There is a new branch of industry developing at the south of Kazakhstan. This is a modern wine industry. A goal that is set before wine-makers is not at all petty: to move to the European level in the product quality.
However, we can recall the fact that grapes began to be grown in our republic on industrial scale back in 1960s, and some 30 or 40 years ago both the growing of grapes and wine-making had already been developed.
Back those years we already had a real farming cluster that is worthy to be recalled now. Europeans obtained 80-90 hundredweights of grapes per hectare, whereas in the South Kazakhstan oblast in 1970-80s the average output equaled to 100 hundredweights, and from some areas 300 and more hundredweights were gathered. High crop yield in Kazakhstani climate was shown by Georgian cultivars Rkatsiteli and Saperavi. Of course, this generally refers to both table use and wine grapes.
Only in Almaty oblast there were founded the following five state farms with the area of vineyards of 6,000 hectares: ‘Giant’, ‘Issyk’, ‘Chilik’, ‘Kazakhstan’, and ‘Karakemirskiy’. All in all by 1980s in Kazakhstan 27 thousands hectares of territory was occupied by vineyards. However, in 1999, and it was the period of the maximum recession, the size of vineyards area was only 9,9 thousands hectares. In 2012 vineyards occupied 14,8 thousands hectares, the lion’s share of which (98 per cent) accrued to the South Kazakhstan, Almaty, Zhambyl, and Kyzylorda oblasts.
Is it much for today? The answer lies in total figures. The Customs Control Committee of the Ministry of Finance RK registered: in 2012 93,3 thousand tons of grapes was imported to Kazakhstan from Central Asian countries and China, whereas the Statistical Agency RK recorded the bulk yield of the local grapes being at the level of just 71,7 thousand tons.
So, in September 2013 President Nursultan Nazarbayev visited grape fields in Saryagash region of the South Kazakhstan oblast and acquainted himself with the wine trade perspectives in this region. “I entrusted to develop waste lands of the region and create vineyards here. This year we got their first crop from them. Here (on the territory of Caspian Foods LLP, the new enterprise) the crop is harvested with the help of combined machines, so, there’s no need in manual labour. There was built a plant with the estimated capacity at the level of 2 million litres per annum. On its basis wine in compliance with the best European standards can be produced today. This enterprise will become the role model for all the wine-makers of Kazakhstan”, – stated President of Kazakhstan.