. For the past century not so many people in the world knew where Ukraine is and what it is famous for. Now we are simply Great.

It is such a pleasure to see how people around stand for their homes, fight for their rights, help to continue living. So many brave men and women. So many kind of them and generous. So many devoted to the cause.

For sure, the tragedy is huge. Yet the scale of humanity born in this war around the world is even bigger.

Good evening, We are from Ukraine. Watch this.

With love and passion,

Your Wine Bureau Team

24 March 2022 on Ukraine – day 29

Dear Partners and Friends,

Today it is almost a month since the start of the war. It is a month since you have received our first email saying that our lives has changed forever, the entire world won’t be the same. Almost every day we write you a brief update from Ukraine sharing what we are living now and our hopes. 

Today in our letter we decided simply to quote the anniversary speech of our president. This message comes from each of our hearts. We do not stop. We resist. We are united. United with all of you.

The war of Russia is not only the war against Ukraine. Its meaning is much wider. Russia started the war against freedom as it is.

This is only the beginning for Russia on the Ukrainian land. Russia is trying to defeat the freedom of all the people in Europe. Of all the people in the world.  It tries to show that only crude and cruel force matters.

It tries to show that people do not matter, as well as everything else that make us people.

That’s the reason we all must stop Russia. The world must stop the war.

I thank everyone who acts in support of Ukraine. In support of freedom. But the war continues. The acts of terror against peaceful people go on. One month already! That long! It breaks my heart, hearts of all Ukrainians and every free person on the planet.

That’s why I ask you to stand against the war! Starting from March 24 – exactly one month after the Russian invasion… From this day and after then.

Show your standing! Come from your offices, your homes, your schools and universities. Come in the name of peace. Come with Ukrainian symbols to support Ukraine, to support freedom, to support life.

Come to your squares, your streets. Make yourselves visible and heard. Say that people matter. Freedom matters. Peace matters. Ukraine matters. In downtowns of your cities. All as one together who want to stop the war.

Eternal memory to all who died for Ukraine!  Eternal glory to all our heroes!  Glory to Ukraine!

Volodymyr Zelensky
The President of Independent and Sovereign Ukraine

We stay connected. We will keep writing to you. Till the victory day and afterwards.

Forever free,

Wine Bureau Team.

23 March 2022 on Ukraine – day 28

Dear Friends,

This time we would like to share with you some stories from the vineyards. From people who gave their heart to the soil and grapes.

Ukraine is not a well-known wine country. It would even be a surprise for many to hear that the first records of local winemaking are dated in the 11th and 12th centuries.  Our territories have been blessed by a huge agricultural potential and different climate types allowing us to cultivate lots of grape varieties, having our own indigenous one and even having vineyards on the famous 45th parallel.

Ukrainian winemaking suffered a lot and almost all vineyards were destroyed because of the USSR prohibition on Ukrainian wine imports. During recent years we were happy to see and support a true revival of the Ukrainian winemaking, participating in building a wine culture and supporting wine enthusiasts.

Now we have war, and it came to each door.

Evgenia Nikolaychuk, sommelier and DipWSET, one of the authors of the Guide to GoodWine magazine, owner of Ukrainian wine bar chain Like a Local, is following the topic and below is her review.

Most of the territory of Ukraine is war-scarred. The Russians are actively destroying civilian infrastructure, and this fate hasn't bypassed the wineries of our country. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the sale of alcohol has been forbidden in our country, so any receipt of funds of the wineries has stopped. Some business owners admitted that the last receipt on the accounts was on 23 February, the day before war. In addition, the work of almost all companies was also stopped due to a shortage / absence of employees. The men either volunteered for the army themselves or were called up. Many employees simply left for other regions/countries, running away from the war. And some are simply afraid to go to work, because the road can be very dangerous as the Russians are actively shooting civilian cars on the highways.

Almost at the very beginning of war, the Gostomel glass factory was destroyed. It's one of the leading manufacturers of glassware which served the needs of many local wine producers. Now even those producers who are in safer regions won't be able to provide bottling of their wines due to the lack of bottles.

About a week ago, the family winery Kurin, located in the south of the country, in the Kherson region, announced that their winery was first devastated by Russians and then completely destroyed. Everything burned to the ground. And if until recently the representatives of the winery stated that only vineyards remained, today the owner of the winery posted a photo with mortar craters on his land.

Yesterday, the owner of Berryland cidery which was located not far from Kyiv, also announced that their production was completely destroyed.

As you know, Russians also destroyed the warehouse of our company. The warehouse kept wines from the best wineries in the world. Rare, exclusive wines burned because of Russian fascists.

One of the wineries, which is located in the occupied Kherson region, said in a private conversation that military activities are on the territory where the vineyard and the winery are located. Their wine store was under fire and was completely devastated by Russians. The winery does not work and the troops entered there. What is the situation inside the building and what is happening there, no one knows.

