Saturday, October 22, 2016

Stalin used in Georgian wine marketing again

22.10.2016 (Hvino News). Though Georgia's official attitude to the figure of Joseph Stalin (who was Georgian) remains strictly negative, public opinions are mixed. This is why images of Stalin are sometimes used commercially, for example by wine producers. This new wine label design has been recently posted by Packaging of the World and other specialized online medias.

This label design project is developed by Russian agency Grand Buro. Four Georgian wines -  Khvanchkara, Kindzmarauli, Mukuzani, Tsinandali - appear under the brand name Stalinskoye Slovo ("Stalin's word"). The wine labels read "produced and bottled in Georgia", but the name of wine producer is not visible. However, the project is listed as commercial work, marked as "produced".

"Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. Holding the post of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, he was effectively the dictator of the state. He was an absolute lover of wine, especially Georgian wine," - reads the website post.

The wine label features not only a portrait of Stalin, but also one of his quotations. The text of label is mostly in Russian with quite a bit of Georgian text, suggesting the wine is probably intended for export to Russia.

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Grape harvest 2016: Farmers in Georgia’s wine region earn almost 100m GEL

21.10.2016. The grape harvest has come to an end in Georgia’s wine region Kakheti where the local farmers have earned more than 97 million GEL (about $41 million).

In Kakheti 178 wine companies were involved in processing grapes. Together the companies processed more than 100,000 tonnes of grapes.

Meanwhile, the grape harvest was in full swing in north-western Racha-Lechkhumi region, where a small amount but very unique grapes are grown.

In this region 24 wine companies purchased and processed over 500 tonnes of grapes. Local grape growers enjoyed 2.5 million GEL (about $1 million) by selling 500 tonnes of grapes.

In total in both regions over 19,000 farmers sold their harvest to wine companies this year.

"We have created completely different program for subsidising and agricultural loans where the state stimulated the wine industry in a correct way,” said Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili today while summarising the 2016 grape harvest in Kakheti.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Georgia: First impressions of a wine industry in transition

by Mike Veseth

19.10.2016. Sue and I were fortunate to be able to extend our visit to the Republic of Georgia at the conclusion the  of United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) first Global Conference on Wine Tourism. The conference’s focus was on wine tourism, but we wanted to learn more about the Georgian wine industry itself.

Georgia’s DNA

As I explained in an earlier column, I came to Georgia full of questions about the wine industry here and with a preliminary hypothesis to help me shape the inquiry. Here’s what I was thinking.

Georgian wine is very old and the wine culture is strong. I have never been anywhere where wine was so central to the culture. Wine and vine were everywhere we looked. Wine grapes were a central element, for example, of a Soviet-era war memorial we saw in Sighnaghi. And grape vines are at the heart of the image of Georgia as a Christian nation. Saint Nino fashioned the first cross using her own hair to bind two lengths of grape vine. Wine is Georgia’s DNA.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Georgian wine: 5 fast-facts you need to know

by Megan Eileen

18.10.2016. It’s hard to believe it’s been an entire month since my glorious trip to Georgia. Yes, I’m talking about the country, folks. To be honest, Georgia was one of those places that really intrigued me as a traveler and yet, up until earlier this fall, I had no set plans to visit. Now that I’ve been, however, I can’t imagine NOT visiting. Every day was an opportunity to meet new people, gaze upon century old buildings and churches and best of all, literally drink my way through Georgia.

Despite being a small nation—there are about 4.5 million inhabitants—Georgia has no shortage of lush landscapes, jaw-dropping views and delicious cuisine. What impressed me most, however, was the wine. Not only does it taste like no wine you’ve ever tried before, but there’s such love that goes into every bottle.

So, for my fellow foodies, here are 5 fast-facts you never knew about Georgian wine.

