Coffee and wine, wine and coffee… I have more than once (or even twice) made sure that these two worlds are connected and intertwined so that one can`t understand where one begins and the other ends. Browse this blog and you will understand what I mean. Well, for example here:


Or here:


Or here:



Recently I was sitting in the Kofein  on Rymarska, drinking a wonderful Ethiopian coffee Ye Genet and browsing the newly purchased book of memoirs of the great linguist Yuri Shevelyov, who lived for many years in a neighboring house (across the street):

Next to me, on a metal shelf, are bottles of wine. And right in front of my eyes is the inscription on the bottle: "The winery of Prince P.M. Trubetskoy». I return to reading the book  and at the very beginning I`m surprised to learn that he, the most prominent Ukrainian linguist, on whose behalf the Muscovites are writhing like devil in church – actually was a German and his born surname was Schneider. The surname Shevelyov, his father, a general of the Russian army, chosen at the beginning of World War I, so that his subordinates would not suspect him of treason, as they were fighting against the Germans and were commanded by a German named Schneider. So the Schneider decided to change his surname. He chose the surname "Shevelyov" - because it sounds "russian". Well, there was another reason why the name started with the Cyrillic letter "Ш" [Sh] - because all the family linen and utensils of the Schneider family were decorated with monograms with the same capital letter "Ш". So General Schneider decided to become Shevelyov – to soldiers in the war were calm and bowls at home intact. But his son, who grew up in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, became a Ukrainian, and so famous. About such knotted stories sometimes (please, forgive me, Ukrainian linguist Shevelyov) the vernacular saying used: [kino i nemcy] (cinema and the Germans)…


I paused to read the Shevelyov's book, the bottle of Trubetskoy's wine was in front of my eyes again… and reminded me of another story, where wine and Germans and Ukrainians were also knotted. And coffee, of course.


Trubetskoy wines have been in Kofein for a long time. A few years ago I was invited to a presentation of wines of this producer. The presentation was given by speaker of the winery, the eloquent lady, who knew every detail about the winery. The wines themselves were excellent - white, red, rose, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot, aromas of the steppe, the wind from the Dnieper, like soft velvet…


So she told (of course in Russian, "so that the people of Kharkov could understand") that in those days (in the late 19th, early 20th centuries) when the owners of the winery (near the village of Kozatske) were the Trubeckoy princes, they certainly lived somewhere there in the Petersburg (i.e. profligate aristocratic lifestyle, they have never been to dig in the vineyards) and greatly appreciated one man who directly managed the winery, and the princes were very grateful to him. Apparently, he really did a lot for the winery, because more than a hundred years have passed, there are no princes or soviet-state farms - and he is still remembered. The winery then, after the princes, was called "Lenin Sovietic State Farm" for a long time and even during the Gorbachov’s "prohibition" had its own brand store in Odesa, where I happened to buy their wine a couple of times. And the name of the man, who first managed the winery - Schmidt, that is, he was a German. And so, when I heard this name at the presentation, in connection with the winery - I felt a kind of "deja vu". It seemed to me that I already knew something about this Schmidt. This thought did not give me peace. At first I thought I was too drunk with the presented wine. But the presentation was over, I went back to the coffee shop and there, a few hours later over a cup of coffee, I remembered how I knew about that Schmidt. This name, of this man, from the same winery, John told me for the first time. Those who taught English in the Odesa Hydrometeorology Institute (“Hydromet”) in the 1980s know who John is. His real name was John G. Burlak. He was born in the United States and spoke with an English accent until the end of his days. In the “Hydromet” he taught English and for some time was the curator of my group, well, that is, my "class teacher". In addition to the institute, we also communicated with him during the DND (Voluntary People's Squads). In Soviet times, there were these Voluntary People's Squads, when students and their teachers had to walk around the city with red armbands for several hours a month and look after the order. In addition, John lived on Pirogovskaya Street, neighboring block to my dormitory. I was in charge of the photo lab in the dormitory, and John often approached me when he needed to print photos. Here you can see the plaque on the door of the lab, with my name and my room #:


And once upon a time, John asked me about how we worked on the collective farm in the Tarutyno district, where we students were sent to pick grapes. I told something there and, among other things, said that when we worked there, we did not earn money, but we could eat as much grapes as we wanted. And then John remembered his father telling him about working in the vineyards in his youth  times. I was struck by his story and remembered it. His father's real name was Serhiy Kovalenko. And the name "Gregory Burlak" - he took later, when he came to America. As a young guy (in the early 20th century), his father was hired by a winery, as he said, somewhere near Berislav (it is South Ukraine, near Kherson). And what he remembered there and what he told his children and it came to me later in the stories - that there, when the grapes were harvested, the grape pickers were forbidden to eat those grapes. It was difficult to keep track of this, and that's why the clever manager of the winery, the mentioned  German Schmidt, came up with the "brilliant" idea of ​​wearing something like a protective shield around the neck so that a person could not reach the mouth to put the grape in.

