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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.

Considering the number of population, greatest efforts for pushing wine sales are made towards China, where consumption per capita varies by region, but keeps a growing trend. Rural Chinese population consume up to 0.4 liters of wine annually, urban settlements make it 0.7 l. and Shanghai, with average of 2.5 liters per annum seems to be the most favorable destination for winemakers in mainland China.

Wine imports in greater China are taxed by 50% whilst Hong Kong and Macau, China’s special administrative regions have dropped it to 0%. Hong Kong leads Chinese wine consumption charts by striving 4.5 liters per person. Tools for marketing of wine in mainland China greatly differ from those that are to be used in Hong Kong, a special administrative region and Asian business center with over 7 million residents living and working on a territory of slightly larger than Tbilisi. The successful entrance of Georgian wines on the Hong Kong market is extremely important for the GNIA, as Hong Kong dictates  trends to mainland China and influences the buying habits of wine consumers.

The wine tasting event in Hong Kong was opened by Master of Wine Ms. Debra Meiburg, who was voted as the “Most Influential Wine Journalist in Hong Kong” in 2007. Ms. Meiburg gave a brief introduction on the long traditions of winemaking in Georgia, the availability of indigenous grapes in the country: (Red- Saperavi, Alexandrouli; White- Rkatsiteli, Mtsvani, Tsolikauri and so on.) Meiburg explained that the annual wine production of the average Georgian winery is about 2 million twelve-bottle cases (similar to New Zealand). The Master of Wine also mentioned that Georgia offers international markets high-quality mineral water from the Caucasus Mountains. GNIA Director Ketevan Bochorishvili addressed the audience, focusing on the export potential of Georgia and the importance of entering Asian market.

With the assistance of Georgian Embassy in South Korea Georgian wine tasting evening was also conducted in Seoul and was attended by the representatives of the Georgian wine companies that have an interest in the South Korean market, Asian region wine importers and local media representatives. Individual meetings between traders and Georgian wine producers also took place during the event.

One of the most significant achievements has been the inclusion of Georgian wines in a popular iPhone and iPad application “Flavour Colours”, food and wine pairing methodology. This application is widely used in Hong Kong. Creative software helps locals and tourists to match wines with their favorite dishes while dining at restaurants in Hong Kong.

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