Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tasting at Georgia - the cradle of wine

29.06.2012. The 4th edition of the biennial National Georgian National Wine Competition held in the capital, Tbilisi last month was delightful but small competition featuring Georgian wines that evidenced an improved quality of Georgian wines, writes our contributor John Salvi MW, who was one of the judges.

I was very excited when I was invited to judge the 4th Georgian National Wine Competition, a competition organised by the «Wine History Foundation» and which has taken place every 2 years since 2006.  I had only been to Georgia known as ‘the cradle of wine’, and Tbilisi once before and that was to estimate the value of Stalin’s old cellar in gloomy and humid cellars with the romantic name of  “Number One Warehouse”!  An almost impossible job as the labels had rotted off due to the excessive damp.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Sommelier Gregory Alonzo: Georgian gold, the brandy of the tsars

The Terrace Bar in Tbilisi's Vere Palace Hotel has a breathtaking view of the city. From our rooftop perch, we were greeted with the sublime scenery of the capitalʼs prestigious Vere district. Everything about the Vere Palace Hotel exudes charm, elegance, and luxury. What better surroundings to spend an afternoon with 2 lovely ladies and sampling some of the Republic of Georgiaʼs finest brandies. Heralded as the birthplace of wine some 8,000 years ago, Georgia is also renown for its grape vodka known as Chacha, and world class brandy. To maintain the highest quality standards, Georgia uses the French classifications of VS, VSOP, and XO. Today, I am joined by fellow sommeliers Medea and Shorena. Since my heyday with Georgian wines, I have come to know both ladies quite well and trust their palates implicitly.

“Medea, Shorena, it is always a pleasure to share my table with you both.” Medeaʼs face beamed excitedly. “We havenʼt raised a glass together since last spring.”

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Georgian wine for India: "Khareba", "Teliani Valley", "Tbilvino"

26.06.2012. Winery Khareba company suspended negotiations with the Indian side, Teliani Valley and Tbilvino are still conducting negotiations to expand to Indian market, - reports Commersant. The Indian delegation arrived in Georgia to shoot the film “Billa 2” and initiative on bringing Georgian wine to Indian market came up in the framework of their visit. The Indians held negotiations with Georgian wine companies. Winery Khareba's director Zaza Gongadze said their talks were suspended, while talks with Teliani Valley and Tbilvino are continuing.

According to Tbilvino's CEO George Margvelashvili, they are already involved in exporting to India and after the Indian delegation's visit they began negotiations with another company. Margvelashvili notes it is right moment to make Georgian wines popular in India. Margvelashvili underlined that the company has a unified export prices and is operating in India with these prices. Teliani Valley has not exported wine to India but the company says they are conducting negotiations as well.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Prof. Anderson looks at Georgia as an emerging wine-exporting country

26.06.2012. On 24 June 2012 Professor Kym Anderson spoke about Georgian wine industry at the AAWE-ICABR workshop "Technology and Innovation in the Wine Industry" in Avellino, Italy. Professor  Anderson's presentation was entitled: ‘Is Georgia the next ‘new’ wine-exporting country? The roles of traditional vs. new technologies and trade alliances’.

Professor Anderson’s presentation offers insights into Georgia’s place in the global history of wine markets and its potential. Yet another wine-producing country to watch with interest! Highlights: Georgia has been producing and exporting wine for thousands of years, and until the trade embargo in 2006, the lion’s share went to Russia. Advantages include low labour and viticultural land costs by Western standards and recognition of Georgian GIs by the EU. Ukraine is currently the largest importer of Georgian wine but there is potential in the rest of the CIS countries and Europe as well as Asia.

Professor Anderson is Executive Director of the Wine Economics Research Centre of the University of Adelaide (Australia). His research interests and publications are in the areas of international trade and development, agricultural economics, environmental economics, and wine economics. His most recent projects have focused on empirical analysis of such issues as the Doha Development Agenda of the World Trade Organization (www.worldbank.org/trade/wto); global distortions to agricultural incentives (www.worldbank.org/agdistortions); economics of agricultural biotechnology (GMO) policies globally (www.econ.worldbank.org/programs/trade/biotech); and wine globalization (www.adelaide.edu.au/wine-econ). He has published more than 30 books and 300 journal articles and chapters in other books.

