Barberry Garden

A wine corner in a crazy world


Yearly events report - Vol. 2023




Boris Buliga

This is our traditional yearly report, where my love for data comes to shine. I'm eager to share with you some of the analytics and insights we've gathered, focusing exclusively on Barberry Garden's events. A separate report will follow for external events where I've collected data. Stay tuned for more insights and stories as we continue to navigate and grow in this journey together.

As we wind down 2023, it's time to reflect on a year that has been both challenging and rewarding for Barberry Garden and all of us involved. Despite the ongoing war affecting our country, we've managed to keep our spirits high and our wine flowing. This year was about more than just survival; it was about thriving amidst adversity, enhancing our wine tastings, and improving our platform.

We have many reasons to celebrate. Beyond the technical achievements, I am especially proud of our community's resilience. It's not about the growth in numbers but maintaining quality and warmth amidst the turmoil. Incrementally, we've evolved, making small yet significant changes. Looking back, it's astonishing to see the path we've traversed together. Your participation and readership continually inspire me to push forward.

This is our traditional yearly report, where my love for data comes to shine. I'm eager to share with you some of the analytics and insights we've gathered, focusing exclusively on Barberry Garden's events. A separate report will follow for external events where I've collected data. Stay tuned for more insights and stories as we continue to navigate and grow in this journey together.

Related posts

  • Yearly external report - Vol. 2023 – Explore the 2023 external wine tasting events with our detailed report. Discover data on regional distribution, grape varieties, and wine ratings from 31 diverse gatherings. Understand the patterns of participation and Quality-Price Ratio in a year marked by enthusiasm and resilience from the Kyiv wine community. This report provides insights into the varied experiences and wines encountered throughout the year.


Including our '2023 Wrap-Up' party, we organised a total of 31 events this year, marking a twofold increase from the previous year! I'm still pondering what surge of inspiration led to this bustling calendar.

For those curious, below is the list of all the events we hosted throughout the year.

While my habits might lean towards nocturnal, it's no secret that the darker, cooler days of winter spur me into action, leading to a packed schedule of events during these months. As a result, you might have noticed a dip in our summertime activities. To ensure we keep the momentum year-round and address this imbalance, it may be time to consider enlisting some additional help with the organisation.


Let's turn our attention to the most crucial aspect of our gatherings: the participants. Without their engagement, none of this would be possible.

The majority of our attendees are informed of our events through a dedicated Telegram channel. As of writing this on December 27th, the channel boasts 157 subscribers, with 63 having participated in our events, myself included. This means roughly 40% of our subscribers are actively engaging with our events. Upon reviewing the subscriber list, I've noticed not all are familiar faces. It's encouraging to see new individuals taking an interest, yet it's disappointing when they don't engage further. 🥲

While I won't divulge personal details, a few common reasons for non-participation include being outside Ukraine, choosing not to drink, or simply joining the channel for updates. It's a reminder of the diverse needs and circumstances of our audience.

Tracking precise engagement over time is tricky with Telegram's limited analytics, but I can provide an overview of the total and unique participant numbers compared to previous years, offering a glimpse into our community's growth and involvement.

While the total number of participants naturally grew with the increased number of events, I am particularly pleased that we attracted more unique guests this year. This achievement is noteworthy, especially considering that many of our past attendees were unable to join recent events.

Most active participants

With our growing participant base, it's impractical to monitor everyone's attendance closely. However, it's always exciting to acknowledge our most active members! This year, I'm delighted to present gifts (see 2023 wrap-up) to the top three contributors – actually, four, as we have a tie for third place. Remarkably, Oleksandr has attended 75% of all events, demonstrating incredible dedication and securing the top spot. Hot on his heels, Elvira claims second place this year, a consistent figure of commitment, especially considering she participated in all but one event the previous year - missing only for a suggested trip to Israel!


It's fascinating to observe the frequency of attendance throughout the year. Two-thirds of all participants attended at least two events, demonstrating a returning interest. Half of the participants made it to three or more events, showing a solid commitment to our gatherings. Impressively, 40% attended four or more events, and nearly 20% were present at ten or more. Given that we typically have only nine spots available (excluding myself), securing a place at our events is quite an accomplishment!

