Friday, October 9, 2015

Georgia in Lonely Planet's "Ten world’s most intriguing wine regions"

09.10.2015. (Hvino News). Travel guides publishing house Lonely Planet included Georgia in its recently published list "Ten of the world’s most intriguing wine regions".  Lonely Planet’s new book Wine Trails plots a course through 52 of the world’s greatest wine regions, with weekend-long itineraries in each designed by expert writers, including wine buyers and sommeliers.

"We’ve picked out 10 of the most intriguing regions to show why tasting wine in the place it was made can be a revelation", - reads the article posted by Lonely Planet. Georgia's Kakheti region is listed between Mendoza (Argentina) and Niagara (Canada):
Kakheti, Georgia
The Georgian wine experience is like no other. The story of wine here is so old, so real, that it can make what we know of ancient Greece and Rome seem like recent history. Georgia is widely recognised as the land where man first learned to tame the wild grapevine, around 6000BC. In most of the country, winemaking technology has changed little since then. Grapes are still harvested by hand, and foot-pressed in the hollowed-out trunks of ancient trees. The juice flows into underground clay amphoras, where it ferments and matures without additives or manipulation.

State-owned Gruzvinprom winery auctioned for 31 million

09.10.2015. (Hvino News). State-owned winery Gruzvinprom, located in Gurjaani (Eastern Georgia), was sold at auction for 31.105.000 GEL (about 13 million US$).

100% of the company was offered for privatization in September. Auction ended on October 7. The starting bid for Gruzvinprom amounted to 11 million GEL.

The buyer is not currently known. The new owner must pay the full amount to the state until 2018.

Gruzvinprom possesses land plot of 46.906 square meters in Gurjaani, at 1, Kostava Street, with 26 buildings. View location:  Map  .

The buyer is obliged within 2 years to invest no less than 1 million GEL into reconstruction of the plant towards production of alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. The buyer is expected from 2016 to 2019 to process annually at least 3000 tons of grapes.

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United States marks October as Georgian wine month

09.10.2015. (Hvino News). October has been declared as Georgian wine month in the US. This month Georgia’s National Wine Agency is sponsoring a variety of events in the USA. Branching out from last year’s inaugural tasting in New York, this year’s tour also includes San Francisco and Washington, DC.

Attendees of "Georgian Wine Month" will have the opportunity to taste an array of Georgia’s indigenous grapes, and to compare these varieties produced in both modern and traditional (“qvevri”) production styles. Wines from all of Georgia’s leading producers, both big and small, will be poured, including several wineries making their debut appearance. Each tasting will be preceded by a limited-seating seminar and tutored tasting on Georgian wine & wine culture.

List of participating producers includes:

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Folk fest wine pick: Pheasant’s Tears wine blends traditional elements of Georgian culture

08.10.2015. Artist Jonathan Wurdeman talks in long, precise sentences that can stretch to 10 minutes — passionate, focused and full of details. He wants everyone to understand the intertwining elements of Georgian culture — music, food and wine.

It all started with a CD called “Georgian Folk Music Today.” Wurdeman found it while flipping through albums at Plan 9 Records when he was a teenager. He fell in love with the polyphonic folk music.

While attending the Surikov Institute of Art in Moscow, first as an undergraduate and then as a graduate student, Wurdeman finally was able to visit Georgia, the country on the Baltic Sea [oops, shall we correct this? - HN]. His hosts welcomed him with a feast, lots of poetic toasts with local wine and music performed by the very same musicians on the album he bought so long ago. “I knew then that my connection with Georgia would not be a simple one,” he says.

He moved to the country after graduating and thought he’d focus on music and painting. But the wine grabbed hold of his imagination in a way that he didn’t anticipate.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Georgian and Moldovan wines: discovering the old tradition anew

07.10.2015. France may be Europe’s largest wine producer, but it is Georgia where wine was born. It is said that wine production started about 7,000 or even 8,000 years ago and archeological remains found in the area suggest that as early as 4000 BC grape juice was placed in underground clay jars or qvevri to ferment during the winter. Last August, 43 ancient qvevries dated back to the 11-13th centuries were discovered by archaeologists at Khikhani Fortress, Adjara, Western Georgia.