As John described, it was something like protective collars worn around the neck of cats or dogs so that they could not lick their paws or body. When people worked in these shields, it was easier to make sure that they did not eat grapes - because when a person took off that "muzzle", it was visible from afar. During the grape picking, Schmidt rode between the rows, and carefully watching that the grapes were well harvested and not eaten. To drive a horse and to punish violators, Schmidt always had a long steel rod in his hand, like a truncheon. And once Serhiy took off his "muzzle" or violated something else - but Schmidt noticed the violation, got on his horse and swung at him with that rod. Serhiy (he was a quite tough guy) told Schmidt that if he hit him, he would be hit back. But Schmidt was also tough and had guts, and he was on horseback. And what was some teenager for the tough horseman with steel rod? So he hit Serhiy, very painfully, with a bloody wound. Serhiy remembered this insult. After some time he knew that Schmidt had gone to Berislav and would return in the evening. Then Serhiy gathered his belongings, found a suitable place near the road and ambushed Schmidt there. And when he returned at night, Serhiy knocked him off his horse and beat him well. Then Serhiy went away, to look for a job somewhere in the Crimea. And Schmidt was left lying beaten by the road. He survived, although he was hospitalized for several months.


Then Serhiy found a job in Sevastopol, where he was taken to care for animals in the circus. The circus toured. Times were turbulent, the 1905 revolution had just begun, and Serhiy became involved in revolutionary activities. One of his mentors at the time was a tanned young man named Joseph Dzhugashvili, who nicknamed him "Sergoon" for Serhiy. He was not yet Joseph (Stalin), a goblin who murdered millions of people, but a young "servant of the people" who just wanted to "take everything from everyone and divide it equally."

Then, during the uprising on the cruiser "Ochakov", which, incidentally, was also headed by Schmidt, but another one, known as "Lieutenant Schmidt" - Serhiy assisted the insurgents. The uprising was suppressed, and Serhiy, like Schmidt, was captured. Schmidt was then sentenced to death, and Serhiy was imprisoned. From the jail he managed to escape, first to Europe, then to America, where he became Gregory Burlak. There he (because he was Kovalenko, in Ukrainian, the word “Kovalenko” means “Son of the smith” ) found a job at a metallurgical plant in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, became an specialist  of the craft, married, had 4 children - a daughter and three sons, one of them was John.

Here you can once again see how this world is small. Just think - thanks to the acquaintance with John, me, now an inconspicuous old cyclist, who somewhere near the shabby fence on Kharkov Street steep pedals in the rain - I am three handshakes away from young Stalin and Lieutenant Schmidt. And from the Schmidt, too, who so zealously guarded the prince's grapes from the Ukrainians. And the grape grew on the lands seized by the Muscovite princes from the same Ukrainians, the wine of the lands now is on the shelf in the cafe Kofein, on Rymarska Str, just opposite the house where lived Ukrainian linguist Shevelyov (Schneider).



 In this photo - John is sitting on a chair. And behind him is his brother Nicklas. Next to their father is their older sister, Anne. Anne, who remained in America, for the rest of her life she fought for workers' rights there until 2002.  In 1994 I talked with her on the phone for a long time when I was in New York. Her number and recommendations were given to me by her brother, John, who was still alive at the time.



John's brother Nicklas is also a very interesting person. He wrote a great book of his memoirs. I highly recommend reading it. You can buy it in the Amazon store:


https://www.amazon.com/Love-War-American-Volunteer-1941-1943-ebook/dp/B00D67DXC6/ref=pd_sim_1/130-6754011-3025218?pd_rd_w=9ouxp&pf_rd_p=6caf1c3a-a8 81b67e85dc96 & pf_rd_r = 8JEMBFGRAQNEPQ37G7QA & pd_rd_r = ae8b5e18-64f5-46ef-b6e2-e6152e1fed7d & pd_rd_wg = cGsm9 & pd_rd_i = B0D55X5




And in Russian it also can be found on the Internet.


And if you've read all the way here, you probably may ask me, that blog should be about coffee !!! Not about wine and not about the memoirs of famous people. So where is the coffee here ?! And I`ll answer you. I started with how I had a coffee at Kofein, Rymarska. And I will finish also about coffee. Because the only time I've seen Nicklas Burlak (not John, but Nicklas) is connected with coffee. I accidentally met them (John and Nicklas) one summer, near the house on Pirogovskaya, where John lived, right at the entrance to the grocery store closest to my dormitory. This was in the mid-1980s. John then introduced me to Nicklas, said that he came to visit him, and to have a vacation near the Black Sea. We talked a little and they went somewhere. And I went to the store. This was the store where, for the first time in my life, I bought green (unroasted) coffee, Indian Arabica, to roast in a dormitory, in a frying pan.


Being recently in Odesa, I went to that store. There was no green coffee now, so I bought a bottle of wine. I stood near that house for a long time, remembering the past. John and Nicklas are gone long time ago. And if they were alive, they would definitely confirm to you, that life is too short to drink bad coffee. And wine.



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