A mine hit the building of the Cassia family winery located right outside Kiev. The upper part of the building was badly damaged. Now this area is shelled by Grads non-stop.

The owners of the winery located near Mariupol (a city that has been suffering the most from shelling and bombing) spent about two weeks in a bomb shelter without electricity, heating, food and water. They were able to escape from the city, but they do not know what is the condition of their winery.

In recent years, craft winemaking has been actively developing in Ukraine, including the eastern regions. Today came the news of the death of one of these small winemakers. Olexiy produced wine in Dnipro, the city in the eastern part of Ukraine. He volunteered to defend his homeland.

The situation for now is a little bit better for producers located in Odessa and Mykolaev regions. Despite the fact that production is stopped and neither bottling nor shipment is carried out, many people try not to stop working at least in the vineyards. The wine company Shabo regularly carries out the necessary seasonal work on its land and works with a large charitable foundation and supports local volunteer initiatives. But at the same time, even those wineries that are not on the territory of active military actions cannot export their wines since many access roads are simply blocked.

However, despite the fact that the vast majority have stopped their normal activities, many of the business owners and their employees are actively involved in volunteering, helping the country in all possible and impossible ways.

Sergiy Stakhovsky, the owner of the Stakhovsky Wines winery and a world-famous tennis player, voluntarily joined the ranks of the territorial defence of Kyiv. His winery is in the Western Ukraine but he lacks bottles as well.

The Beykush winery is also actively involved in volunteer activities, purchasing and providing for the needs of the army and territorial defence.

Father's Wine winery from Ternopil donated large stocks of empty bottles to make so-called bandera smoothies (Molotov cocktails) for the needs of its own community. The same was done at the Don Alejandro winery. Here they gave almost everything they had to be 'hospitably' prepared for a possible visit of the Russians.

The Kolonist winery meets and hosts people who try to cross the border with Moldova. At the winery, people have the opportunity to warm up, drink tea and eat.

Chizay company has opened a charitable foundation that collects funds for everything necessary for people that came to Western Ukraine from war zones.

Employees of the company 46 Parallel, in cooperation with restaurants, prepare and provide hot meals to hospitals, territorial defence and refugee centres.

War is the worst thing that can happen to humanity. But we believe that very soon you will be able to see the letter V on the labels of Ukrainian wines of the 2022 vintage, which will mean victory

Stronger than ever. United.

Wine Bureau Team and people of Ukraine with passion.

22 March 2022 on Ukraine – day 27

Dear Partners and Friends,

This email is dedicated to an update on our company and team.

As you remember we had two main business directions – our own retail and distribution of wines, spirits and fine food. We lost €15 million stock (basically our main asset) because of the rocket fire intentionally targeted to destroy warehouses around Kyiv to cut people from food supply. Another business obstacle for our company is that alcohol sales are forbidden all around Ukraine. Our distribution makes zero sales.

The only channel of sale which is now operating is GoodWine. It makes 7% of its usual turnover. All goods left to sell were internal stock of our flagship store – two to four weeks' stock depending on category and it has already been depleted. Our purchasing team is doing the impossible as they manage to buy groceries, fruits and vegetables, fresh meat from local distributors and farmers. All of our Ukrainian partners work with a big risk for their lives producing, farming and making food supply. Our bakery Bakehouse is making 800 pieces of bread daily for the needs of hospitals, army and volunteers in Kyiv.

There have been 16 air raid sirens in the last 24 hours in Kyiv. GoodWine continues to work, no one stops activity and goes to the bomb shelter – we work limited hours from 11 till 5 pm. We are among a few places that try to create the atmosphere of normal pre-war life in Kyiv.

To prevent inflation our government created a list of critical products that can be imported in Ukraine, the rest is forbidden. Our import team is now organising the purchase of two mixed trucks of food products and hope to deliver them to Kyiv to fulfil the shelves of GoodWine. We do not have any official statistics but it seems that around 50% of the citizens of Kyiv have not left their homes. And it is getting harder and harder to stock stores with food.

Your humanitarian aid is a great support to blocked and ruined cities. If you could only imagine five of the seven trucks delivered to destroyed Chernigiv a few days ago – is your help. But there are many other cities that are completely blocked and people live in the basements for three weeks with no electricity, medical care or food supply. Drivers who deliver humanitarian aid to Kharkiv, Sumy, Chernigiv are true heroes as no matter what kind of aid you deliver there is a great risk of being shot. In total we have delivered 10 humanitarian aid trucks to Ukraine and three more were loaded today.

Thank you for hosting our families and friends. More than 30 families have found shelter thanks to you. 10 million people have to abandon their houses and it is so good to know that you take care of our women and kids. Some statistics regarding our team: of the total number of people 851, 613 of them stay in Ukraine, 300 of them in Kyiv, 58 men are serving the army and territory defence.

Thank you for the financial aid you are sending to our accounts. As you know we do a lot - we support volunteers, the army, we are trying to keep our business alive and most of our team works for free with a hope that when the war is over we can build our company from scratch again. Our partners and our team are the biggest Wine Bureau asset.

