PUTIN KHUYLOSlava Ukraine
Slava Ukraini! – Glory to Ukraine!
In 2017 we picked one ton of Muscat and whole cluster pressed it, then fermented it in neutral oak. It was bottled two years later, unlabeled, and laid aside to rest in our cellar with the idea that it would develop well with a few years of bottle age. The wine was bottled without a name; putting a name to a particular lot is something that happens uniquely for each of the wines in the FH lineup: some name themselves while they’re being picked, or while fermenting; others reveal their names later during elevage when a more mature character emerges. This wine still hadn’t landed on an identity in February of 2022, when Ukraine was invaded by Russian forces. My partner (and FH’s Sparkling Wine Queen), Mara, and I wanted to help the Ukrainian cause, and she suggested to me that we release this Muscat as fund-raising wine.
We have decided to donate the proceeds of this wine to World Central Kitchen. With recent news of the Russian missile attack on the WCK relief kitchen in Kharkiv, Putin is carrying on Stalin’s history of visiting starvation and deprivation on civilians and children, going so far as to destroy infrastructure set up for humanitarian aid and relief. In what feels like the very least we can do, we want to help supply meals for those trapped within the country as well as those in flight to safety. WCK partners with more than 400 restaurants within Ukraine to produce around 320,000 meals a day. A set price per meal covers ingredients, rent, utilities, labor and more. WCK also provides food to animal shelters and veterinary hospitals. They’re good people doing good work — proper heroes.
This label was designed by Mara's cousin, a Ukrainian graphic designer, Nadin Itter. Nadin was named after Mara's Baba and is currently in Odessa with her husband and (like all the ladies in Mara's family) her cat.
Over the past few years I have developed ties to Ukrainian culture through Mara’s family: her grandmother — Baba — was born in Ukraine, and is a wonderfully engaging woman who has lived through events that fill me with awe and admiration. From the privations of living through Soviet-induced famines under Stalin to surviving the Nazi invasion and occupation of 1941, her life experiences have painted for me in vivid color the richness and vibrancy of the Ukrainian culture and people, making my outrage and anguish at the suffering and grief unleashed in February by the Russian army all the sharper. As news continued to emerge of the plight of millions of civilian refugees fleeing their homes, searching for safe haven and with no food readily available, Mara shared the following memories and thoughts with me, and it became clear where we wanted to send our funds:
“At every meal my Baba (Babushka) prepared for our family she would insist everyone else start while she continued to fill the table with more plates of food than the table could hold. Her recipes were all made from memory, everything from scratch and never anything but traditional Ukrainian dishes. At the table she would take a small amount of food for herself and quietly monitor exactly how much everyone else consumed until one of us would stop for a breath of air at which point she would launch into a lament about how you didn’t eat enough, or you didn’t like the food if you couldn’t eat a third helping, or comment on how you were too skinny, or say she made it especially for you so you should have some more. Sometimes there would be tears of frustration, elevated shouting, and ridiculous accusations. She would insist you were lying about being full. It was only after she went through this routine with every person around the table that she would finally add a little more to her own plate, having made sure that her family had had enough to eat before truly beginning her own meal.”
“It wasn’t until well into my adulthood that I came to understand why she did this. It was trauma. The memory of starvation as a child under Stalin’s dictatorship, experiencing Holodomor (a term derived from the Ukrainian language from the words hunger (holod) and extermination (mor)). It was a time when many Ukrainian communities were blacklisted from receiving food by the Soviet government; when farmers were forced by law and often at gunpoint to hand over their crops and harvest to government collectives, leaving the people who grew the food themselves with nothing to eat. More than half a century later, the trauma of childhood hunger could still be read in Baba’s desire to ensure that everyone in her family had more than enough to eat."
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