1) Georgia is called the “Cradle of Wine”
Let’s start with the basics. Kakheti, Georgia’s main wine-producing region, is called the “Cradle of Wine,” because the locals have been producing wine for 8,000 years. Yep, right; For more than 8,000 years, the Georgian people have been growing vines on the slopes of the Caucasus Mountains. Then, at one point, they began exporting their wines, including the technology for making them, to the Ancient Greeks. Most recently, UNESCO recognized traditional Georgian wine making on its list of the intangible heritage of humanity. That’s no easy feat!

Grape harvest in Racha: 257 tonnes of grapes picked so far

18.10.2016. The grape harvest is almost over in Georgia's main wine growing region Kakheti but the action is continuing in the northwestern Racha-Lechkhumi region, where a small amount but very unique grapes are grown.

So far this season local farmers in the region have processed 257,075 kg of grape including:

Aleksandrouli and Mujuretuli – 255.323 tonnes
Dzelshavi – 1.752 tonnes

In Racha-Lechkhumi 20 wine companies are involved in grape processing, including one wine enterprise that was hired by the state.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Russia may increase wine imports tax: Views from Georgia

Photo: A. Druzhinin RIA Novosti
17.10.2016. Georgian wine exports to the Russian Federation may decline. Higher taxes will create problems to distributors  and producers. It is not known when exactly the new rate will come into force, but the working process was intensified in this direction.

Russia plans to double excise tax on wines. Ministry of Finance of Russia has already submitted due initiative to the government. The amendments are part of the 2017-2019 tax strategy project and it will not supposedly refer to sparkling and fruit wines. The information was published by the Commersant Russian newspaper. Meanwhile, Georgian winemakers expect that wine exports to Russia will decline after growth in wine imports excise tax.

Under the project, excise tax for imported wines will increase to 18 Rubles from 9 Rubles per liter, while the rate will rise to 10 Rubles from 5 Rubles on wines with geographical indications protected by Russian brands.

Pavel Titov, President for Wine House Abrau Durso: Higher excise tax will cut wine consumption and decrease domestic production and hinder imports replacement process.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Interview: Romaine Audrerie, London’s top sommelier, discovers Georgia

by Nino Gugunishvili

13.10.2016. Gordon Ramsay, Martin Blunos, Nuno Mendes, all those Michelin-starred celebrity chefs and their restaurants have been part of Romaine Audrerie’s amazing career journey. Now a head sommelier of wines at one of London’s iconic restaurant’s, Chiltern Firehouse, Audrerie came to Tbilisi this month to discover more about the Georgian wine culture, possibly adding some new wine brands to his portfolio. His trip was organized by Mako Abashidze, founding director of the British Georgian Chamber of Commerce.

As a part of their marketing strategy in partnership with the Georgian National Wine Agency, the British Georgian Chamber of Commerce often brings head sommeliers, food and wine writers to Georgia to promote the country through its wine and cuisine.

Georgia Today met Romaine Audrerie at Rooms Hotel Tbilisi, which he described as very comfortable and homely, to find out more about his career, his trip to Georgia and Georgian wines.

How did you end up choosing the profession of sommelier?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Practical guide to wine tourism in the Republic of Georgia: UNWTO Lessons

by Mike Veseth

12.10.2016. Sue and I  recently returned from the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) first Global Conference on Wine Tourism in Tbilisi, Georgia and we are still processing the experience.

One interesting feature of the conference is that the sessions weren’t confined to the usual convention center or hotel ballroom locations. The organizers boldly took the program on the road to four interesting wine tourist venues.

This experiment provided an interesting opportunity to talk about wine tourism while actually being wine tourists. Here is what I think I learned in the process.

First Impressions: A Georgian Supra

The conference opened with a gala dinner (hosted by Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili) at the beautiful Funicular Restaurant, which is located high on the hill overlooking Tbilisi next to the television tower. The view from the patio was spectacular, especially as the sun went down and the lights came up, highlighting the monuments. It felt like you could reach out and the touch the city.

