Sunday, April 10, 2022

Dispatch from Kyiv: Why I won’t be going to Vinitaly this year

The following is a speculative compilation deriving out of anecdotal missives from friends in the wine trade who are in Ukraine. This is only a drill. Слава Україні!

 I’m in the basement of our apartment building, where I now live. I am a young Ukrainian in the wine business (mainly p.r. and sommelier studies), but right now, me and my family, and our country, are fighting for our lives. So, I won’t be going to Vinitaly this year.

My mother-in-law has taken our children across the border to Poland, where now they are safe. My husband is fighting for our freedom in eastern Ukraine. I’m here with my mother, who is a widow and needs my attention, for she cannot travel far these days. And my father-in-law, we haven’t heard from in days. He’s back at the farm north of Kyiv, tending to the land and the animals. We are very worried for him.

I looked forward to Vinitaly every year, to meet with winemakers and my social media community. Especially hard it has been in the last two years because of the Covid. But now we face an even greater enemy to our being here in Ukraine.

I love Italy, their wine and food and people. I love how free the country is. I would bring back a little of Italy every time I went. I even loved Vinitaly. I didn’t mind the crowds, the confusion or the uniquely Italian form of organizing a large event like Vinitaly. Now I wish I had a bathroom here in Kyiv like the worst one I would ever find at Vinitaly. Or a dry panini and an overpriced bottle of frizzante water. It sounds like heaven to me.

But I am now part of the resistance against one of the most evil of humans, I cannot even say his name. But you know who I am talking about.

My husband has seen things no one should ever have to see. We are a peace-loving family. My children are innocent. We are innocent! But cruelty doesn’t distinguish between the guilty and the guiltless. No, the bombs from above are indiscriminate in their path of destruction. But we are not beaten. We are bloodied, yes. Our hearts are broken, but our spirit is unscathed. And we will win!

I’d love so much to see my friends at Vinitaly. But I’d love even more to see my father-in-law, my mother-in-law, my dear husband and my sweet, sweet children. I cannot even think about a wine fair, although I am guilty to say I dream about it. Maybe one day, in the future. But for now, we have more important things to attend to: Our Existence.        -Марія Павліченко



UNICEF USA Official Site - Help Children in Ukraine

SAVE THE CHILDREN - Ukraine Crisis Children's Relief 




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