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Peter the Great

The age-long relationship between the Russian Imperial Court and the Tokaji wine started in 1707 in Warsaw, when Peter the Great was introduced to it by Rákoczi II, Prince of Transylvania, while they were negociating a treaty. Rákoczi continued to send gifts of Tokaji. Later, in 1711, Peter the Great stated after a meeting with Rákoczi: „Until now I haven´t been defeated by anyone or anything, but Tokaji wine defeated me last evening.“

tokaji peter the great

In 1714 he sent Captain Paraskevic, descending from a Greek merchant family, and Sergeant Korsakov to Hungary, to trade furs amounting to 10,000 Rubles in 300 barrels of Tokaji wine. On their way back indeed, half of it has been confiscated by Polish authorities, due to customs regulations. Peter the Great failed to buy own vineyards in Tokaj, which made him having thoughts of making a similar wine to the Tokaji somewhere in his own empire. That´s probably why grape varieties like Gohér had been taken from the Tokaj region to be grown in Ashtrakhan on the shores of the Caspian Sea, by the mid-18th century.

Tsar Peter I the Great (1672-1725).
He tried several times
to buy vineyards in Tokaj

In 1716, it was Grigoriev Savva, who was sent to buy Tokaji. The successors of Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and Peter II, obtained customs benefits from the Austrian Court for Tokaji wine deliveries to Russia.

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