There was good Georgian wine at the dinner, but the focus more more on Georgian food, wonderful polyphonic singers and traditional dance groups. Professor George Bagashvili was the master of ceremonies and he explained all that we were seeing and hearing. He deftly led us through the traditional series of supra toasts, but in a tourist-friendly way (without the feared requirement to drain endless glasses or horns of high-proof  chacha).

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

KTW signs 1 million bottle deal with China

11.10.2016 (Hvino News). China's Beijing Charming Grand International Trading Company (CGIT) recently agreed to import one million bottles of Georgian wine and brandy in the next 12 months.

Memorandum of Cooperation was signed with Georgian partner company Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking (KTW) last week, by KTW's General Director Zurab Chkhaidze and head of  CGIT Van Henshun.

In recent years Georgia has forged strong ties with China through bilateral trade and economic cooperation. Georgian wine was one of Georgia's most promising products exported to China. Already this year Georgia exported 3.5 million bottles of wine to its Asian partner – a 158 percent increase year-on-year, said the Government of Georgia.

Meanwhile a Memorandum on Free Trade Deal between Georgia and China was signed. The Free Trade Deal will come into play next year and will allow Georgia to sell its goods in China's market of 1.4 billion consumers with zero tariffs, without additional customs fees and without any transition period on the Georgia-made products.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Georgian winemakers concerned about possible growth in excise duties in Russia

10.10.2016. As reported, the Russian government is discussing the possibility of increasing the excise tax on wine, especially imported.

Georgian winemakers fear that this decision could have a negative impact on the export of wine to Russia.

According to General Director of "Tbilvino" Zurab Margvelashvili, if the decision is adopted, the export of wine from Georgia would be hampered.

"As a rule, the rise in price of any goods has a negative impact on its sales. Especially against the backdrop of the crisis and the decline in purchasing power in Russia. Even a slight rise in prices will have a negative impact on the sales, "- he believes.

In the words of Gia Shengelia, Director General of the company "Badagoni", the excise increase will negatively affect the export of wine from Georgia.

"Russian distributors can ask us to reduce the price, but then we will see losses. Now we are competingawith cheap wines from Abkhazia and the Crimea. Currently, Russia accounts for 35-40% of our exports, "- he says.

CEO of the " Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking" Zurab Chkhaidze also expects the negative effectsfrom the excise duty increase.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

National Wine Competition results revealed at final of Wine Week

04.10.2016. For the past 11 days Georgia has hosted dozens of events nationwide honouring and celebrating Georgian wine and those who make it.

Georgian Wine Week 2016 ended last Sunday after almost two weeks of wine-related activities and events in capital Tbilisi, in eastern Kakheti wine-making region and in other parts of the country.

The celebrations started on September 22 in Kakheti with the opening of a Qvevri Workshop in Ikalto.

The Qvevri Workshop was a central event of this year’s Georgian Wine Week and showed visitors about the historic use of qvevri (a large, ancient winemaking vessel) in traditional Georgian winemaking.

A photo exhibition and awards ceremony praising monastery wines was held simultaneously in Ikalto.

The final event of Georgian Wine Week 2016 took place yesterday at Rike Park in capital Tbilisi and was an exhibition of wine-related products. Several ceremonies were held to award important people that had contributed to developing Georgia’s wine industry.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Participation in BEST WINE CHINA in "DRINKS PLUS Editorial Choice"

03.10.2016. D+ International Communication Media Group has received preference from Best Wine China (Beijing, November, 25-27th, 2016) to create the stand of editorial beverage choice.

DRINKS+ magazine has successfully represented the wine and spirits business of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia in the international arena for many years, taking part in the most prestigious exhibitions, forums, conferences, events and forums as media and as organizer of B2B presentations and tastings.

This event is joint project with Hvino.com.

D+ Group and its media are respected by professionals around the world. Therefore we are going to present leading manufacturers of high-quality drinks in the status of Editor's Choice of DRINKS+ at Best Wine China. We are ready to host 3 companies with different categories of beverages (spirits, still wine, sparkling, cognac/alcoholic drinks, beer) on our stand, with an option of non-stop tasting. The editorial stand participant package is available at advantageous price, compared to regular participant prices (including equipment, and promotional support - announcement and post-coverage in our magazines, web and partner media).

