Tuesday, October 2, 2007

In victory, you deserve Champagne, in defeat, you need it

The best grape wine - The Soviet Champagne
N. Martynov, 1952

Soviet Champagne” has always been a part of every Soviet holiday and anniversary feast. It was the one and only brand available for the people.

The “Soviet Champagne” brand was created in 1928 after the Government ordered the soviet wineries to produce the sparkling wine affordable for the soviet workers. The original Méthode Champenoise was quite complicated and therefore expensive, as it implied fermentation in bottles for 1.5 years for the wine to fully develop its flavor. After that the lees settled in the neck of the bottle, got frozen and removed. Then the bottle was finally corked.

The Russian wine-maker Anton Frolov-Bagreev (1877-1953) managed to speed up the process and simplify the technology. Now the secondary fermentation of wine was induced in special champagne-fermenting water-cooled tanks of large capacity. This cut down the production time from 1.5 years to a month, and made removing of lees obsolete.

In 1936 the Soviet Government decided to build a number of champagne wineries across the Soviet Union as it was much cheaper to transport wine-materials than the final products. Several wineries were built and in 1942 Frolov-Bagreev was awarded the Stalin’s prize for his inventions. Reportedly before signing the list with nominees Joseph Stalin tasted the Soviet Champagne and did not liked it – as it was brut which seemed to be too dry to him. Another bottle with semi-sweet was brought in, and the Frolov-Bagreev finally got his prize. But this is probably the reason why nowadays Russians prefer semi-sweet wines over the brut which is popular in the world.

49 comments:

afro jamaicano said...

i luv ur site, the posters are soo dramatic, where do u find a new one for everyday?

courtney said...

this is a great idea for a blog! i love collecting old advertisements (usually for the kitch value) but they're truly a graphic design lesson as well.

Prill said...

your site is AMAZING!!!!
it's a great History stuff. congrads

Dee said...

your blog is of no great historical importance but I like it beacase it's cultural history.
We often drink champagne but we never think about celebrating the discovery of champagne.

Dan Rastor said...

Congratulations! Your blog hit in Blogs of Note.

Mike said...

Question. This site is not pro-communist is it?


Google has occasionaly had some very questionable blogs of note and this one tops it all.


So is the answer to my question yes or no?

Alexander Zakharov said...

Wow, that's trully great news, thanks everybody. I tried getting into BoN, and finally, i'm here. Cool, indeed! ;)

Mike, it's up to you to decide if a history book is procommunist, pronazi, prochinese, whatever.

Modern Russia owes everything to soviet times - its culture, industry, housing, roads, transportation, etc. Who did all these things? Its my grandmother who in the frosty forties was building Moscow metro, its both of my grandfathers, who fought Nazis and got wounded several times, its that millions of people who died of the hard work building foundation for the economy. These posters show how common people felt during their lives, and not Stalin, Brezhnev or any other soviet dictator. And it does imply communist ideology, no denying of it.

And the other thing is history itself. It is just as it is – you can be partial to some periods or personalities, but you can’t deny their existence. Yes, there was Stalin and he did kill millions of innocent people during repressions of the thirties (official data is 3.7 mln repressed, including 900 thousand assassinated, unofficial is 2-5 times more), and yes, the posters of the time did present life in a far more positive manner. I think you have to get on with it – just show Soviet history from the poster point of view.

And the third thing is that these posters are just beautiful. They are a great source of inspiration for designers and people, who like art. Right, Mike? ;)

Mr. X said...

Hy i like your blog. Visit my blog at www.newslynews.blogspot.com its a cool blog you should comment on like this.

Caos Alfa said...

Blog muy interesante, me ha gustado mucho.

Saludos

I enjoy... said...

I really enjoy your blog!

Paqui Pérez Fons said...

Very interesting and instructive blog. Congratulations from Spain!

Imruna said...

Thank you, great job!

toby said...

Interesting site. There's no denying the artistic merit in these pictures. I think Mike shouldn't worry too much about the Communist link; the people who suffered most under the Soviets still hate Russians today and probably will for many years.

East European dry champagne is very good; the semi-sweet is ghastly!

Mike said...

Well what I really wanted to know is if you agree with communism. That is my most serious concern. Please answer that plainly and then I woln't bother you anymore.

Anonymous said...

Awesome blog! When you run out of stuff to show (in case you do) i recomend you to take a look at the spanish republic posters (1936-1939).

Good luck.

redeye said...

horashow comrad and mike.. get a life, the question is ridiculous and completely off point. Now there is your answer... go away.

Tinatini said...

Hi, your blog is great. I'm an art history fan, so I love everything about this site. Great new posters everyday and brief social implications behind the graphics. Thank you for this treat!