In 2015, the World Bank spent over $1 million to enhance Georgia’s ancient Qvevri wine-making methods by establishing a Qvevri House in the eastern part of the country. That ancient traditional winemaking method was also added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists [read more: World Bank to enhance Georgia’s unique qvevri wine-making method]. Today, there are over 500 species of grape in Georgia, a greater diversity than anywhere else in the world, with around 40 of these grape varieties being used in commercial wine production.

“Georgia’s wine choice is so wide it offers virtually everything a modern wine lover needs: unique grape varieties; modern-style classics; organic and bio-wines; trendy “orange” wines,” says Dr. Alexander Kaffka, Managing Director of Hvino.com, an English-language news portal about the Georgian wine industry.

Georgian wine: Plan for the worst, hope for the best

by Irakli Kochlamazashvili, Ia Katsia and Chase Johnson

07.10.2015. The Georgian wine industry had a couple of very good years in 2013 and 2014, following the opening of the Russian market. Exports skyrocketed, prices of grapes followed suit. For all the talk about diversification, within just two years, Russia’s share in the total exports of Georgian wine shot up from 0 to almost 68%.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Vogue magazine lists Georgian Iago's Chinuri as number one orange wine

06.10.2015. (Hvino News). American Vogue magazine in its October's issue mentions the Georgian winemaker Iago Bitarishvili. His wine Iago's Chinuri is listed at the top of Vogue's list of orange wines. 

The article, entitled "Forget Red, White, and Rosé—Orange Wine Is What You Should Be Sipping This Fall", is written by Carson Demmond. Vogue's article reads: 
It’s a tradition that is still very much alive in Eastern Europe, like in Georgia, where Lepeltier recently traveled to study up on the technique, and has slowly but surely migrated west and even into the New World, with several prominent wineries in California now practicing skin-fermentation. Here are seven skin-fermented wines to try this fall:
2013 Iago’s Wine Chinuri, Kartli, Republic of Georgia; $19 
Iago Bitarishvili founded his winery in 2003 to realize his dream of making wine in the traditional homespun way of his region. So he crushes his organically grown chinuri grapes in a large, hollowed-out log and empties the resulting juice and skins into earthenware vessels called qvevri, which then remain buried in the ground for six months. It may sound like alchemy, but the result is a fascinating mouthful: pear, autumn honey, buckwheat, and eastern spices, with the structure of a red wine built for aging. Try it with hard cheeses and charcuterie or more substantial vegetarian fare like bitter greens and eggplant.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Georgian winemaker in Milan

05.10.2015 (Hvino News) Georgian winemaker Ramaz Nikoladze is participating in Terra Madre Youth – We Feed The Planet, which, from October 3 to 6 in Milan (Italy), is bringing together all young people involved in the food chain: thousands of farmers, fishers, students, chefs, cheesemakers and activists from around the world.

Italy's La Repubblica writes:
Straddling Europe and Asia, Georgia was one of the first places where the grapevine was domesticated. A historic wine-producing country, it is home not only to dozens of native varieties, but also a fascinating way of preserving wine.
In the village of Nakhshirgele, Ramaz Nikoladze, driven by hope and passion, makes a very special wine from the grapes of his small vineyard. Like his father before him, he produces wine in amphorae, using a vinification technique typical of the country. On his hectare and a half of land, Ramaz, now in his forties, grows two native grape varieties, tsiska and tsolikauri.
Watching him work with his amphorae, called qvevri in the local language, is indeed like watching a kind of magic. The large jars, over a hundred years old, are almost completely buried in the shade of trees, which helps keep the wine’s temperature always around 14°C in the summer, and prevents them from freezing during the winter. For the first month the wine ferments on its lees without the addition of yeasts, and then remains in the amphorae for aging. Having seen how all this takes place so naturally, outdoors, with minimal human intervention, it seems incredible that the end result is so excellent.