The American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE) is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to encouraging and communicating economic research and analyses and exchanging ideas in wine economics. ICABR (The International Consortium on Applied Bioeconomy Research) is a unique, informal, international consortium of people interested in the bioeconomy, agricultural biotechnology, rural development and bio-based economy research.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Georgia wine trade bounces back

24.06.2012. Al Jazeera English features a video report on Georgian winemaking today:

Country finds new markets to overcome Russian trade embargo that made sales tumble by 80 per cent six years ago.

Archaeologists think viniculture began in Georgia. In the eastern Georgia town of Kakheti, wine-making is thought to have begun some eight thousand years ago. The industry nearly died out six years ago, when a Russian trade embargo cut wine makers off from their biggest market and foreign sales tumbled by 80 per cent. The business is now bouncing back after the country found new markets in Europe, the US and China. Al Jazeera's Rory Challands reports from Kakheti.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

First 3 winners of "Winemaker" game are awarded

23.06.2012 (Hvino News) First stage of  “Megvine" (winemaker) Facebook game, initiated by the Georgia's Ministry of Agriculture, has finished.  "Megvine" game was launched on May 21 - read more information here.

3 winners of the game were awarded by Ia Janashia, Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

Ekatherine Sikharulidze, winner of the first prize, received a trip to Istanbul for two persons sponsored by tourist agency “Travel Shop”. Levan Tskvitinidze - second place winner - was awarded with a weekend tour for two persons at “Chateau Mere” (Katheti region). The third prize-winner Mikheil Badzagua received a bunch of various Georgian bottle wines.

© Hvino News

Friday, June 22, 2012

Gorelli: We did it again! (at Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition)

22.06.2012. Here is the latest news submitted by Gorelli: We just found that all our products we have already started to market and sell in the USA - brandy and wine - won the medals at the 2012 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition, making 10 the total number of medals won by Gorelli in the USA in the year of 2012:

- B.S. (the best  Gorelli's brandy) - won a second Silver Medal;
- Grand Reserve 2005 wine - won a Bronze Medal (in addition to the Silver Medal at BTI, see details here);
- Old Friends Reserve 2007 - won a second Bronze Medal;
- Queen of Iberia Reserve 2005 - won a second Bronze Medal;
- Saperavi 2007 - won a second Bronze Medal.
These were only the Georgian products who won medals at this competition this year.
For 73 years, the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition has showcased the finest domestic and international vintages through a wine-tasting event that is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious in the United States. An esteemed panel of judges uses a blind-tasting method, maintaining the highest standards of integrity and professionalism that has remained the competition’s foundation for seven decades. Nearly 3,300 wines and many hundreds of spirits were entered, tasted by a 72-member panel comprised of international judges.

Company news

There are 500 ways to discover Georgian wine

By Beppi Crosariol

21.06.2012. For the first time in a while, things are looking up for Georgian wine. Exports from the former Soviet state increased last year by 37.7 per cent, to 16.9 million litres. The dollar value wasn’t much by big-country standards, at $54.1-million (U.S.), but it pointed to a recovery of sorts, the highest figure since Russia imposed a crippling trade embargo in 2006. Before the ban, Russians drank a lot more Georgian wine than did tiny Georgia.

Vladimir Putin’s government said the wines (and mineral waters) were contaminated, but many people cried foul, interpreting the move as a snub against the country’s pro-NATO stance.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

"Hvino News" to open office in Tbilisi

Hvino News is pleased to announce to all our friends and partners in Georgia, that we are in process of  establishing our office in Tbilisi.  Director of our company AGC and Hvino.com is currently in Tbilisi till the end of June, meeting with interested companies and government agencies. We are very happy with high level of interest from Georgian partners to our initiatives aimed an international promotion of Georgian products. Georgian companies interested in cooperation with us and/or meeting our director are welcome to email us via this website. We do our best to accommodate all requests, and take this opportunity to thank everybody for your gratifying attention to our projects - we are working hard for you!  HN

Georgian wine tasting to be held in Tokyo on June 27th

21.06.2011 (Hvino News) Embassy of Georgia in Japan is announcing a Tourism Seminar "Invitation to Georgia", with participation of Prime Minister of Georgia Nika Gilauri.

