Curious facts about Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra

Monastic fruit and berry fusion wine

Do you know anything about the monastic fruit and berry fusion wine, which was made in Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra in the 18th century?

Various types of it were made in the cellars and patrimonial household units of the monastery. The main place of storage for that type of wine was the large root cellar located on the territory of the garden, which was part of the estate of Father Superior of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. That cellar is still there.

The inhabitants of the monastery liked cherry and plum fusion wine best of all. To get a fragrant drink of high quality those who made it had to fill the tub with two-thirds of ripe fruit and add the best vodka (also known as “foamy wine” or strong vodka) from the monastery distilleries to that mix. Berries poured with vodka were carefully sealed in the tub and kept for several months in the cellar. Then, “sochok” – this is how the monastery’s infusion wine was called at the time – was ready to drink.

However, not only cherries and plums but also apples and pears were used to make fusion wine. The exception was that not all but only suitable sorts of those fruits were possible to make that type of product. Thus, to produce “dulivka” they used a special sort of small pears called “dulya”.

With reference to wild berries, there seemed to be no restrictions or reservations. Therefore, different sorts of fusion wine made of raspberries, viburnum, cranberries and most often red bilberries were delivered to Lavra from patrimonial farms in late autumn. A bitter made of red bilberries and wormwood was also in great demand.

Being exceptional, monastery liqueurs were always requested. For example, they were the only ones that could substitute a portion of wine (in case of its shortage), given to the brotherhood during any festive meal.

Natalia Lytvyn

Captions to the illustrations:

1. Cranberry wine


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