Wine Bureau team. Ukraine.

21 March 2022 on Ukraine – day 26

Dear Friends,

We dream to start our letter with good news from Ukraine, with news about our victory and about the end of the war. Yet unfortunately the terrorism continues. Ukraine is still under shelling attacks, civilian people are treacherously being shot in green corridors, mayors and journalists are being kidnapped and tortured. The evil is not going to stop by itself. And today it is broadcast that a Russian military plane flew over western Ukraine and entered the airspace of Poland.

They need to be stopped. Ukraine plays its biggest role the best way possible. And as said by our president in this video, 'if someone tries to seize our country, our freedom, our lives and lives of our children, we are to fight'. And there will be no mercy.

Once again we would like to underline that this resistance continues thanks to the help and support provided by so many kind and generous people all over the world – by you, our dearest friends. Please, be sure that what you consider a small contribution finally grows into an enormous help. Even warm words may significantly change the day of a person receiving them. 

In order to make it a bit easier for you, with this letter we would like to sum up the possible ways you can help Ukraine and our company:

  1. Humanitarian aid can be sent to the Polish warehouse of our forwarder. ANGELA Transport Company collects the goods and sends full trucks to the western part of Ukraine, from where we arrange help to those in need.

       Please contact the ladies below for a list of the required products and details of the warehouse:

       Mariia Holubova holubova.m@goodwine.ua and Daria Zadniprovska Zadniprovska.D@goodwine.ua

  1. Providing shelters for Ukrainians – every offer of help is well registered by us and is considered as soon as we have a request from our employees. In case you are open for all the Ukrainians in need, please, contact Mikhail Stefaniuk Stefaniuk.M@goodwine.ua
     
  2. For financial help particularly to our company you can find our bank details in our despatch below on Day 20. We have already received much support and cannot thank you enough! If something does not work or stays unclear, please, contact your import manager or lapina.o@goodwine.ua. If possible, please, keep us in the know about any transactions, so our finance people can check and receive each amount.
     
  3. Finally you can support ARMED FORCES OF UKRAINE https://helpua.bank.gov.ua/ and help the defenders of the free world to have better equipment.

Stay with us, fight with us, be our support!

Glory to Ukraine!

With a strong sense of purpose,

Wine Bureau Team

19 March 2022 on Ukraine – day 24

Dear Friends, 

Since the beginning of the war almost a quarter of the population of Ukraine ought to leave their homes. The biggest part of migration takes place within Ukraine. And more than three million people have left the homeland, of whom half are children. It is not that hard to imagine the desire of these people to come back home, to a peaceful and dearly beloved home where they used to be happy, together with their dads, husbands, sons.  

We are all enormously grateful to you for opening your hearts, homes, offering shelters, creating and participating in so many wonderful initiatives. This makes our defenders assured in safety of their families and necessarily confident in a fight. 

Today the Ukrainian nation has unveiled numerous hidden superpowers and superheroes. We always have been freedom-loving, but finally we have found unity, courage and endurance. Ukraine will stand, as it always did. And we will all celebrate our mutual victory.

Glory to Ukraine!

With warmest regards,

Wine Bureau Team

18 March 2022 on Ukraine – day 23

Dear Friends,

When the whole world collects humanitarian aid and money to help Ukraine, when people band together for protests against war, when the entire world’s showplaces are coloured yellow and blue, when the world's best-known stars organise concerts in the name of peace in Ukraine, the citizens of the capital of the terrorist country gather for a concert to celebrate the anniversary of Crimea being annexed. According to Moscow police figures, 200,000 people attended the concert. And we all remember how many protesters there were in Moscow against war – a ridiculous couple of thousand. 

Unfortunately, due to numerous independent researches 71% of Russians support Putin and his actions. Yet we in Ukraine still cherish hopes for changing their minds and uprising. If only they had access and a will to see the video shown by our president Zelensky during his speech to the US Congress the other day…

Terrorist actions in Ukraine already caused damage worth $63.6 billion. It is dreadful to realise how much time and money will be needed to restore our homeland. Yet there is no doubtswe will do that. And then Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson and Mariupol will become the new Paris, Rome, Barcelona and Pisa. And among all the greatest forces of MI6, CIA, MOSSAD, one will talk also about Special Forces of Ukraine. We will make James Bond jealous.

With hopes for the soonest peace,

Your Wine Bureau Team

Olga Lapina writes

I wanted to let you know that I am not the only one writing the letters. There are two of us – my colleague Daria Voinarovska and me. It is sometimes hard to cope with all the news and more difficult with emotions, so one of us writes and the second corrects if needed.

That was not that important before, but I started to see many links that I am a writer of the letters, but I would like to underline that there are two of us.

17 March 2022 on Ukraine – day 22

Dear Friends,

Each morning all of us start by checking the newsfeeds now. Each morning we get in touch with the closest ones to make sure no-one has suffered from any of the numerous attacks. It's impossible to get used to the flow and the level of tragedy is incomprehensible.