A Georgian wine tasting party will follow the seminar.

The Embassy is inviting guests for the event, to be held on Tokyo in 27th of June. Seminar will be conducted in Japanese, at the premises of Embassy of Georgia in Japan at 1-11-36 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo.

If you happen to be in Japan next week and are interested in attending, simply click on the photo or here to fill in the registration form and get event details.

© Hvino News

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

President of Georgia working in his vineyard

18.06.2012 (Hvino News) President Mikheil Saakashvili today was working at his vineyard in Kvareli, Kakheti region, where he sprayed chemicals and carried out other winemaker's work together with his neighbors. Kakheti's governor Giorgi Gviniashvili also joined the president.

"I hope that this year we will have rtveli (harvest) like never before... New markets for our products have opened up, and domestic demand increased due to growing inflow of tourists... "- said Saakashvili.

The president used new devices and chemicals in his vineyard. He said many new technologies became available to simplify farmer's work and raise productivity. He said that in the past the agricultural chemicals were imported from China, and their low quality affected harvest. Locals said this year they bought chemicals from Spain and were expecting better harvest this autumn.

President of Georgia is known for his interest in wine-making. In 2011 president Mikheil Saakashvili bought a vineyard in Kakheti region, Eastern Georgia. The vineyard ​(half hectare area) costed about 20,000 USD. The vineyard has two varieties - Saperavi and Rkatsiteli. Construction of a private house next to vineyard costed about 28,000 USD. The house has three rooms, a cellar with two qvevris (large clay amphoras for wine fermentation, buried in the ground) and a satsnaheli (a special wooden container of grape pomace). The president often uses his vineyard house to host foreign visitors.

© Hvino News

Monday, June 18, 2012

Georgian wine home-tasting

After twice being juror of a Georgian wine competition and three visits to this beautiful country, I just have a crush on Georgia.

To keep updated with the quality of Georgian wines, I asked the Dutch importer Theo Jansen from GeoDev to send me some samples that I selected and paid myself. I was aware of the quality of Georgian wines, but was it improving or not? Let’s see the results…


Finest Brut 2007 (white, méthode traditionelle, 100% chinuri): a delightful surprise, so much better than all the bubbly Georgian wines I tasted before! The chinuri varietal gives a very fresh, lively and elegant wine in nose and mouth. Elegant sparkling with a dynamic cordon. Dry, slightly yeasty and mineral, fruity (citrus) and juicy on the palate with a perfect balance between freshness, creamy body and alcohol (13% by vol.)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Georgian wine gains popularity on Asian market

Georgian National Investment Agency (GNIA) published the following article in the latest issue of its Invest Today bulletin. 

Recognizing  Hong  Kong’s and Mainland China’s  booming wine industry in 2011 Georgian National Investment Agency (GNIA) started the active promotion of Georgian alcoholic beverages, and one of the first steps has been submitting Georgian wine samples for the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition last year, during which Georgia won a trophy and 17 medals.

With the singular goal of promoting Georgian wines and increasing the export potential of local wine products, the Georgian National Investment Agency (GNIA) has embarked upon an Asian tour. From 8-12 June GNIA delegation visited China, Hong Kong, South Korea and conducted wine tasting evenings [see article in Hvino News].Georgian wine gains popularity on Asian market parallel to FT conferences, which have been a  good platform for the Georgian Government to once again remind the international society on the favorable business climate in Georgia and successful reforms undertaken by GoG.

Kakhuri Ltd. – a tale of two cities

by Robert Linkous

When Archil Dolmazashvili, Commercial Director for Kakhuri Ltd., was growing up in Telavi, it had a sister city … Napa! Thereabouts is the overflowing heart of California wine.

The sister city reached out for three students to come live with host families and attend high school. Requirements? Knowledge of English would come in handy. Dolmazashvili and two fellow students were on their way.

Mid-1990’s. The host family lived at the city of Napa’s outskirts. Out back, a landscape of pastoral farmland. The Napa Valley wine boom rumbled inaudibly in the distance.

Fast forward to spring 2012 andTelavi, with a city center in the midst of massive reconstruction. Even the faintest murmur of a coming boom would be drowned by the groans and tremors of heavy machinery.

