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Putin, Berlusconi visit Crimea’s oldest winery

Vladimir Putin and Silvio Berlusconi took a walk along Yalta's embankment and talked to holiday-makers

YALTA, September 11. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Friday visited Crimea’s oldest Massandra winery boasting the world’s largest wine collection.

The winery was founded by Russian Prince Lev Golitsyn in 1894.

"The prince was looking for a place in Russia where all climate zones will be present and found it in Crimea," Massandra general director Yanina Pavlenko told her guests.

She invited Putin and Berlusconi, who arrived in Crimea after a two-day stay in Sochi, to the tunnel cellars capable of keeping 9 million deciliters of wines.

"We are planning to collect 20,000 tons of grapes to produce 1.8 million deciliters of wine," Pavlenko said.

Putin and Berlusconi also inspected Massandra’s wine collection of 500,000 bottles and paid special attention to the wines made during World War II.

"Wines were produced and added to the collection from 1941 to 1945," Pavlenko said.

She also showed the two politicians the wines produced some two centuries ago.

"And it’s drinkable?" Berlusconi asked before Putin took him to the wine tasting hall.

After visiting the winery, Putin and Berlusconi arrived in Yalta, a popular Crimean resort city.

They took a walk along the city’s embankment and talked to holiday-makers.