Prime Minister and cabinet members, their children pick grapes as Georgia celebrates Wine Day

05.10.2015. Georgia’s Prime Minister and other members of the Cabinet together with their children have participated in grape harvesting in the country’s leading wine-producing region.

PM Garibashvili, his two sons, Vice PM and Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze, his son and other officials with their families went to the Kakheti region to pick grapes together with local farmers as Georgia celebrated the National Wine Day today.

"Since our team is in power more than four hectares of new vineyards have been created in our country,” the PM said.

"This is because farmers are more motivated as the Government subsidises grapes.”

"Farmers can sell their harvest with 100 percent profit.”

Garibashvili also said in Kakheti farmers received about 300 million GEL as they sold grapes during the past three years.

October 4 is the Georgian Wine Day. The country honours its national drink with various celebrations in different regions.

    Georgian Wine Catalogue      
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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Hvino Mapping project launched on Georgian Wine Day!

04.10.2015. Greetings to all friends of Georgian wine! To mark the Georgian Wine Day, today Hvino is starting our Georgian wine mapping project.

Hvino Map  is an experimental project, where users are mapping the important wine places of Georgia. Hvino Map is already fully usable. It will be updated every week, becoming richer and more comprehensive with time.  It can be used on any desktop or mobile devices, both Apple and Android. Direct link to map is here.

You are welcome to add a new object, such as winery, cellar, wine shop, hotel or other place useful for visitors. Users also may update and correct locations if necessary. If you want to edit the map, see instructions in the bottom. Also please report us about all problems or bugs, so we will fix them.

View current Hvino Map below...

How to edit Hvino Map:

To simplify editing and avoid errors, we use separate Google map for user's submissions. To add your object, use the map below and follow instructions:

Telavino 2015 wine festival launched

04.10.2017 (Hvino News). Kakheti, a region in the eastern part of Georgia, hosts the 2015 Wine Festival on October 4th.

Today also the Day of Georgian Wine is being celebrated throughout the country, established at an initiative of the country’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili in 2014.

Telavino takes place in the Kakhetian capital Telavi and is supported by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia and the Georgian National Tourism Administration. The firrst Telavino festival took place last year (see Telavino 2014)

Different wines produced by a variety of wineries – larger companies as well as independent wine makers – will be presented to its visitors, alongside a wide selection of traditional Georgian cuisine.

Visitors can enjoy traditional arts and crafts, such as ceramics, textiles, Georgian dance and folk music. The festival is organized by the Kakheti Wine Guild and the National Wine Agency of Georgia.

1:00 P.M. - 1:30 P.M. – Opening ceremony
1:30 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. – Wine tasting, art sale, traditional dishes, art exhibition
2:00 P.M. – Live music and dance (Traditional Georgian dance and folk music)
5:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M. – Closing ceremony

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Are you ready for National Wine Day?

01.10.2015. Georgian National Wine Day will see events in eight cities, including capital Tbilisi and Georgia’s eastern winemaking region Kakheti, mark national wine culture.

The festivities will commence at Rose Revolution Square (near Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel) with the opening of the Centre for Georgian Wine, which includes a dedicated museum for Georgian traditional winemaking tools and items.

The occasion will also see winemakers welcome guests to sample traditional Georgian wine, and exhibition of paintings, photographs, traditional items and wine products.

The highlight of the capital city’s festival will be a celebratory march featuring hundreds of volunteers through the Square and nearby area.

Tourists arriving on late flights at Tbilisi International Airport on October 3 will be welcomed with souvenirs related to the celebration at passport control, while restaurants and hotels participating in Georgian National Wine Day will have special corners and gifts for visitors.

23 million bottles of wine exported in 2015

01.10.2015. By September 28, Georgia had exported 23.3 million bottles of wine so far in 2015.

3.5 million bottles were exported in September, according to the Agriculture Ministry; the highest monthly rate in 2015.