Friday, June 15, 2012

"Georgian wine industry was not able to find a replacement for Russian market": companies do not trust Russia

14.06.2012. Despite the announcement of the government regarding Russian market’s strategic importance, a part of Georgian companies do not trust Russia. Recently Georgia’s Prime Minister announced that opening of Russian market for Georgian wine is among top priorities for the coming years (read more here).

According to "Nabeglavi" [a mineral water brand] manufacturer, they prefer to concentrate on the existing partners who are from countries with a stable economy. The company's founder says that they will work on development of export to EU and Central Asia and will try to maintain customer’s confidence on the local market.

Tbilvino, the largest wine exporter, believes that the Georgian wine producers will focus on Asia, and will be able to fully replace the Russian market. In addition, the company’s head  notes that if Russian market is to be opened, it can be used as well. In his words, Georgian wine industry was not able to find a replacement for Russian market, however, Tbilvino managed to double sales after  the Russian embargo.

According to the company’s management, interest and demand for Georgian wine is still high in Russia, but in the case if the Georgian companies return to the Russian market  it  will take a long time  to return to previous level of sales.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tbilvino to introduce two new wine brands in Ukraine

12.06.2012 (Hvino News) Since 2001, Tbilvino has been importing to Ukraine wines under same brand name. In 2011 about 410,000 bottles under Tbilvino brand were sold in Ukraine. Two new wine brands "Valleys of Georgia" and "Iveriuli" will occupy a niche in the middle and premium market segments.  "Valleys of Georgia" and "Iveriuli" lines will include 20 wines that are consistently in high demand in international market. Total worldwide sales of these brands in 2011 amounted to about 1,440,000 bottles. Company expects to achieve sales of 90 - 120 thousand bottles under each new brand.

Tbilvino  produces more than 78 wines, and includes four brands («Tbilvino», «Iveriuli», «Valleys of Georgia», «Special Reserves»). The history of  Tbilvino begun in 1962. Currently,  Tbilvino remains the largest producer of wine in Georgia. The company currently exports 95% of its products to 28 countries, including Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Austria, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, China , India, Singapore and Canada. In 2011, sales exceeded 2.7 million bottles.

© Hvino News, company news

Ivanishvili Says Return of Georgian Products to Russian Market Not a Problem

13.06.2012. Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of "Georgian Dream" opposition coalition, said on June 12 that he would secure return of Georgian products back to the Russian market “soon” after coming into power. As part of his campaign Ivanishvili was in western region of Samegrelo on June 12 meeting with locals in several villages of Zugdidi district; he also visited several local families there. When Ivanishvili’s host complained that his family was not able to sell citrus since Russia closed its market for the Georgian products, Georgian Dream leader responded: “We will be able to reopen Russian market very soon; that’s not a problem.”

He also said that President Saakashvili himself could secure restoration of exports to Russia, but had no political will to do that. He told his host that when several years ago he offered President Saakashvili that he would invest one billion in the country’s agriculture sector, the President refused “because he wants to keep people enslaved” in order to then easily manipulate them for electoral purposes by distributing meager allowances and fuel vouchers to farmers.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Tbilvino": Russia is an unreliable partner, but the market is definitely interesting

12.06.2012 (Hvino News) - Russia is an unreliable partner, but for the Georgian wine companies the Russian market is unambiguously interesting, - said George Margvelashvili, director of Tbilvino, Business Gruzia reports. He commented on the opinion of the Moldavian expert, Dr. Tatiana Laryushina, who pointed out that Russia re-imposed an embargo upon Moldova in 2010, and, in her view, it was a clear example of Russia being a highly unreliable partner. According to her, embargo on Moldovan wine was purely political measure of Moscow.

According to George Margvelashvili, there is interest of Russian companies to Georgian wines, but the past experience and 2006's embargo would always be considered by the Georgian side. When asked if the Georgian side should take into account the experience of Moldova, Margvelashvili replied affirmatively, and said that the Georgian side should be cautious about the Russian market.

Georgian authorities recently announced that opening of Russian market for Georgian wine is among top priorities for the coming years (read more here).