And still some mornings are particular. Some mornings are full of warmth and hope.

The Mariupol theatre, where hundreds of people, mostly children, had taken shelter, was directly hit by a heavy bomb on Wednesday. It was an approved hideout by both parties with huge identification mark 'Children'. It was destroyed to ashes.

But this morning we found out that the bomb shelter managed to resist this direct hit! People are getting out and they are alive.

It is a miracle. The higher powers are with us. Peace will come. The good will conquer anyway!

With faith in wonders,

Wine Bureau Team

Later on 16 March 2022 on Ukraine – day 21

Dear Friends and Partners, 
 
This is Olga Lapina from Wine Bureau, Ukraine. Today I am sending you our newsletter from my personal gmail as my professional e-mail has been blocked. I hope tomorrow it will be restored again. 
 
Lots of love!
Olga
 
Dear Friends and Partners, 

It has been three weeks since our neighbour has decided to ruin peace in Ukraine, create a horror movie off-line and proclaim his own country as a terroristic one. 

Since the beginning of the war 3,500 municipal facilities were destroyed, within which there were: 165 power stations and gas pipelines, 72 educational institutions, more than 2,700 residential homes. Almost 1,000 towns in Ukraine are without electricity. Almost 70.000 children have become refugees since the very beginning, meaning that 55 kids are leaving their homes each minute. According to UN informants, around 700 civilians were killed during the war, yet in just one town, Mariupol, the number of dead citizens is more than 2,000. The true number is frightening.

Yet more than 10,000 couples realised how important it is to live this particular day in love and got married. More than 750 kids were born in war under wailing sirens.

Our Wine Bureau family also has a reason to celebrate. One of our colleagues, who joined Ukrainian forces the very first day of the war, has become father today too!  

Our nation will have numerous stories to tell, stories of brave and courageous people, true fighters for love, peace and freedom.

And we are going to write a new story for Wine Bureau, Ukraine, a story of true friendships and partnerships, a community of united hedonists.

Today our letter will be followed by an apal from the person who many of you may well know - Dmitry Krimsky, one of the founders of our company: 

Dear partners, however, today I prefer to call you friends.

Thanks to the brave girls from our import department, every day you receive news about situation here. It’s very important for us that you know the truth and can share it further.

It's very difficult to describe what we are feeling inside. The full spectrum from anger to love, and a strong desire for victory and rebuilding of our country and our company. I’m proud of our employees and am sure that we will become even stronger in the end.

When you are living in war, it’s important to support inner mental health. We decided to concentrate our thoughts on positive things and start planning the rebuilding of the company.

Part of this programme is donations from our partners. Yesterday you received a letter with this information. I understand that all of you has your own needs and problems. I can never imagine that one day would write a letter like this. A crucial moment for us was losing 1€15 mlllion worth of stock in our burned warehouse. This makes us quite vulnerable financially. Without your help we cannot rebuild our company quickly and keep all loved employees.

Thank you for being with us during this crucial moment.

God bless you.

Dmitry Krimsky

Wine Bureau co-founder

With cherished dream of peace,

Yours.

Wine Bureau Team

16 March 2022 on Ukraine – day 20

Dear Friends and Partners, 

The agony in which Russians continue to bomb our cities reveals true faces. Now the sirens wail all over Ukraine, specially at night. The horde is commanded to kill Ukrainian civilians and to destroy everything connected with our life-supporting infrastructure. And the initial justification for the start of war and attacks – de-NAZIfication of Ukraine – is no longer on the table during the negotiations for peace. No words from Russ-ists can be trusted, not any more.

Here in Ukraine we all go through so many black moments, so many families disconnected, so many lives torn apart. Yet there is always a gleam of light in any darkness. In our case the brightness is being brought by YOU, all of you who keep supporting us every second with every possible means. We see that, we feel that, we do mean it – THANK YOU!

Please, watch this video from one of our marketing agencies in Ukraine, which made a lot of campaigns for us at Good Wine. 

Also with this letter we would like to finally answer a very important and crucial question that we so frequently receive: How can we help particularly Wine Bureau? 

We would like to be open and frank with you all. We highly appreciate such an offer and would love to accept it to give a possibility to our unique business's survival in Ukraine. Yet before that we need to admit that the new beginning for us after the war will not be easy and we will not be able to work with the prepayments as we used to. Therefore at the start, long-deferred payments will be vital for us. And before giving us any financial support, please, keep that in mind as well as our future possibilities for revival.