The export of wine has tripled, compared to the beginning of the year.

Agriculture Minister Otar Danelia said Tuesday at a briefing that the top export countries are Russia with 12.1 million bottles, Kazakhstan 3.4 million bottles, Ukraine 1.9 million, China 1.4 million and Poland 1.1 million.

Since January, the wine has been more strictly examined, Danelia said. 343 samples have been inspected in Tbilisi and other areas of Georgia. There were 17 suspicious cases that were sent for further analysis.

He outlined that the government has spent more than 10 million laris on marketing Georgian wine and stressed that it would be better if wine producers could be more active in this way themselves. “In the beginning, a fifth of this was spent on marketing. I think even the current amount is not enough, because we have new market opportunities,” he added.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Minister: Georgian wine sales were better in September

30.09.2015. Georgian Minister of Agriculture Otar Danelia has noted that September was a successful month for exports of wine.

Thus, in the first month of autumn the country exported 3.4 million bottles of wine.

Earlier, the National Statistics Service noted that in the period from January to August 2015 exports of Georgian wine fell 46% in comparison with the same period last year.

    Georgian Wine Catalogue   
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Celebrate Georgian Wine Day next Sunday

30.09.2015. This Sunday, October 4, the whole country celebrates Georgian Wine Day with events planned in Tbilisi,Telavi, Batumi, Kutaisi, Zugdidi, Ambrolauri, Ozurgeti, Gori and more.

Restaurants, hotels and supermarkets are all involved in the Festival, putting on activities all over Georgia, with something for everyone.

Several wine experts are expected to attend the day's festivities while visitors to each particular Georgian Wine Day event can win prizes in special competitions.

The program starts at 12:00 pm across Georgia and at all locations individual tents will be representing different Georgian wine companies who can introduce their own products.

The Georgian Wine Day celebrations in Tbilisi will take place at Republic Square.

    Georgian Wine Catalogue   
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Georgia’s wine harvest generates $51m GEL profits

29.09.2015.This year’s harvest in Georgia’s wine-producing Kakheti region has already generated 51,669,513 GEL, and the harvest is not over yet.

Today, Georgia’s Agriculture Minister Otar Danelia presented an interim report about the progress of this year’s grape picking and processing activities in Kakheti.

He revealed more than 84,000 tonnes of grapes had been processed in Kakheti, with the season still in full swing.

Of the different grape varieties in Georgia, the Rkatsiteli variety was the most harvested.

Already this season 39,470 tonnes of Rkatsiteli grapes have been picked, worth about 26 million GEL.

The next most popular grape variety to be picked was Saperavi grapes, with 33,592 tonnes picked and worth about 22 million GEL. This was followed by the Kakhuri Mtsvane grape variety, where 2,016 tonnes were picked and worth about 825,181GEL.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Record amount of grapes processed in Georgia

28.09.2015. On September 27 Georgian farmers processed approximately 6,981 tonnes of grapes – a 25-year record high, announced Georgia’s National Wine Agency.

As of today about 78,000 tonnes of grapes have been processed this season, of which 36,000 are of the Rkatsiteli grape variety, 32,000 tonnes were Saperavi, 1,900 tonnes were Kakhuri Mtsvane and 8,500 tonnes were of other grape varieties.

By selling this yield, farmers already earned a share of 48 million GEL, and this year’s harvest is not over yet.

In total 67 wine producing companies were involved in grape processing works in Kakheti, including 18 wine enterprises that were hired by the state.

    Georgian Wine Catalogue   
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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Popular New York food market promotes Georgia

27.09.2015. New York’s most reputable and popular food hub, Chelsea Market, has transformed into Georgian Bazaar this weekend.

Chelsea Market, Located in the Manhattan area, hosted a three-day event Discover Georgia, where international visitors could learn more about Georgia, the country by the Black Sea with a diverse landscape, ancient monuments, polyphonic music and the homeland of wine.

Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, who was in New York within the 70th United Nations General Assembly, also visited the area, featuring Georgian arts, crafts, hand-made souvenirs, contemporary artworks, fashion designers’ clothes, traditional textile, music and tourism destinations.

The event aimed to promote Georgian goods, increase the country’s export potential and help its small and medium sized enterprises develop.

Qvevri winemaking in Maryland

by Terry Sullivan

27.09.2015. Kathy and I acquired some Rkatsiteli grapes yesterday from our friends at Bluemont Vineyards in Bluemont, Virginia. Arriving home, we began to process the grapes and prepare the qvevri. Qvevri winemaking is an ancient winemaking method and the only winemaking process on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage [see Georgian qvevri wine-making method approved for UNESCO's Intangible Heritage List]

I had learned to clean a qvevri while at Twins Wine Celler in Napareuli in the Kakheti wine region of the country Georgia. The basic process is to pour clean water into the qvevri, and using a brush, scrub the sides. Remove the water and observe the color. Repeat the process until the water is clear once removed. The first time I added water to our qvevri and scrubbed the interior wall of the qvevri, the water was cloudy and opaque. By the fourth bucket of clean water the water had just a touch of cloudiness and was translucent. After the fifth cleaning the water was clear. This paralleled the process that was done to the qvevri we made wine in at Twins Wine Cellar.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Ministers Kumsishvili and Danelia hosted Chinese journalists at Jighaura

25.09.2015 (Hvino News). Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Dimitry Kumsishvili together with Minister of Agriculture Otar Danelia hosted the Chinese journalists at the Jighaura Agricultural Research and Development Center.

The ministers talked over the trade relations between Georgia and China, introduced the joint projects to be implemented in the future and presented the statistics of the Georgian wine export to the guests.

Dimitry Kumsishvili expressed his hopes that Georgia imaged by Chinese journalists shall raise the interest of Chinese people towards our country. “During the recent years trade and economic relations with China are becoming more intensive. China is the third biggest trade partner of Georgia according to the data of the first eight months of  2015. At the same time Georgia is actively supporting the development of tourism potential of the Silk Road. Georgia created internet portal to ease the visa application process to Chinese citizens. Through this portal Chinese citizens are able to apply to Georgian visa on-line by submitting just passport and application and they will receive electronic visa within the 5 working days,” – Dimitry Kumsishvili stated.

Agricultural cooperatives launch wine production in Imereti with EU support

25.09.2015 (Hvino News). Two agricultural cooperatives in Georgia’s Imereti region - Terjola Wine and Winery Sazano are starting wine production with EU financial support.

On September 24 the  wine production launch ceremony took place in Terjola, Imereti. Two cooperatives recently received co-financing and technical support from the EU-funded European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) through its implementing partner People in Need / Czech Republic. The Ambassador of Czech Republic to Georgia, Tomáš Pernicky was present at the ceremony, together with representatives from the local governor’s office.

Cooperative Winery Sazano will use the co-financing from the ENPARD programme valued at 76.642 GEL to produce local wines prepared in accordance with EU standards. The total volume of the production for the first year is expected to be 600 litres. Cooperative Terjola Wine received technical equipment for the production, bottling and labelling of high quality wine through ENPARD valued at 74.367 GEL. Terjola Wine will produce three different types of Georgian wines with a total volume of 2,850 litres for the first year with sales expected to reach 72.456 GEL.

Negative expectations of Georgian winemakers in the Kazakh market not justified

25.09.2015. The devaluation of the Kazakh tenge has not led to a decrease in sales of Georgian wine, but reduced the profit margins of manufacturers.

Expectations of  Georgian winemakers regarding   serious negative consequences due to the currency crisis in the country have justified only partially. According to JSC Telavi Wine Cellar, within a month its sales grew by 20%. Zurab Ramazashvili - founder of the company -  says that  compared with last year sales are up, and there are no problems with the payment for the products.