© Hvino News

Monday, June 11, 2012

CNN: Wine ban forces Georgia's ancient vineyards to branch out

Wine is a part of Georgia's culture and national identity and
supported by the country's president Mikheil Saakashvili
(pictured right).   Photo: CNN
by Dean Irvine, CNN.

11.06.2012. Today CNN published a report on wine-making in Georgia in its Eye On series:

Wine has been an integral part of the country's culture for millennia; so ingrained is viticulture in the country that imagery of grapevines can be seen adorning churches and public monuments. But a Russian embargo on Georgian wine imports imposed in 2006 has meant its vineyards have been transformed more in the last six years than the previous 8,000. Until the embargo, the country of 4.5 million people in the Caucasus region sold around 50% of its wine to Russia. A year after it was cut off from its biggest market, sales dropped by a further 25%, according to the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia. Safety concerns were the official reason behind the Russian ban on all beverages imported from Georgia, although many within the wine industry believe the move was politically motivated.

"In 2004 the wine industry started its reforms and by 2006 (counterfeiting and sub-standard quality wine) was partly solved," says Levan Davitashvili, of Schuchmann Wines, an independent winery in Georgia. While little known to most wine drinkers in western countries, Georgia has traditionally had a reputation for producing the best quality wine from the region, especially among former Soviet states.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Winery Khareba's triumph in Bordeaux

09.06.2012 (Hvino News) At prestigious wine competition "Les Citadelles du vin” in Bordeaux,  France, Winery Khareba  won two gold medals.  Winery Khareba presented two varieties of its best wine: dry red wine "Saperavi Premium 2009" and dry white "Krakhuna 2011" - both of them won the highest award.

Since 2007, every year in May, some 40 top level tasters from all over the world meet in  Bourg-en-Gironde (Bordeaux, France) for three days to select the best wines. The closing evening for the 12th Citadelles du Vin wine competition took place in Bourg at Château Cheval Blanc, Saint-Emilion.

This year, the competition  presented 1,045 samples of fine wines from 32 countries to 50 carefully-selected wine judges. Any vintage was accepted, provided that the product had already been bottled. Entries were submitted by all types of producers: winegrowers, wine shippers, wineries, cooperative cellars, etc. The contest has now attained a significant level of samples and international recognition (70% of foreign wines), making the Citadelles du Vin one of the key competitions of the world.

© Hvino News, company news

Orovela Saperavi 2006

by Alexander Velky

This Georgian red wine has the thickest, heaviest bottle I’ve ever come across. It was the most expensive bottle from a haul (or “a dozen”) I recently ordered in from Waitrose, and one of the more exotic of a set chosen specifically for their exoticness. Georgian wine may not seem particularly exotic to you, but I’ve never tasted any before and was hitherto wholly unaware of the nation (not US state)’s long history of wine production, and claim to being the “cradle” of wine – both of which are expounded on the label of this Orovela Saperavi.

Saperavi, interestingly, is one of few wine grapes whose flesh, as well as its skin, has a red hue. I rather liked the wine, but I wasn’t as mad about it as some reviewers seem to be. It’s been hanging around for a while (six years, I guess), and sort of tastes like it could do with hanging around a bit longer; it was initially very tannic and acidic, displaying only some of the luscious fruit and complex sweet-bitterness suggested by the wonderfully spicy aroma.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Video: Hillary Clinton enjoys Georgian culture

07.06.2012. Today Reuters posted the video clip "Hillary Clinton enjoys Georgian culture", which includes wine tasting in Batumi. Official transcript follows below:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enjoyed a cultural evening on Tuesday (June 5) during the second night of her visit to Georgia on the tour of the Southern Caucasus. She was accompanied by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and members of the two delegations. Clinton enjoyed a wine tasting session and watched a performance of traditional folk dancers on a central square before going on a sightseeing tour of old and new buildings in Batumi. Earlier during this visit of the Black Sea resort of Batumi, Clinton made clear the United States hopes to see democracy strengthened after Saakashvili's two terms as president end next year. Clinton travels to Azerbaijan on Wednesday (June 6) and will end her trip in Istanbul on June 7, speaking at a counterterrorism forum and holding talks with Turkish officials on Syria.