Quick reflexes

On the topic of accomplishments, it's gratifying to see how quickly our event spots fill up. I've attempted to measure the time it takes for all seats to be booked from the moment of announcement. Typically, up to 40% of seats are already spoken for even before the official announcement (more about this in the recent message). Despite this, the remaining spots are snapped up impressively fast. A hearty kudos to everyone for their enthusiastic participation and for making each event a sought-after occasion.

Seriously, the enthusiasm for our events is astounding. The longest it took for all seats to be booked was 115 minutes, and typically, it's under 20 minutes! It's truly heartening to witness such eagerness. I can't express enough how grateful I am to be part of this amazing community. You all make it worthwhile.

Relation to Wix

It's no secret that I'm often found in the office, even during some of my days off (to work on personal projects). So it's hardly surprising that many of our event participants are my colleagues from Wix. Last year, for instance, 76% of participants were Wix employees. However, this year marked a noticeable shift with more 'outsiders' joining than employees. I've made a point to differentiate between guests who are external to Wix and those attending as a 'plus one' of an employee.

The following graph illustrates the distribution of unique participants in relation to their association with Wix, as well as their gender. Admittedly, I made initial assumptions but rest assured, I've verified the details to ensure accuracy! 😈

I find it somewhat amusing that there's only one male 'plus one,' yet the overall gender distribution among participants is quite balanced. But before we make any conclusions, let's delve deeper into the frequency of attendance. The following graph shows total participation in relation to their association with Wix.

A few observations stand out: Wix employees tend to return more frequently, as do male participants. The frequency with which ex Wix employees join our events might jestingly suggest they consider a sabbatical back to the cradle of software engineering in Ukraine! Additionally, it's encouraging to see that the 'plus ones,' regardless of their initial connection, are showing commendable persistence in attendance.


Before we dive into the ratings, I'd like to express a crucial point: a high rating isn't my ultimate goal. Choosing wines for our tastings isn't about chasing the highest scores; it's about storytelling and introducing new experiences to our participants. A lower average rating doesn't necessarily indicate a less successful event – what matters most is the shared moments and joy experienced during our tastings.

While the practice of distilling tasting experiences into numerical ratings is debatable (and the Wine Gourd has some insightful articles on this), these ratings do have their utility. They provide a consolidated view from a diverse group of individuals, each with different levels of experience and expertise. I've recently tweaked how we calculate the average score, and I'm open to discussing this change in a separate article if there's interest.

Now, with that preamble out of the way, let's explore ratings.


Before we reveal the top events, let me showcase another graph I've prepared, detailing each event alongside its average score. It's a chance to flaunt my plot-drawing skills a bit further!

Now, moving on to the main attraction: the top 12 events of the year.

It's hardly surprising that the finest orange wines claimed the top two spots. It seems that when we limit the numbers and select more intriguing wines, the results speak for themselves. This trend is a clear signal to continue focusing on quality and uniqueness.

I'm particularly pleased to see Sicilian wines and sparklings making the list. While Tondonia hasn't cracked the top three, its presence is noted. And South Africa? The diversity on this list is certainly compelling.

Value of events

The ratings themselves offer much interest, but it's when we juxtapose these with the average wine price of each event that we uncover deeper insights. To evaluate the Quality-Price Ratio (QPR) of our events, I employ the formula: 100×RMS!P\frac{100 \times \text{RMS}!}{P}, where PP represents the harmonic mean of the event's wine prices. This methodical approach allows us to gauge the value for money of our tastings, offering a more nuanced understanding of each event's quality relative to its cost.

The resulting plot is quite revealing, and I strongly encourage you to examine it closely. It's gratifying to observe that events specifically curated with Quality-Price Ratio (QPR) in mind have indeed provided excellent value. Equally encouraging is the number of events that fall inside the red area, indicating they've delivered beyond expectations in terms of value.

It's important to mention that I'm considering revising the QPR calculation method. While the current formula serves its purpose, I believe there's room for enhancement to make our assessments even more precise. Stay tuned for updates on this front!


I understand the anticipation! Here it is – the list of the best wines of the year. This is the culmination of all our diligent rating efforts during the events. Remember, each time someone wished to revise their score, their 500 UAH donation to the army reminded us of the stakes beyond our tastings. Perhaps our collective commitment could have monumental impacts!

The upcoming graph showcases the top 40 wines from the year, selected from a total of 231 (more details on that shortly). Get ready to see which bottles made the cut and stood out in 2023!