Yet any cent donated is going to save lives, and we have 800 members of Wine Bureau family to support. Therefore here are the long-awaited bank details of our British company where we can receive any financial help from you:
Wine and Food Partners Ltd

Legal address: Unit 2047, 2nd Floor, 6 Market Place, Fitzrovia, London, United Kingdom, W1W 8AF
Company number: 10164799
VAT No GB265 7338 76
SWIFT CODE: AGRIPLPR
IBAN: PL97194012100103624300110000 (EUR)
IBAN: PL78194012100103624300102000 (USD)
IBAN: PL10194012100103624300104000 (GBP)
IBAN: PL82194012100103624300119000 (AUD)
Please, use the following payment reference: Non-repayable financial assistance

The invaders cannot bend us all. They do not have such force and moral courage. They hold on to terror and outrage. But the Ukrainian nation has its will and power to fight. We have dreams of the brighter future we will build with you, our true and dearest friends. 

Glory to us all! Glory to Ukraine!

Warmest regards from finally sunny Ukraine,

Always yours,

Wine Bureau Team
 

14 March 2022 on Ukraine – day 19

Dear Friends and Partners,

Ukraine is not Russia.

We believe that now there will be no more confusion. Now the entire world knows where we are and who we are. Now the entire world understands why we always wanted to be apart, and each time we were underlining that we were from Ukraine.

But no one ever expected that we would have to pay such an enormous price to be seen and accepted. One says we received our independence for free in 1991 and here finally comes the battle of refund.

How could it really come to this point in Europe in 2022?

We all were closing our eyes and bending under Putin for too long time. We were tested to see how much one can do and stay unpunished and how far the image of power can lead.

All those military conflicts, aggression, trade wars… Today we have been reminded of a case involving Champagne. When Russia claimed that the only 'champagne' sold in their territory could be the one produced in Russia and by this banned the usage of word 'Champagne' on French wines as product marking. Seems to be not so important these days, but a good example of when something historic and unique may be easily appropriated by someone. The money of big businesses will find an option to accept this request.

Corrupt politicians made people dependable and afraid. Crazy, easy money. We were on the hook. The disease penetrated deeply everywhere.

Here comes the payoff. Extremely high.

But a crisis brings new values and understandings. We are building new societies now. When the politicians and business elites have to hear the people and truly represent their interests. When people are united. When people understand the value of peace, freedom and humanity. When a simple act of help or a kind word matters. When each individual's voice can be heard. Where there is no place for indifference and passivity.

No surrender. Not for us. Not this time.

Fighting for peace and a better world for all of us. For the next generations without war. Together united.

Glory to Ukraine!

Hoping for the protected sky of Ukraine,

Yours,

Wine Bureau Team

12 March 2022 on Ukraine – day 17

Dear Friends and Partners,

There are no more weekends for Ukrainians. For the past 17 days this term has been blurred out in our homeland. Frankly speaking it is hard to remember what day we are living in, only count matters. Count of days, count of shelled towns, count of bombs thrown off, count of people evacuated, count of dead…

The filthiness and villainy of the Russians have no limits. They already destroyed thousands of civil buildings. They killed more civil Ukrainians than military men in combat. They kidnap government authorities. They veil their military vehicles not only with Ukrainian flags, but also use flags of Red Cross. They send 17 year-old conscripts to the war. The same plane got off the ground of Belorussia, bombed northern regions of Ukraine and then did the same on their own lands to impute blame to Ukraine. They charged Ukraine with chemical and biological weapons so as to find excuses for possible similar attacks. They seize nuclear stations to spread terror. They are destroying our historical heritage built long before the creation of Russia itself. 

This is the reality in Ukraine. Hard truths that are impossible to believe in today's world.

Tomorrow we will not share with you our living nightmare and will keep silence for all the victims of the terroristic aggression.

Please, be sure we stand. Ukraine keeps its watch. And we come back on Monday even stronger together!

Glory to Ukraine!

Fighting for the brighter future,

Wine Bureau Team

11 March 2022 on Ukraine – day 16

Dear Partners and Friends,

We believe that presently no one has any doubt that Putin’s war machine does not plan to stop in Ukraine. The leak of papers with the initial plans still shocks more and more.

No one ever used the nuclear plants as hostages. No doubt this may be a disaster not only for Ukraine but to their own people of Russia and Belorussia as happened during Chernobyl, not even speaking of all remaining world!

No one could ever believe that there are so many people who are pushing the fire button knowing that the target is a maternity home, mental or children’s hospital – but it is happening in 2022. The true faces uncovered.

The story repeats itself. We, Georgia, Moldova, Ichkeria all well know the neighbour. Even Russian military actions in the Central African Republic and shocking strategies used in Syria, which included internationally forbidden chemical weapon against civilians and the armageddon in Aleppo, did not bring necessary international reaction at that time. It was far away. Impunity inspires, the empire must grow… Our Mariupol is the new Aleppo. But now it is close. Now it is happening again. We are all under the threat. Putin brought war to Europe.

And we stand. Ukraine is the first country which dared to resist. To resist and fight back. And we won’t stop. We fight for us, our land and you. For our future. The spread of the terror must be stopped. Now or never. There won’t be a second chance.

