This year, 72 tons of the Rkatsiteli grape mainly from the Tsinandali area was purchased at 1.40 Lari per kilo, and 98 tons of Mtsvane Kakhuri from Manavi sold at 1.45 Lari per kilo. The Saparavi processing peak was observed on September 12 when during a 24 hour period, 4,500 tons were processed, which is a record figure. The Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane processing peak was observed on September 25, when 3,800 tons of grapes were processed in 24 hours.
The demand is growing for Saperavi grapes harvested in the Mukuzani, Akhasheni and Kindzmarauli regions. Because of this, the price of Saparavi per kilo increased to 2.10 Lari, up from 1.20 at the start of the harvest.
Export Sales Manager, Giorgi Teimurazashvili, of the GWS Company, noted that the demand for Georgian grapes is quite high. As such, the company purchased around 5,000 tons of the grapes.
“It should be noted that the vintage season is very well organized and successful. The Ministry of Agriculture and the National Wine Agency (NWA), in coordination with the private sector, are behind this improvement,” he said.
According to the NWA, 84 companies bought and processed over 91,000 tons of grapes in the Kakheti region this year, a record number compared to previous years. Out of this amount, 25, 764 tons were Saperavi; 61,736 tons Rkatsiteli; 2, 024 tons Mtsvane and 1,527 tons included other grape varieties.
Of these companies involved in the harvest in Kakheti region, 82 companies are privately owned and only two are state-owned – Gruzvinprom Ltd and Akura Ltd. The state-owned companies purchased and processed 15,416 tons of grapes, which is 17% of the total amount; in 2012 the share of the grapes processed by state-run companies was much higher reaching almost 65%.
Locals note that compared to previous years, the Kakheti region was quite fortunate this year, as the weather was excellent and the vine-growers received double the price for their harvest. In fact, according to October 5 data on grape realization, winegrowers in Kakheti saw revenues grow to more than 100 million Lari.
As for the mountainous Racha region in western Georgia, 24 companies purchased and processed 979 tons of Aleksandrouli and Mujuretuli grapes, while the price of red grapes per kilo was 8.50 Lari.
This year, the largest amount of grapes per person were sold by a farmer from the village of Didi Chailuri in Kakheti; the farmer received 200,000 Lari. Also successful was Liza Bokuchava, a resident of the village of Mukuani in Kakheti; she harvested 32 tons, whereas last year the harvest was only 16 tons.
“The vintage season was great,” said Bockuchava. “The harvest was good and we sold it at a good price as well. Last year, we sold Rkatsiteli for only 40 Tetri, while this year its cost was one Lari. So those families who had given-up on vine-growing have more incentive now,” she explained.
For the 2013 vintage, a fifth component for wine-growers was added to the state- initiated Agro Loan Program. According to the current data, enterprises were given an extra 43, 688, 024 Lari in loans.
“The government has offered unprecedented support for farmers and entrepreneurs,” says Zurab Chkhaidze, founder of the local Kakheti Traditional Winemaking Company. “Our company has been carrying out the vintage season for 17 years and this kind of aid was never offered before. I want to thank the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Wine Agency, the government and the Prime Minister for this,” he continued.
Vine-growers are already making plans for next year and they hope that the government will follow its current course, resulting in more competition and an increase in revenue across the board.