The spirit of cider – in Ukraine

APPLES and the drinks we make from them have an ancient history, buried deep both in the wild fruit forests of Kazakhstan and in European myths and legends. There is something irresistible and indomitable about our mutual relationship.

Here’s a story from Ukraine, via the American food website and newsletter Broken Palate. It is both sad and uplifting, the story of a cider-maker whose cidery was bombed by Russian missiles.

For six years Vitalli Karvyha lived out his passions: As an enologist, Karvyha’s study of wine led him to open his Berryland cidery and meadery in Makarivska Buda Village, in the Makariv District of Kyiv in Ukraine.

For six years, Karvyha built the business, making ciders and meads with local fruits and berries — hence the name Berryland. For his mead, Karvyha sourced honey from his own on-site bees, their hives painted in the Ukraine colors of blue and yellow.

The cider maker entered his products in various world competitions — and his ciders and meads amassed a slew of awards in a short amount of time including a bronze medal at the 2018 Vintage Cider World in Frankfurt, Germany, and a silver medal at the 2018 Mazer Cup in Colorado.

Then the war began. Soon after, on 16th March, Karvyha posted a message on Facebook: “Berryland Cidery stopped making cider and mead … we were prevented by war and an air bomb …. I am sorry.”

He posted pictures of his cidery and meadery in ruins. The beehives, though damaged, seemed intact enough for the bees to remain, he says.

In messages to Broken Palate, Karvyha said that the cidery was destroyed when a bomb hit it. Though the cidery was demolished, his family and all the people who worked at the cidery escaped injury.

On Facebook, wine and cider makers throughout the world are voicing their solidarity, with one German winemaker offering their facilities for use.

Karvyha plans on rebuilding the cidery when the war is over, though at this point he doesn’t know where he’ll get the funding. But his spirit isn’t broken.

When asked what he would like people in the US to know about what’s going on in Ukraine, Karvyha said, “I would like to say to people in the US: Ukrainians will have victory and peace.”

Follow Berryland cidery on Facebook for updates.