Nature is pushing as well. It is already March, planting season must start soon and in time. Ukraine is the source of 50% of the world’s sunflower oil production, 16% of corn, 12% of wheat, soil fertilisers and so on. For many countries we are the major supplier. And we will try to do our best even here.

As usual, thank you for all your priceless help. All donations, humanitarian aid, hosting refuges, protest marches, tens of thousands of military volunteers willing to stop the war crimes in Europe. Thank you!

We continue receiving inquiries how to help us and our company. Thank you! Hopefully tomorrow we will send an update on the current most urgent demand. Together we are the strongest power ever!

People with no freedom cannot liberate people of Ukraine because freedom is dangerous.

Written under the sirens wailing,

Warm Hearts of Wine Bureau Team

10 March 2022 Another grim despatch, sent this morning. See also this plea for wine donations, of any size, for this fundraiser on 25 March in London W11.

Ukraine – day 15

Dear Friends and Partners,

Two horrifying weeks of war in Ukraine have passed. No one could have imagined such a situation in Europe and in the 21st century. No one could have imagined such resistance from a little-known country. These days the Ukrainian nation has become a Nation of heroes, Nation of rebellions, Nation of fighters for freedom.

Ukraine is still standing, but we are getting furious. Furious after having our children and women bombed. Yesterday the Russians shelled a maternity hospital: three adults and one newborn dead. There are no words, only coarse language.

Winter has come back to Ukraine, with low temperatures and snow. So what do the terrorists choose to bomb? For sure, heat and power stations! What filth.

We pray for the seven green corridors planned for today to be safely organised and people to be peacefully evacuated from already totally destroyed cities.

We pray for only one calm and peaceful day, yet still hear explosions all over Ukraine.

We pray for the closed sky, but have not received even one new plane yet.

Our company is slowly coming out of the shock after having our stock destroyed, our history cleared and our great plans for the future torn apart. We continue to open two of our stores in Kyiv for four hours a day to provide food for citizens of the capital. All our restaurants continue to cook for those in need: hospitals, retirement homes, orphanages and for sure for our army and defenders. We are highly involved in the humanitarian aid you generously continue to gather for our people. Our employees mostly continue to work for the idea, for keeping our Wine Bureau family alive.

Our import department is going to close all the issues with the pending orders and we highly appreciate your prompt assistance and replies. The next step will be closing all the claims and pending marketing budgets. Each cent these days saves lives. We will be enormously grateful to those who pay their invoices right away. And finally we will try to come back to essential food importing as soon as such a possibility appears.

We, free Ukrainians, continue our fight. Glory to Ukraine!

Warm Hearts of Wine Bureau Team

9 March 2022 One more heart-rending communication to this Ukrainian wine importer's suppliers was sent last Saturday and has been added below.

Dear Friends and Partners,

After more than a week of war we would like to be frank with you. As written in yesterday’s so-to-say newsletter from us, we wrote about the shelling of our warehouse. Today we were confirmed that it was totally destroyed by Russian rocket fire.

Our main business activity was concentrated in Kyiv and we used to deliver all goods from particularly this warehouse across Ukraine. Consequently by our rough estimation the value of the stocked goods there was around €15 million. Totally burned, covering the whole city of Kyiv with explosive fumes.

It is well known that since the very first day of existence (since 2006) we have always been a trustworthy partner and never delayed our payments. This time we are sorry to announce that we have neither the physical nor economic ability to pay off our outstanding invoices at the present moment. Our business has close to zero turnover for a week already and the most part of our stock is burnt away.

The remains of money in the company accounts is allocated in this critical situation to pay financial support to our team – 800 people. The main asset of Wine Bureau has always been its people.

It is important to also underline that no orders are to be collected in the nearest future. And here are the main issues regarding them:

  • pending orders without fiscal bands can be sold to your other clients;
  • pending orders with the fiscal bands – please, wait till your import manager contacts you with instructions;
  • allocations and limited products reserved for us – please, be so kind to still keep them for us;
  • all the orders shipped around the war dates are now stocked in our EU warehouses. They are to be checked and if possible will be returned to you. Your import manager will contact you soon;
  • all the prepayments done for the orders that have not been finally shipped will be requested to be returned. Please, wait for the instructions from your import manager.

We still have great hopes to restore our business when the war is over. And we hope to come back to our regular order correspondence soon, without using the word war anymore.

Hoping for your understanding.

Warm regards,

Your Wine Bureau Team

8 March 2022 Olga Lapina, senior import manager of the importer Good Wine in Kyiv, has somehow managed to send these reports to their suppliers despite being under fire. The most recent one was dated 4 March, last Friday.

Ukraine – day 8

Dear Partners and Friends,

Yesterday the United Nations Security Council took place issuing a resolution to stop the aggression of Russian Federation and demand to withdraw its army from the territory of sovereign Ukraine. 144 countries have voted yes. This is three-quarters of the entire world. Unprecedented! And highly appreciated.