Another Toby said...

It looks to me like there is a slight error. You write that Anton Frolov-Bagreev's life was 1977-1953. That doesn't seem right. Was that supposed to be 1877?

R2K said...

These are great! If only I had more money I would buy one in real life.

Anonymous said...

I suppose the posters have a minimal amount of artistic merit, but I'll never be able to get past the communism behind them. Call me old fashioned, but sorry.

Oh, and the notion that there's actually something significant about Soviet champagne is like singing the praises of yankee pork barbecue. No way, no how!

T.Z. said...

sds

T.Z. said...

Nice Blog!

Optimistic. said...

As an aficionado of Soviet-era history, I just wanted to say that I'm really impressed with this blog. It's really interesting and has solid historical fact behind it. Way to go.

Maddog said...

Are you a Communist? An Anti-communist? Since the Democrats are acting openly communistic, are you a Democrat?

-=AzN=-Wangsta said...

good blog
DONT SEE MINE, I WAS BORED AND THATS WHY IT IS HELLA GAY

Anonymous said...

It blows my mind that the question of communism is so worrying to some readers! Then again perhaps I'm tainted because I'm an art historian who specializes in Russian art. Anyway, of course they are sheer propaganda, but that certainly doesn't mean they have no value, artistic or otherwise. Mike, I think if you take a close look at the titles Alexander has given each entry you'll have your anwer. If anything, these posters provide very interesting cultural and historical information that can shed light on the present. At the very least, if it isn't to your taste, you can always find other blogs of note.

Kristen

gaelikaa said...

Well, you can read what you like into anything but I find these soviet posters lifeless and they speak nothing but ennui and suppression. That's it really!

~HV~ said...

Mmmmmm. pol-sladkoe sovietskoe champanskoe! We celebrated our Russian study-abroad graduation with it (in Saratov) and I miss it dearly. I definitely just bookmarked your page. :)

bellxone said...

Les destins les plus definitifs peuvent avoir les causes les plus improbables. Je fais des photos pour arreter la fuite du temps; je suis un eternel nostalgique.Je suis convaincu que l'art n'existe pas et que seuls les artistes existent, qui d'ailleurs ne font pas de l'art mais des choses, pour se faire plaisir. Toute creation passe par une technique plus ou moins difficile à maitriser, mise au service d'un resultat satisfaisant pour les sens. Bellxone The Art Design Sparkle *** Since 1982

http://bellxone.skynetblogs.be

MaGnUs said...

Excellent idea for a blog... though champagne is really one of the furthest things from communism :>

And Mike, if the site was procommunist, then what? Communism is (despite the abuses commited by some of its leaders, not unlike capitalist leaders), a valid political philosophy, even if I don't susbcribe to it.

anonymous said I suppose the posters have a minimal amount of artistic merit, but I'll never be able to get past the communism behind them. Call me old fashioned, but sorry.

No, not old fashioned, I just call you ignorant.

Dalia said...

WOW!!
If I ever wanted to write a paper about the Soviet history I tink I'd pass the library and go straight to your blog!
A really great one!! Great posters collection too! Keep up the good work!!!

Anonymous said...

Hello

Vier said...

Great blog, congratulations!

The Happy Revolutionary said...

The posters have much value for anyone interested in Soviet Art, and Soviet history generally.
I was in Vietnam recently, during the country's Independence Day, and many similar posters were exhumed for the occasion, all throughout the country.
Hell, even Budapest has a 'Soviet Statue Park' where tourists can see the old busts of Marx and Lenin that used to adorn the city.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic artwork.
Keep up the good work.
A superb expose of poster art from Russia.

GK said...

Dear friend
I had the previlege of visiting your blog. It is marvellous, congrats. You might be taking a lot of efforts to maintain it updated. Your effort is worth its weight in gold. Rare posters, painstakingly collected and exhibited in an examplery manner.
I too host a blog https://www.silkwormmori.blogspot.com
visit it
regards
GK

Mod(ish) said...

The quote about deserving/ needing champagne was first uttered by Napoleon.

The champagne in question was Moet Chandon i believe (or at least I found out about it in their cellars)

Mike said...

I think anyone who blows off communism as irrelavent or anyone who considers it good should take care not to forget the failer of communism and the longer success of a republic.

As for my question. I am still seeking a strait answer of yes or no
from alexander zakharov, the owner of this blog. I am not interested in hearing responses from people who don't know the answer to the question. besides that I think rhetoric like "go away" is highly suspicious and almost tastes of pro-communism. I can tolerate a lot of things, but I find it almost unconsistutional for communism to be spoken of in positive light. It is like hearing somone support murder. Have what religion you may want, but keep pro-communism and flag burning and terrorism to yourself. What good will power do you? (I speak to pro-communists). In the end you will meat with either Heaven or Hell and no power will set you free from either one.
Or you don't think there is an after life maybe? Well just soppose you might be wrong at least? Anyone with common sense believes it is possible for them to be wrong. In any case it is not polite for people to answere questions they were not asked.


alexander zakharov, do you support communism. Yes or No. I want no ones answer but your own.