Deadline for applications for participation: October 5, 2016.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Tsinandali: The first bottled Georgian wine brought back to life

02.10.2016 (Hvino News). The European winemaking technologies were introduced in Georgia in the 19-th century at Alexander Chavchavadze's Tsinandali Estate Map , in Kakheti region. Alexander Chavchavadze (1786 - 1846) was Georgian nobleman, notable poet and military figure of 19-th century.

Georgian wine was bottled for the first time at Tsinandali Estate. After years-long break, the estate regained its primary function. Under the patronage of Silk Road Group (SRG) it started reviving the old tradition of winemaking and producing original Tsinandali wine.

As Silk Road Group manager Koka Archvadze commented, Tsinandali Estate is a place where the modern Georgian winemaking emerged. Alexander Chavchavadze established the classical winemaking technology and gave birth to the first Georgian bottled wine. In addition, according to the representative of SRG, apart from classical bottled wine made according European technology, Tsinandali produces traditional natural wine, that is fermented in qvevri.

"Two distinguished winemakers work at our land: David Maisuradze and Giorgi Barisashvili", - added SRG's representative.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking opens a new plant

26.09.2016 (Hvino News). Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking (KTW) has launched its new brandy distillery in the village of Velistsikhe Map , Gurjaani district in Kakheti.

Official opening of the plant was attended by Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and other members of the government. "KTW Group is particularly grateful to the government of Georgia, which has created all conditions so that we can serve the people of Georgia", - commented the company.

The plant, equipped with stainless steel tanks, refrigeration equipment, and other modern technologies, will process local grapes to distill brandy spirits.

"With the introduction of the new  plant the company facilities have increased significantly, and this year we have processed 25 thousand tons of grapes for brandy alcohol", reads the company's press release.

Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking (KTW) has invested 7 million GEL in the project. Over the past four years, Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking  has made investments in the amount of $60 million in its projects in Georgia.

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UK samples unique taste of Georgian wine

27.09.2016. Six Georgian wine companies have made an impression in Great Britain at major wine tasting events.

Over 70 exhibitors including specialist importers, boutique wineries and agencies gathered in two UK cities for the autumn edition of the Specialist Importers Trade Tasting (SITT), held in Manchester on September 19 and London on September 21.

Both wine tasting events gave visitors the chance to sample wines from all parts of the world, including places like Georgia that have a rich but vastly unknown history of wine.

The UK event is crucial for new and seasoned trade professionals, as it brings together a wide selection of specialist importers, boutique wineries and agencies, who showcase a vast selection of wines to add to their wine lists.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Grape harvest 2016: 71,300 tonnes of grapes picked so far

26.09. 2016. The grape harvest is in full swing in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region where so far this season 12,000 farmers have earned over 67.7 million GEL by selling 77,600 tonnes of grapes.

The Georgian National Wine Agency said local growers had processed the following grape varieties:

Rkatsiteli - 43,000 tonnes
Saperavi – 30,400 tonnes
Kakhuri Mtsvane – 2,200 tonnes

To date most grapes were processed in Kakheti’s Gurjaani municipality – 26,800 tonnes. Followed by:

Telavi – 19,000 tonnes
Kvareli – 18,700 tonnes
Sighnaghi – 6,600 tonnes
Lagodekhi – 2,400 tonnes
Dedoplistskaro – 1,600 tonnes
Akhmeta –1,600 tonnes
Sagarejo – 1,300 tonnes

Two days ago Georgian wine company Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking (KTW) opened a new grape processing and brandy spirit distillation plant in Velistikhe Village Map , also in Kakheti region.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Telavi Wine Cellar wins gold and silver at Mundus Vini 2016 Summer Tasting

23.09.2016 (Hvino News). Georgian producer Telavi Wine Cellar (Marani) won 3 gold and 1 silver medals at prestigious  Mundus Vini 2016 Summer Tasting in Germany. The awards were announced recently.

