Russia’s wine market will continue to grow this year, helped by a record grape harvest and support from the country’s authorities, according to a new report.

The study, unveiled at the London International Wine Fair today (22 May), said a record harvest of grapes last year – more than 400,000 tonnes – means winemakers will “gradually discontinue” importing raw materials and use their own. Russia has around 60 wineries that produce wine from home-grown grapes. Around another 150 wineries use imported grapes. Russia has around 70,000 hectares of vineyards in total.

However, the report suggests that imports of wine will also increase in “the coming years”.

“Russia is one of the world’s most promising markets for wine consumption,” says the report, published by Moscow-based Asti Group and the Union of the Oenologists and winemakers of Russia. “Even amid the global economic crisis, the Russian market, after falling in 2009 by about 10%, started to increase again in 2010 in contrast to the majority of countries.”

The size of the Russia wine market more than doubled between 2000 and 2011, the report said. Volumes consumed rose from 409m litres in 2000 to 1,058m litres in 2011. Rising living standards and incomes were highlighted as the reasons for growth.

At a briefing at the LIWF, Igor Zibrak, general manager at the Moscow-based Wine Academy, said: “A lot of people have changed from vodka to wine. Vodka is not good for the morning and wine you can drink with your wife. Vodka is a difficult drink for a couple.”

Popovich Leonid, president of the Union of the Oenologists and Winemakers of Russia, said that the trade body has brought its “best producers” to the three-day wine fair to help people in the UK develop a relationship with Russia's wines.

A “programme of support” from the state authorities, running from this year until 2020, would also help the industry, the report said.

France remains the biggest importer of wines to the Russian market, with a 22% share of the market, followed by Italy (14%), the report reveals.