Alexander Zakharov said...

Mike i can't possibly answer to your question. It's like asking a philosopher if god exists.
What do you mean by “support of communism”? You ask me if I am a member of a communist party? Or if I admire original Marx and Engels theories? Or may be you mean the interpretations done during Lenin, Stalin, Khruzchev, Breshnev, Andropov rule? Or some Trostky and the disciples ideas – the Spanish Republic maybe? And this are concepts – and there were implementations like Soviet Socialism, Cuban variant, China?

Mike, don’t want to be personal, but I suppose the only thing you know about the word “communism” is that its “Evil”. But you’re not alone. In the fifties there was a senator Joseph McCarthy, who actually thought that speaking about communism is murder. http://sovietposter.blogspot.com/2007/09/i-see-red.html Interestingly the Soviet people thought the same about capitalism and senator Joseph McCarthy. Ignorance is not about ideology, you bet.

Well… The thing is that we can think about communism as a concept and we can see what people who considered themselves communists gave to the world. Both points of view bring you lot’s of good and bad, if you dig deep enough. The worst thing in communism as a concept is that its not working. This is an Utopia based on the idealization of human nature. What did “communists” give to the world? Suppose you can tell me quite a lot about the “drawbacks”, so I’ll give you some positive info. How about 8 hour workday only five times a week, sick leave, general free education for everybody, woman’s vote? Sounds nice, isn’t it? Before the October revolution of 1917 only few countries in the world could boast of such preferences for its people – and right after they realized that revolutions were about to happen in their countries, so they made their move. And what about the Nazis? How do you think if an underdeveloped agricultural state (Russia before revolution) could stop Hitler’s offensive? Yep, these were evil communists led by vicious Stalin (he actually was vicious) who in just 10 years turned the country into an industrial state and saved the world – paying with tens of millions of their lives for that. Bad people. Commies, oh yes. ;)

Sorry for the mocking, Mike, I meant it but I didn’t want to be offensive. It’s already 1 am, and I think I’ll go have some sleep. ;) But this is a very interesting topic, indeed.

Anonymous said...

How come it is that guys like MaGnUs get to sit on what they perceive as their high horse and call guys like me "ignorant" for having anti-communist leanings while considering themselves quite the intellectuals for having just the opposite opinion?

It's the old double standard, politically correct BS of free speech being OK as long as it's MY free speech!

I'd call MaGnUs the more narrow-minded one!

(Oh, and PS MaGnUs - How's that communism working out for ya' these days?)

Artandtravel said...

Beautiful posters indeed. Keep me posted.

Miki said...

As a French I can just agree: I could drink Champagne all the time! I had Russian Champagne one day, which my Russian friend and painter collegue brought me from St Petersburg... I drank it listening to Vladimir Bicowski... What a party!

BF2 Addict said...

In Soviet Russia, Champagne drinks you!

Stupidness aside, this is a great site, it shows some of the views, culture and propaganda used and shared by the soviets.

MaGnUs said...

I am not a communist, nor do I agree with most of it's tenents. I never said I did. But as the blog's owner says, many of the rights we have today as workers are thanks to communism.

I also believe that all ideologies (when they don't call for outright elimination of a race, for example, as Nazism) have their place, and we have something to learn from them.

And I have the rigth to call someone who writes like this "I think anyone who blows off communism as irrelavent or anyone who considers it good should take care not to forget the failer of communism and the longer success of a republic." an ignorant, particularly when they only seek black and white answers such as "communism is evil".

Laura said...

This blog is a cultural treasure.
Thank you, Alexander Zakharov. :)

And I must say this, I admire (and entirely support) your eloquent reply to the question of whether or not you are a Communist. Well said.

Ironically, I've never had anyone ask me with such urgency or authority whether or not, I was a Capitalist.

To be a capitalist is assumed to be quite the saintly thing, at least in the Western world. So it appears that there is no need to grill others about THAT. Perhaps this is so because there remains a dominant, albeit latent, anti-communist ideology propagating through the Western media. I wonder if perhaps, that is also a form of propaganda too...

And who knows, the future might see blogs like yours pointing out pro-Democracy slogans for example...posters calling for the "war on terror". Things like that...
And perhaps even, someone will post a comment there and confront the owner to answer whether or not they support Democracy.

It is strange what we do.

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