By the way, a note for the aficionados: some wines made repeat appearances throughout the year. To keep our rankings concise and avoid duplication, I've included only the highest average rating for these recurring bottles. This ensures that our list reflects the best of the best from our tastings.

That's quite a list, isn't it? I wouldn't be surprised if some of you are now eager to try these top-rated wines. Unfortunately, many of them are hard to come by. However, there's good news for enthusiasts: Françoise Bedel L'Âme de la Terre Millésime 2006 and Jacquesson Cuvée 745 Grand Vin (2017) NV are still available at Good Wine. So, if you're looking for something special to savour, these festive drinks are ready and waiting!

After perusing the list of top wines, you might, like me, be curious about the geographical spread of these fine selections. The beauty of such questions is their straightforward answers. Let's delve into the regional distribution of these celebrated wines and discover where the best of the best originate.

As expected, Champagne tops the list! However, it's delightful to see Venezia Giulia, Sicily, Burgundy, and Rioja also represented. Each region brings its unique flair and tradition to our selection, illustrating the diverse origins of our top-rated wines.

Now, shifting our focus from regions to varietals, let's examine the distribution of grapes among our top wines. This exploration will reveal the most celebrated grape varieties and perhaps some unexpected favourites among our selections.

While the usual suspects of popular grapes make their appearance on this list, it's particularly gratifying to see a number of lesser-known varieties gaining recognition. Their presence speaks to the adventurous tastes of our community and the wide array of quality wines we've explored together.

The bottom of the wines list

While bearing in mind the contentious nature of ratings and the caution against relying solely on numerical scores, it's still interesting to flip the script. Having honed my skills in ordering by score, let's reverse the order and take a moment to review the wines that didn't quite hit the mark. Here are the wines that, for one reason or another, landed at the bottom of this year's list.

Having compiled the list of wines with lower ratings, I find myself feeling a tinge of regret. It's understandable that some selections, like our lone alcohol-free wine, didn't resonate with our traditionally spirited crowd. However, seeing names like Peixes, Matassa, Marco De Bartoli, and Cascina Tavijn at the bottom is surprising. Rest assured, I'm on a mission to find out who's behind this and will ensure ample opportunity is given to these underappreciated producers. Prepare to be converted!


While the highest-rated wines are certainly exciting, the real question is what to sip while embarking on adventures in Final Fantasy XIV. Fortunately, identifying the top 40 wines based on Quality-Price Ratio (QPR) is straightforward. These selections promise to enhance gaming sessions with their exceptional value and quality, ensuring an immersive and enjoyable experience both in game and in glass.

This list serves as a clear reminder of why I'm keen to revise the formula used to calculate QPR. After fine-tuning the score calculation, I've seen the top list become genuinely useful. Achieving the same level of practicality and accuracy for QPR is my next goal. Looks like I've got my work cut out for me for next year!

Welcome drink

I was inspired by a wine tasting I attended, hosted by Ivan Omelchenko, where he offered a welcome drink as we gathered for the event. I was so taken with the concept that I adopted it for our own gatherings. Now, I make it a point to bring a welcome drink to every event, creating a smooth transition from the daily grind to the relaxed atmosphere of wine tasting.

While we typically don't rate welcome drinks, there's been enough interest that I've compiled a rating list for those we've had, at least where data is available.

Reflecting on the array of bottles we've enjoyed as welcome drinks, I'm quite impressed with the quality we've managed to serve up. However, I can't help but notice the absence of the most present one, Pregadéu - either we never rated it, or I failed to record it.

Curiosity piqued, I now find myself wondering about the most lavish welcome drink we've indulged in. Indeed, the priciest bottles, often Champagne, coincidentally made their appearance on evenings when I was particularly worn out and in need of an exquisite pick-me-up.

Correlation between order and score

During one of our events, a lively (yet short) debate emerged about whether the rating of a wine is influenced by its position in the tasting lineup. Yaroslav Mindolin posited that the second wine typically fares worse, while I contend it's actually the first. With the question now raised, it's time to delve into the data and settle this debate once and for all!

After reviewing the data, I must admit that I'm unsure what conclusion to draw. It seems there may not be a significant correlation between a wine's rating and its order in the tasting. While the first wine shows a notably lower minimum rating, this could be attributed to an outlier, such as the non-alcoholic bubbles. Though we haven't reached a definitive answer, it was still enlightening to address this question and scrutinize our assumptions.