Despite all rules and statements during the UN session, the merciless and inhuman attacks never stopped. The Russian missiles and bombs are aimed civil and our cultural monuments making massive destructions. Unique medieval Christian churches protected by UNESCO are hardly standing. Burned museums. The holocaust memorial Babyn Yar Sanctuary was bombed. Shame! It is not like a bomb hit a building. We are speaking about whole quarters on fire and targeted hits. They are trying to erase our cities, our story, our heritage.

Today our main warehouse in a Kyiv suburb was hit (photo above). Alcohol sales are forbidden during wartime. Our business is now rearranged for local food and charity food preparation for our defenders.

We have all the news possible and can read and see everything in the internet. As Ukraine is free country, there are no restrictions on any news. Therefore we see your help, your support and your being united in gathering aid for Ukrainians. Thank you!

Some of you send us news from Russia, telling us about the protests. Sure, we understand there are normal and thinking people in Russia. But what a tiny number of rioters there are compared to those pulling triggers now in Ukraine, killing Ukrainian people! There are 145 million people in that Mordor, if only they had the will to stop this mess.

The pain for each loss only makes us angry. We will not stop, our spirit is strong, we are not letting the enemy deepen the positions. We are standing for Ukraine, freedom and our land. We need our sky to be guarded by NATO. How many more lives should be paid till the moment they dare to do this? 

Glory to Ukraine! 

Best regards from strong in spirit people of Ukraine,

Wine Bureau Team

Ukraine – day 7

Dear Friends, 

Today the first week of the war is coming to an end. Military experts say that everything becomes clear within the first seven days. As Russian initial plans failed, we have great hope that soon this nightmare will end. And this all is possible thanks to our fearless Ukrainian warriors and YOU, people who support us from all over the world, stop business with Russia, make donations to our army, send us trucks of aid and inspire us with comforting and encouraging words! 

Yet it is rather hard to forget and forgive with all those schools having been bombed, orphanages, maternity hospitals, children's hospitals and even animal shelters! What a creep one would be to do that! 

More than 2,000 civilians are dead because of this war, already 21 children among them. 15,000 people live in metro stations.

In consequence of the shelling, the infrastructure of tens of cities is destroyed, including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson and Zhytomyr. The hardest situation is now in Kharkiv and Kherson, cities bravely fighting back against the Russian hordes. 

This day we have fought also against Russian scaremongering, which aimed to scare off those who stayed in Kyiv. Yet it makes us more angry, and more and more women enter the professional army of Ukraine. I wonder whether Russians do not know the rule that you should not irritate moms, sisters and wives that much! 

All these losses and deaths would not happen, if only our sky was closed and controlled by NATO. It worked before, our requests were heard and brought to reality. Therefore we ought to ask you again to act for closing the sky over Ukraine. It is essential for Ukrainian civilians to stay alive. The rest will be heroically done by our Ukrainian army and resistance. Please, CLOSE THE SKY OVER UKRAINE. 

Act for peace! Glory to Ukraine!

With hope for a peaceful night,

Wine Bureau Team 

Ukraine – day 6

Dear Friends, 

We believe that after everything done by you for Ukraine you are not simply partners, but dearest friends. We cannot thank you enough for your support and help. Glory to YOU ALL!

The first day of spring has happened to be rather tragic. Such cities as Kharkiv, Kherson and Mariupol were severely attacked. Many residential buildings were destroyed by missile strikes, unfortunately, with civilian deaths. The central square of Kharkiv (a city with 1.5 million citizens) was bombed. In Kyiv the terrorists shoot down the TV tower. They attack now our communications in order to spread panic among Ukrainians. They want us to become separated and disorientated. Being cornered, these rats are becoming more dangerous, crossing all the moral and legal lines. There are no more rules in this war. But they cannot understand one thing – we are on our land, we are at home, we are united and with a great belief in our army, our people still have a fantastic sense of humour, I shall admit. Nothing can break this nation!

When 350,000 people left Ukraine to save their kids, 80,000 people came back to our homeland to fight for our country. Businesses are getting united and pay taxes in advance to support our government. Our company is going to fulfil financial commitments locally and with our suppliers as long as we can.

The war will soon end. And when that happens, when we beat the terrorists, this day will become the day of the Great Ukrainian Army. The first day of the new history of Ukraine, the new beginning for the glorious nation.

Big hugs from all the free people of Ukraine,

Wine Bureau Team

Ukraine – day 4

Dear Partners and Friends,

The madman said he would take Kyiv in a couple of hours. US intelligence was saying Kyiv will stand for only two or three days but on this fourth day of the open war with Russia the Ukrainian capital is courageously guarded by the army, local defenders and brave citizens of the Kyiv suburbs.

The whole of Ukraine keeps being attacked the most cruel and filthy way: Russians fire on buses with civilians, medical vehicles, kindergartens; they try to infiltrate bomb-shelters; they act like they want to evacuate civilians, but they are to use it as a shield before their army; they started marauding under stolen Ukrainian signs. But they are so easy to expose – none of them can pronounce true Ukrainian words! 