Telavi Marani was the only Georgian producer to win awards at this summer's Munus Vini. The following wines of Telavi Wine Cellar are the winners:

   Marani Kondoli Vineyards Saperavi 2013
   Satrapezo Saperavi 2013
   Marani Reserve 2007 (+“Best of Show Georgia”)

   Marani Mukuzani 2013

In addition to gold medal, “Marani Reserve” was also named as  “Best of Show Georgia”.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Georgian Wine Week 2016 is launched

22.09.2016 (Hvino News). Today starts the Georgian Wine Week, organized by Georgia’s Ministry of Agriculture and National Wine Agency.

A number of events will be held throughout Georgia till October 2. Wine festivals will be held in Telavi and Marneuli, including wine contests and other activities.

The Week starts on September 22 with inauguration of the Qvevri Workshop School in Ikalto. The event includes a photo exhibition and award ceremony for the monastery wine. Simultaneously in Telavi, Georgian wines of different companies will be presented in street pavilions. Visitors will be able to taste the wine, Georgian sweets, and cheese.

September 23 in the Library of Vine and Wine (at Georgian National Library), exhibition and presentation of new books related to the Georgian viticulture is scheduled. The presentation will be lead by writer George Barisashvili.

"Georgian wine culture center" was developed in Xinjiang - China's province with population of 22 million

22.09.2016. (Hvino News). Mutual collaboration memorandum was signed between National Wine Agency of ministry of agriculture of Georgia and "Georgian Wine Culture Center" of Urumqi, Xinjiang province, China.

The memorandum was signed by the head of National Wine Agency, Giorgi Samanishvili and the general manager of Beifang Jianda, Tong Jia.

"Georgian Wine Culture Center" was developed by one of the major Georgian wine importer companies, "Xinjiang Beifang Jianda Trade Co., Ltd".

As the head of national wine agency, Giorgi Samanishvili stated, Xinjiang province is one of the first in China, Georgian wine export began several years ago.

"Xinjiang province is significant on China market, here, Georgian wine and wine culture is better known, than in other provinces. Our partner "Beifang Jianda" has been exported Georgian wine in China for more than 10 years. They have already developed "Georgian Wine Culture Center" in Xinjiang province and today, we have signed memorandum of collaboration with this center and we will do our best to improve Georgian wine and culture publicity in Xinjiang province"- stated Giorgi Samanishvili.

"China Daily": Georgian wine industry toasts trade pact

by Mike Peters and Zhong Nan

22.09.2016. A day after China and Georgia announced they will sign a free trade agreement later this year, Georgia's agriculture minister said the two countries' wine industries will quickly be big beneficiaries.

"Our countries have a special relationship that goes back to the Silk Road era and before,"said Levan Davitashvili, who took a break from Georgia's ongoing election campaign to discuss the news with a group of visiting Chinese journalists.

"Today the tariff on wine imports in China is 48.5 percent, but after the FTA goes into effect next summer, it will be zero," he said. “There will be big benefits for both countries, especially for Chinese producers who will be doing joint ventures in Georgia".

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Badagoni wins 7 medals at top Japanese wine contest

20.09.2016. The unique taste of Georgian wine is making an impression in Japan, where last week a local wine producer won seven medals at a prestigious wine competition.

Georgia’s Badagoni wine company was honoured wih gold, silver and bronze medals at the 19th Japan Wine Challenge, an event regarded as one of the most prestigious wine competitions in Asia.

Badagoni’s Kakhuri Tsarchinebuli wine won gold and at the same time, was named the best Georgian wine at the competition.

Other wines by Badagoni, such as Alaverdi Traditions, Tsinandali, Maestro and Badagoni Brut, won silver and bronze medals at the contest, which was held from September 2-4 in Japan’s capital Tokyo.