See also: All in the name of diplomacy: Hillary Clinton is in high spirits during a wine tasting at a beach front resort in Georgia (12 photos)

China and Korea to host "Georgian wine tasting evenings"

07.06.2012 (Hvino News). A delegation of National Investment Agency of Georgia will visit China and South Korea on June 8-12. The program of the visit will include special "Georgian wine evenings" to help in promotion of Georgian export products. Georgian wines will be represented by Askaneli Brothers, Bagrationi, Kakheti Traditional Winemaking, Kindzmarauli Marani and Tbilvino.

The event in Hong Kong, scheduled for June 8th, is to be opened by  Debra Meiburg, a famous Hong Kong-based journalist and master of wine.  Director of Investment Agency Ketevan Bochorishvili will introduce visitors to Georgia's export potential in alcoholic beverages. Georgian wine tasting evenings will continue in Seoul on June 12.

The wine evenings are to be held in the framework of «Financial Times» Global Conferences & Events.  The FT Invest in Georgia Forum "Maximising Strategic Opportunities with Europe's Central Business Hub" is to be opened by a special keynote address from Dimitri Gvindadze, Minister of Finance of Georgia. It will explore the investment prospects for the country and provide insights on the steps the Georgian government is taking to optimise the potential from the rapid growth in Asian outward investment.  FT regularly hosts conferences to introduce various new investment environments and to inform the public about new economic trends.

© Hvino News

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

All in the name of diplomacy: Hillary Clinton is in high spirits during a wine tasting at a beach front resort in Georgia (12 photos)

06.06.2012. Hillary Clinton made sure to have a little fun on her latest official trip by taking some time out to taste the best wine that Georgia had to offer. The Secretary of State seemed to be in high spirits as she chatted with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and surveyed a variety of wine at the Adjarian Wine House in Batumi, a beach town decidedly off the beaten path of high-level political conferences. She was pictured trying at least three different variations of the restaurant’s vintages, and laughing with the President and First Lady over champagne when they first sat down to dinner.

Loads of laughs: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (left) and Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili (right) enjoy a joke while they attend dinner and a wine tasting in his home country
Loads of laughs: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (left) and Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili (right) enjoy a joke while they attend dinner and a wine tasting in his home country

An exacting palate: Mrs Clinton participated in a wine tasting at Adjarian Wine House in the coastal resort town of Batumi near the Black Sea during her diplomatic trip which included stops in eastern Europe and Scandinavia
An exacting palate: Mrs Clinton participated in a wine tasting at Adjarian Wine House in the coastal resort town of Batumi near the Black Sea during her diplomatic trip which included stops in eastern Europe and Scandinavia

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

International Wine Challenge awards 13 wines from Georgia

05.06.2012 (Hvino News) 13 Georgian wines have received awards of  International Wine Challenge (IWC). The results of annual IWC competition were announced recently in London. IWC assesses every wine blind and judges each for its faithfulness to variety, region and vintage. Every wine is assessed independently of its price; "great value for money" awards are made after the wine has been judged for quality. The highest award (silver medal) was won by Marani Kondoli Mtsvane-kisi 2011.  Here is the list of 13 winning wines from Georgia:

Mukuzani Red Dry, 2006
Produced by: Jsc Teliani Valley
From: East Georgia, Georgia
Average Price: £13.50

Marani Kondoli Vineyards Rkatsiteli, 2009
Produced by: Marani Of Telavi
From: Kakheti, Georgia

Average Price: £11.00

Georgia on my mind

Georgia is the home of wine, and not just any wine. The ancient Greeks considered it to be the finest wine in the known world, and vastly superior to their own somewhat vinegary efforts. For 8,000 years the Georgians have understood the need for stable temperatures during the fermentation process and therefore buried their wine in vast terracotta pots known as qvevri so that come rain or shine the temperature remained almost constant. Changing methods, intensive farming and artificial fertilisers and pesticides took their toll on quality during the 20th century, but now Georgian wines are experienced a much-deserved revival, and the results are quite remarkable.