“The devaluation of the Kazakh tenge  was planned, and the  public  was informed that this. Accordingly, the market was ready for such an eventuality, and the negative impact of the devaluation was minimal. In any case, the company’s sales allow us  to do this  conclusion, “- says the businessman.

In his words, this year the company plans to export to Kazakhstan 400 000 bottles of wine.

Schuchmann Wines company is also satisfied with the sales in the Kazakh market and although, the devaluation of the tenge reduced  the sales of wine in Kazakhstan by 10%.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wine routes of Georgia

23.09.2015. Many of you have heard about the fact that Georgia is the cradle of wine, and viticulture originated here about 8,000 years ago. You may examine archaeological findings, wonder how clay vessels qvevri differ from more common barrels, read about how the slopes and microclimate zones affect the taste of wine, but it is better to come to Georgia and to try all this treasures with your own receptors.

Let’s start with Kakheti region, where the largest amounts of grape varieties grow. Beautiful fertile Alazani Valley, white peaks of Caucasus mountains, castles and churches – you can get drunk only on this beauty and spirit of ancient times! But since we are talking about wine, let’s review the most popular Kakhetian grapes.

– Saperavi, red. Many flavourful wine sorts are being produced out of it, and their taste is getting richer with the age. It grows in micro zones of Mukuzani-Akhasheni, Khashmi, Kindzmarauli, Napareuli, Kvareli and Kondoli.

– Rkatsiteli, white. The most important grape variety used to make traditional Kakhetian white wines. This wine is most popular in Georgia and is found in other regions along with Kakheti. In addition to a traditional qvevri wine, Rkatsiteli is used to make classical (European) dry, semi-dry and dessert wines. It  has a taste of quince and other fruits. Rkatsiteli wine made in traditional Kakhetian way has an interesting aroma of walnut and other plants.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Grape harvest 2015: 30,477 tonnes of grapes generate 17.45m GEL for farmers

22.09.2015. The 2015 grape harvest is in full swing in Georgia’s nine wine-producing villages where a total of 30,477 tonnes of grapes has been picked so far.

By selling this yield, farmers generated a collective income of more than 17.45 million GEL, and this year’s harvest is not over yet.

Georgia’s National Wine Agency announced most grapes were picked in Gurjaani (about 8,700 tonnes), in Kvareli (about 6,600 tonnes) and in Telavi (about 4,400 tonnes).

An additional five tonnes of grapes had been processed in Kvareli, Signagi, Sagarejo, Ambrolauri, Akhmeta, Gurjaani, Dedoplistskaro, Lagodekhi and Telavi – all located in Georgia’s wine region Kakheti.

Of the different grape varieties in Georgia, the Saperavi variety was vastly harvested. Already this season 12,877 tonnes of Saperavi grapes were picked, worth about 8.1 million GEL. The next most popular grape variety to be picked was Rkatsiteli grapes where 11,509 tonnes were picked, worth about 7,7 million GEL, followed by Kakhuri Mtsvane grape variety, where 1,261 tonnes were picked, worth about 480,744 GEL.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Calls for a "grape revolution" in Georgia

18.09.2015. The situation in Kakheti, where the most peaceful Georgians, the Kakhetians live, is not stable today. For the first time in post-Soviet history there has been blocking of central highways and clashes of thousands of angry people with police. As a result of the clashes near the regional center of Gurjaani (the grape capital) the police arrested several people. A member of Parliament from the Kakheti region, Giorgi Gviniashvili, was attacked and the protesters presented an ultimatum to the authorities – to solve their problem in the near future, or the protests will be even more violent and radical. There were even calls for "a grape revolution".

What do Kakhetian winegrowers want and why are they dissatisfied? After the opening of the Russian market to Georgian wine in 2013, exports to Russia increased 400%, reaching an unprecedented level since the Soviet era – 4.5 million bottles of vintage wine per month. It's a lot for a small country like Georgia, especially Kakheti, especially after the eight-year embargo on imports of Georgian wines to Russia and grapes, when the peasant farmers were forced to cut down vines out of despair.