Just over 1,600 wines were entered and judged in the contest by a panel of leading wine professionals from Japan and across the world.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Georgia declaration on wine tourism

Fostering sustainable tourism development through intangible cultural heritage

As global tourism is on the rise and competition between destinations grows, unique local and regional intangible cultural heritage has gradually become the discerning factor for the allure and enjoyment of tourists. Gastronomy tourism has emerged as particularly important in this regard, not only because food and drink is central to any tourist experience, but also because the concept of gastronomy tourism has evolved to encompass its cultural facets and link to local culture. Incorporated into its discourse are the ethical and sustainable values of the territory, the landscape, the sea, local history, values and culture heritage.

Wine tourism, as a crucial component of gastronomy tourism, has evolved into a key element for both emerging and mature tourism destinations in which tourists can experience the culture and lifestyle of destinations while fostering sustainable tourism development.

UNWTO: Wine tourism – a growing tourism segment

20.09.2016. The link between wine tourism and culture, history and lifestyle and the contribution of this segment to the development of the sector has been widely discussed during the 1st UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism held in the Kakheti region in Georgia. During two days (7-9 September) the event convened over 200 participants including policy makers and tourism experts from nearly 50 countries.  

In the last decade, wine tourism has become a key component of gastronomy tourism and a pillar in the strategies of diversification of many destinations. The event was a unique opportunity to discover the richness of local Georgian culture and to exchange innovative ideas to promote wine tourism between destinations already experienced in wine tourism with others with a high potential in that segment. Ministries, Destination Management Organizations (DMOS) and National Tourism Organizations (NTOs), universities, tour operators and wine professionals were among the participants.

“Wine tourism is intimately related to the identity of destinations and comprises cultural, economic and historical values. Furthermore, it constitutes a major driver in diversification strategies helping destinations to enrich the touristic offer and to attract different publics. This Conference tries not only to emphasize these but also to promote exchanges and to build cooperation among destinations with a potential in this field,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai at the opening of the Conference.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Best Georgian wine on show at prestigious speciality & fine food fair, London

by Nino Gugunishvili

14.09.2016. For the first time in its history, the UK’s leading showcase of fine food and drink this year featured Georgian wine brands Badagoni and Lagvinari at London Olympia. With more than 850 exhibitors, London’s Speciality and Fine Food Fair is known as “the place to discover what’s making the news and what’s about to. From the new producers to the more established specialty brands, you’re sure to find fresh ideas and fresh new products to enhance your business offering.”

London-based company Cenimex, founded by Berdia Qamarauli and Dennis Muriu in August 2015, is a British import-export venture. It works under the Georgian Wine Club brand name, specializing in Georgian wine import and promotion in the UK. With a concept of selling only the highest quality Georgian wines to the UK market, the company is currently working with several Georgian wine companies and is planning to add more Georgian wine brands to their portfolio in the near future, “thus guaranteeing an exeptional wine experience to UK customers,” said Qamarauli.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

US wine experts visit Georgia

by Thea Morrison

13.09.2016. A ten-member group of US wine experts led by international wine master Lisa Granik visited Georgian wine companies and small wineries in the Kartli and Kakheti regions. [Experts group included Kyle Eberle, Giancarlo Luiggi, Carolyn Beaty, Aaron Zebrook, Amber Rill, Tristan Prat-Vincent, Bruno Almeida, Isabella Fitzgerald, Barbara Haimes - HN]

According to Granik, who is the head of Georgia’s contractor company TastingWorks, the quality of Georgian wine is increasing by the year. She noted that the quality of many commercial and non-commercial wines has reached international standards.

“The quality and desire to produce very high-quality wine at a world-standard level is increasing in Georgia,” she noted, adding that such tours as this latest aim to increase awareness of Georgian wine in the US and help to introduce traditional Georgian wine-making methods to foreign professionals.

“This will eventually contribute to the growth of export of Georgian wine, and wine tourism in Georgia,'' she said.