Thursday, February 7, 2013

Georgian wine back to Russian market

by Keti Arjevanidze

06.02.2013. “It is possible that Georgian wine will return to the Russian market in spring of this year,” Levan Davitashvili, head of the National Wine Agency, said after the negotiations with the Russian side concluded on February 4. However, Davitashvili admitted that currently it is hard to make exact forecast.

Genadi Onishenko, head of the Russian State Consumer Protection Agency, said as reply to Davitashvili’s statement, that “it is realistic” only if the politics do not interfere.

“Georgian entrepreneurs have taken significant steps toward improving the situation during the last years,” Onishenko said, after a meeting with the Georgian delegation in Russia on Monday. He also expressed the readiness to come to Georgia and resolve various issues related to the return of Georgian products to the Russian market.

While Onishenko’s visit to Georgia depends on his wish, wine specialist from Russia are going to come to Georgia, as it was planned to inspect Georgian enterprises, which have already presented all the documents to Russian side. Onishenko explained that “the next step” after the inspection is to register Georgian products in Russia.

The RosPotrebNadzor head stated that inspection specialists will intensively work in order to avoid any fabrication of wine.

He specified that about 60 Georgian wine manufacturing companies are ready to restore the wine and mineral water export to Russian market. According to Davitashvili the main topics of discussion were quality control systems, issues about the certificate, “how acceptable is the Georgian quality control system for the Russian side." said the National Wine Agency head.

“Georgian wine will not be cheap. One bottle’s price will cost about 300 rubles (about 17 GEL),” the head of Georgian delegation said.

Talks about returning Georgian wine to Russian market started early in November 2012 and caused various opinions among wine specialists.

Aleko Tskitishvili, member of Georgia’s Wine Club spoke about the risks which are characteristic for the Russian market. “After the embargo there were positive steps in Georgian wine-making, the quality of Georgian wine increased,” he clarified earlier.

Tskitishvili also spoke of the possible political risks. “If it is not attached to one market, the political decision-embargo from Russia will not be so painful, as it was before,” he said. The specialist highlighted the possible high competition, because during Georgia wine’s absence, other wines were prioritized.

Georgian wine was banned in Russia in 2006. Two steps are left to finalize the issue: specialist must visit Georgia for inspection and Georgian products need to be registered in Russia.

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