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Russian Export Hike Buoys Crimean Wine Producer

Crimea's largest wine producer, Massandra, has seen its output drop by 24 percent in the first four months of 2014 compared with the same period last year, but the company thinks increased exports to Russia will help it turn the corner.

Massandra's general director, Nikolai Boiko, said the company's exports to Russia in April and May outstripped last year's figures and that pre-orders from Russia for June in July are well above average for that time of year, Interfax reported Tuesday.

For the moment, the company's wine is still being sold in Ukraine, but Boiko is unsure how the breakdown in working relations between Crimea and Kiev following Russia's annexation of the peninsula will affect the company.

Massandra, which has exported 60 to 65 percent of its produce in recent years, is already taking steps to make sure its exports to countries further afield will not be harmed. It used to export its wines to the Far East, Asia and even North America via the Ukrainian port of Odessa, but now it is looking to switch to Novorossiysk in Russia.

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