Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Levan Davitashvili: Russia approves Georgian wine and mineral water

06.03.2013 (Hvino News) “Georgian wineries and factories successfully passed their checks in order to appear on the Russian market, and we expect further checks on March 25,” Levan Davitashvili, head of Georgia’s National Wine Agency, told reporters in Tbilisi today. The Russian consumer safety agency Rospotrebnadzor confirms that 36 Georgian wine companies and four mineral water producers are ready to enter the Russian market, effectively lifting a seven-year ban on imports from the former Soviet republic.

A total of 93 Georgian companies have sought to resume shipments to Russia, and 40 more firms may be inspected as part of a second round of health checks, Davitashvili said.

On Wednesday the agency  published a list of products which have been approved after the inspection procedure. Among the approved products there is well-known mineral water Borjomi; among wines are Bagrationi 1882, Badagoni, Kindzmarauli Marani, Sarajishvili, Teliani Valley and others (for official list in Russian, click here).

The first group of six experts arrived in Georgia on February 25 to spend four days here inspecting the production of wine and mineral water. According to Levan Davitashvili, the next group will arrive on March 25. He says the results of the first inspection were successful. Only one wine company did not pass the quality control.

Levan Davitashvili told journalists that wine companies which have been approved will not yet export to Russia. They will have to wait until the rest of the companies have received approval. He said that the companies want common starting conditions and also due to collegiality the approved companies will wait until the remaining companies are finished registering; only then will they start exporting their products.

Head of Rospotrebnadzor Gennady Onischenko told Russian media on Wednesday that on the first stage it was planned to inspect 39 companies producing alcohol; however two companies refused, explaining that they have small production. He also said that 93 Georgian companies expressed a desire to export their product to the Russian market and 57 of them are left to inspect.

Among alcoholic drinks, only wine and brandy have so far been approved for export. Regarding chacha (Georgian grappa) Genady Onischenko says it will become clear on the next visit of the group of inspectors.

“The process of entering the Russian market begins, but it’s too early to say how much increase we expect in sales,” said George Margvelashvili, president of  largest  wine maker Tbilvino.

Georgian wine exports increased to $54.1 million in 2011, the latest year for which data were available and the most since the embargo. Exports rose 37.7 percent from a year earlier to 16.9 million liters, according to Georgia’s National Statistics Office of Georgia. Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan topped the list of customers.

© Hvino News

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