I am sure you all keep eyes on the news about Ukraine. And here are some regularly updated chronicles in English on all events related to Russian aggression: Liga and Suspilne.

Many of you ask how you can help Ukrainians, and we are enormously thankful. We have gathered some useful links. 

Our National Bank has decided to open a special fundraising account to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This account accepts multiple currencies. It has been established and opened to receive transfers from international partners and donors in both foreign currency (US dollars, euros, UK pounds) and hryvnias. 

Right now it is impossible to send anything to Ukraine directly. Our volunteers have set up a warehouse in Poland, on the Ukrainian border, that’s already open and ready to receive medicines, humanitarian aid, dry rations and more. Many of you know our logistic manager Mariia Holubova. She will be helping to organise shipments to Ukraine. All details and lists of what is needed the most are on the website. All the lists are updated in coordination with Armed Forces of Ukraine and relevant ministries.

Thousands of people have moved to western part of Ukraine and our employees there try to organise shelters for them in schools and homes of the locals. We will try to help them with the aid gathered in this warehouse. Yet if any of you in Poland, Slovakia or Hungary can bring food, household goods or patrol to the border with Ukraine, we will find a way to collect it there. Please, let me know whether it is possible for you and I will put you in contact you our colleague there.

Today I would like to end this letter with the words of our president.

Yesterday we lost mriia (‘dream’ in English; the biggest air jet in the world was destroyed during an airstrike of the Hostomel airport). But we lost the old dream. The new dream is being built.

Glory to Ukraine!

Warmest regards from the marvellous people of Ukraine, a free and independent nation,

Wine Bureau Team

Ukraine – day 3

Dear Partners and Friends!

We are not ok, BUT WE WILL BE OKAY!

We are optimistic, we are independent and determined.

Unfortunately the enemy continues massive attacks on civil objects, houses, hospitals, nurseries, shelters and orphanages(!) even using internationally forbidden types of weapon for residential areas. The whole night Russians were trying to invade Kyiv, unsuccessfully. The capital stays under Ukrainian flag. The attacks on the parts close to the Polish border show that the ambitions of the Russian invasion are not limited by the borders of Ukraine. 

The Ukrainians are heroically standing for our lives, independence, freedom and our common peaceful future. The way we stand nobody expected. We are extremely proud of being Ukrainians and grateful to our brave army and resistance. 

At this point we would like to THANK YOU!

Your support, participation, thoughts and whatever actions are priceless to us! We feel we are not alone. We have the best friends and partners ever all over the world!!

We start receiving some meaningful help.

Please do not stop. Speak for us. BE OUR VOICE! We won’t stop! Together we are unbeatable and unstoppable! 

Presently cutting the Russian aggressor from the SWIFT payments system is one of the most efficient and expected sanctions which have to be taken. Due to our information all EU countries but Germany and Hungary have confirmed the readiness and willingness to proceed straight away! All but two, it is already so huge! 

And still we have to ask for your help once again. Help us bring the message to these two countries. There are no other means to stop the madness. We hope Europeans will put the interest of peace first. 

Act for peace! Glory to Ukraine! 

From Ukraine with love,

Wine Bureau Team

Ukraine – day 2

Dear Friends and Partners, 

It has been already a second day of the Ukrainian fight for freedom. Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Odesa and many other civilian sites of Ukraine (to be exact 33 towns) were struck by missiles and these attacks do not stop. Russian forces attack not only military facilities and strategic places, but also residential districts of the cities and towns. So far Ukrainian armies as well as simple citizens have heroically defended our homeland. 

People of Ukraine defend not only our territories, but we shield also European values. And for that many great Ukrainians have already given their lives (including two children!).

We believe that some of you have visited the mentioned cities and had a great time in Ukraine. Today we turn to those who have not done that yet with a request to share this information in your country, business associations, chambers of commerce. Please, request imposing sanctions against Russian aggressor. 

You know us as a friendly nation who loves fantastic wines and food that we have been importing from all over the world to bring your cultures in Ukraine. We are Ukrainians, we are peaceful and free nation. Please, help us save our country and families. 

Glory to Ukraine!

Wine Bureau Team 

Ukraine – day 1 

Dear partners and friends, 

Today we woke up because of explosions near our capital Kyiv. Russia has officially declared war on Ukraine. Unofficially it has been on for eight years. There is in fact a full-scale invasion on our territory at the present moment. 

Ukraine stays united, we will defend our land and we will fight Russian invaders until we win. The Ukrainian army is stronger than at any time before, also thanks to American, British and European help. 

We are also very grateful for your concern and words of support. However, right now we ask you not only for words, but for actions. Please, do not keep silent. We believe many of you have business contacts with Russians. We would be grateful if you could contact them and ask them to take actions against the criminal decision their president has made. 

Meanwhile we invite you to watch this video from peaceful Ukraine and spread the word.

Pray for peace. Glory to Ukraine!

Wine Bureau Team