To try the finest wines that modern Georgia has to offer, we joined the Georgian Minister of the Economy, Vera Kobalia, food critics and invited guests at Hibiscus, the double Michelin starred restaurant in Mayfair. Wine connoisseur Isabelle Legeron matched seven of Georgia's best wines (all on the menu at Hibiscus) with chef Claude Bosi's dishes and over the course of three or four hours we learned about the history and techniques of Georgian wine making. Other than the importance of the qvevri, we discovered how Georgian white wines are often fermented with the grape skins, giving the resulting wines a gloriously rich orange colour.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Listen to BBC Food Programme on Georgian wine from London

04.06.2012 (Hvino News). Today the Britain's BBC radio broadcast features Food Programme, which extensively covers Georgian wine recently presented in London. You may listen to the radio broadcast by clicking here.

Simon Parkes reports from the London International Wine fair to discover the latest trends in the wine industry. Two 'natural wine' festivals took place in London alongside the larger London International Wine Fair. The Real Wine Fair and the Raw Wine Fair aimed to publicise natural wines that keep chemical inputs when making wines at a minimum. All three wine fairs in London featured Kvevri wines. These are wines made in the traditional Georgian way. The whole grape - seeds, pips and even the stems are placed into a giant clay pot which is then buried for several months. Winemakers in Georgia have been making wine in this way for around 8000 years. It is believed that wine originated in Georgia.

Simon meets wine producers from emerging wine producing countries  to taste the wines that could soon be hitting the supermarket shelves in the UK. He also samples wines with a lower alcohol strength to discover if it is possible to produce wines that taste good without the high levels of alcohol. The Food Programme reports on two festivals focusing on 'natural wine': wines made with a minimum of chemical input to find out whether natural wines are now becoming more established in the UK wine market.

© Hvino News, BBC

Four wines from Gorelli win BTI medals in Chicago

Photo: Gorelli Ltd
04.05.2012 (Hvino News) On May 29th Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago awarded medals to four wines from Gorelli Ltd.

  • Gorelli 2005 Grand Reserve - Silver Medal. RATING: 86 points (Highly Recommended) 
  • Gorelli 2007 Reserve "Old Friends" - Bronze Medal. RATING: 84 points (Recommended) 
  • Gorelli 2005 Reserve "Queen of Iberia" - Bronze Medal. RATING: 80 points (Recommended) 
  • Gorelli 2007 Saperavi - Bronze Medal. RATING: 81 points (Recommended) 

The Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) is a marketing service company that provides reviews for spirits, wines, and beers. The judging ratings range from 96 to 100. BTI uses a tasting lab in Chicago.

© Hvino News, company news

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Saperavi Satrapezo 2008: Tasting beyond its years

If this wine is anything to go by, Georgia has some real gems to offer. I tasted this last week in a Georgian restaurant near where I live in Islington, London. It retails for around the £20 mark, and at that price it's well worth it.

French cabernet sauvignon vines taken to Georgia some time ago produce grapes mixed with the local Saperavi grapes to excellent effect. I found it not dissimilar to a Bordeaux but with a depth and aged taste that you'd expect in a much older wine from that region. It has superb length and a hint of mustiness.

According to my waiter, it is also produced in an unusual way: "Produced in accordance with ancient wine making techniques dating back over 6000 years, the wine is fermented in clay vessels called Kvevri buried in the ground. Long, one-month maceration, followed by maturation for 24 months in oak barrels". One Saperavi made the Independent's top 50 list last year.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

"Kindzmarauli Marani": After the Russian market opens our revenues will dramatically increase

02.06.2012. Director of "Kindzmarauli Marani" Dimitri Lebanidze gave interview to Kommersant.ge:

- Georgia’s Prime Minister announced at the "European Foundation" conference that the opening of the Russian market would be one of the main priorities within the next 4-5 years [read more]. Will the government’s decision change the situation for the Georgian wine companies?
- I hope that the Georgian wine will return to the Russian market and I don’t doubt that steps made in this direction will be positive for the wine sector, because the market is powerful. Awareness of Georgian wine is high on the market as well as demand is great.

"Don't drink Georgian wine!" 
(a 2006's wall calendar from 
"Komsomolskaya Pravda")
- Much time has passed and, of course, the new companies entered the market, is there any interest from Russia to Georgian wine?
- There is interest, of course. Russian distribution companies, which are interested in export of Georgian wine, do contact us, but so far the situation has been unclear. The market is still closed for Georgian wine.