Now that we've navigated through the intricate landscape of wine ratings, let's shift our focus to the geographical journey of our tastings. It's time to explore the various regions that have graced our glasses and map out the wide-ranging terroirs we've traversed.

I'm thrilled to report that our virtual wine tour covered 22 countries this year, up from 19 in 2022 and 14 in 2021. Italy remains our most frequented destination, with France hot on its heels in a close second.

The stacked bars have given us a vivid picture, but now it's time to broaden our view with a map of our wine world. The global spread is impressive, but let's zoom in on Europe for more detail.

It's fantastic to see the breadth of our European explorations! Currently, I lack the GeoJSON data to delve into specific regions on these maps, but who knows? Perhaps in the future, I'll acquire the necessary map data to enhance our geographical insights even further.


This year we've tasted an impressive 112 distinct grape varieties, a significant leap from 73 in 2022 and 42 in 2021. While I wasn't actively seeking out unusual grapes, the tally is quite astonishing in hindsight.

Initially, I had a notion to sidestep varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, aiming for less trodden paths. However, as the year progressed, I embraced these ubiquitous grapes, especially given their prominence in beloved regions like Burgundy and Champagne. Sometimes, you just have to acknowledge the irresistible allure of the classics!


Barberry Garden's roots are firmly planted in the Wix Kyiv Office, and that's no secret. Last year, we branched out to venues like 101 Bar, Garage, and One Tea Tree for some of our events. This year saw us exploring new locales, including Pantagruel and Lo Kyiv. Interestingly, we didn't make our way back to 101 Bar or One Tea Tree, perhaps saving them for future adventures.

Future plans

While the ongoing war adds uncertainty, my passion for Barberry Garden remains unwavering, with a plethora of ideas waiting to be realized.

Platform Evolution: I'm committed to continually enhancing the website (did you catch the latest update?). Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome and often the catalyst for change. While I won't reveal all the surprises just yet, expect exciting developments next year.

Wine Events Continuation: Organizing wine events is a given, though the frequency may vary. I'm also keen to continue the trend of 'anti-events,' focusing on fewer but more intriguing bottles. Your input on themes and wines is invaluable. We'll also continue organising charitable events.

Collaboration: I'm contemplating bringing on board someone who shares my values and dedication to help with the project. Whether it's one person or a small team, I hope to start this collaboration next year.

Venues: As our community diversifies, moving beyond the Wix Kyiv Office seems likely. But fear not, there are plenty of welcoming spaces for our events.

Support: Your engagement through participation is invaluable, and I strive to keep event costs reasonable. However, as expenses to maintain and enhance the platform increase, any additional support is greatly appreciated. If you wish to contribute, consider buying me a glass of wine on my buymeacoffee account. Every bit helps in sustaining and evolving our community. But do this only after donating to Armed Forces of Ukraine.


As this year's chapter closes, I'm not sure how many have journeyed this far into the text, but it's imperative to express my deepest gratitude to all who have bolstered Barberry Garden and myself throughout this year. A heartfelt thanks goes out (in no particular order) to:

  • Elvira Kantiieva: For her immeasurable support and profound influence over the years.
  • Maksym Demchenko: For the endless supply of bottles and offering guidance and information tirelessly.
  • Ivan Omelchenko: For seeding innovative ideas and sharing traditions.
  • Mykola Chobanu: For ensuring the supply of bottles and space for our events.
  • Vasyl Velykanskiy: For trust, guidance, support and space for our events.
  • Juli Shcherba: For creative project ideas and support.
  • Anastasiia Povzyk: For bringing special bottles from across Europe.
  • Anna Zinchuk: For generosity and miracles.
  • Danil Bielousov: For ensuring the supply of bottles.
  • Dimitry Grachov: For providing a taste of home with Moldovan wines.
  • Vova Ulianov: For invigorating the wine community in Kyiv and making this year eventful.
  • Wix: For the incredible people and the space that's become our tasting haven.
  • The Teams at Garage, Lo, and Pantagruel: For exceptional hospitality and creating memorable experiences.
  • Every Barberry Garden Channel Member: For your unwavering support and participation.
  • Every Reader: For making every effort worthwhile.

If I've inadvertently missed mentioning anyone, know that my gratitude extends to you too. This journey is a testament to community effort and the passion we share. Here's to continuing this beautiful tradition. See you next year with more wine, more stories, and more love. Cheers!