- Will the Prime Minister's statement lead to any changes in relations between the relevant agencies of the both countries?
- As the Prime Minister made this statement, a dialogue between the agencies will presumably start. In particular, the relevant bodies of Georgia should work on the issue of launching negotiations with [Russia's] Sanitary Service.

- What will the entry into Russian market change for your company?
- I'll say directly, it will sharply increase sales, because before the market closed approximately 50 million bottles had been sold from Georgia. This is a very big figure. Therefore, not only for “Kindzmarauli Marani", but for other companies, which operated in this market until 2006, the sales figures will increase dramatically.

Source, Hvino News

Friday, June 1, 2012

Our first month's results

Click to enlarge
Click on graph to enlarge
1.06.2012. Today we received statistical data on the first month of Hvino News, which opened officially on May 1st. The total geographical reach of our news service during first month of operation is 57 countries!

The diagram shows geographical location of our readers according to Google Analytics, based on first month since opening (May 1 - June 1). 35% of visitors come from Georgia, 24% - from Russia, 17% - from EU, 12% - from USA and Canada, 12% - from other countries. Among "other countries" (grey-colored sector) most visits are from Ukraine, Hong Kong, and Poland. Our audience reads Hvino News in 40 languages, and average visit duration is 11 minutes. 45% are returning visitors, 55% are new visitors, which is an excellent proportion.

We publish daily news updates at the average level of 1,5 articles per day, which means at least 3 news every two days. In addition to daily news, we now offer official documents, wine market databases, and a forum. During the first month, our content has been quoted by some world's leading wine industry media, including Drinks International, Just Drinks, WineSino and several news services.

Prime Minister's opinion changed: Russian market to become a prioritiy

1.06.2012 (Hvino News) Opening of Russian market has now become one of top priorities of Georgian government.  Prime Minister Nika Gilauri named Russian market among the main directions for the next 4-5 years. The statements were made ​​yesterday during annual conference of European  Foundation at Radisson Hotel in Tbilisi. Mr. Gilauri also noted that during this said period the principal directions were admission to NATO and conclusion of free trade agreements with the United States. "Of course, the loss of the Russian market and the global financial crisis has damaged our economy, but we were able to get out of it with minimal losses and quickly," said the Prime Minister of Georgia.

A few months ago, Gilauri did not advise Georgian businesses to enter the Russian market. In November 2011 he said: "The Russian market might open for Georgian products, nothing is ruled out, but it cannot be the main driving force of  the economy. Fortunately that is, because the country’s economy is greatly diversified". Russia has banned imports of  Georgian products since 2006. At the end of last year Sanitary Service of Russian Federation agreed to allow Georgian wine and mineral water to enter Russian market, however there is no concrete result so far. Georgian lemonade has already appeared in the Russian market.

© Hvino News

Wine journalism in Georgia – who cares?

by Robert Linkous

1.06.2012. If you are a wine journalist, Angeles Tegtmeyer, Managing Director of Schuchmann Wines, may reply to your email with such alacrity that you will suspect she has you under surveillance. In Germany she learned the value of working the media before joining Schuchmann, not founded until 2008. Her company has never had the luxury of doing one-stop sales calling to the Russian Bear, which Putin sent drinking elsewhere than Georgia in 2006. She knows she must promote her wines any way she can, even if many older Georgian wine companies “do not accept this way of marketing.”

As Gvantsa Meladze, Head of Export Support Service for the Georgian National Investment Agency, observed, “Wine journalism in Georgia is yet to be developed. Wine is more of a culture to Georgians rather than a product you write about.” But this began to change after 2006, she added, and wine journalism, especially as it relates to wine tourism, is “the best marketing tool for attracting wine lovers to Georgia.”

Schuchmann Wines to choose alternative auditor

1.06.2012.  Players of the Georgian wine market do not rule out the use of an alternative auditor by Schuchmann Wines. Company's commercial director Mr. Davitashvili predicts that Schuchmann Wines management will refuse state tax inspection, and give priority to an alternative auditor. He explains that an alternative auditing initiative is very attractive, because the company is given a chance to correct the violation and will not be fined. According to Georgia's law, businesses may choose to be checked by alternative private auditors or by state tax authorities.