Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sales of beer and spirits set to increase, claims report

by Mariam Papidze

30.11.2013. Sales of Georgian alcoholic beverages are expected to grow fast, according to the Euromonitor International summary provided exclusively to The Financial. The main threat to stable growth of the market is a possible delay in the economic recovery in the country, but this is not very likely. The categories which are expected to experience the fastest growth by 2017 are beer and spirits.

Sales of spirits and beer grew much faster, with beer witnessing its strongest growth in 25 years. Sales of spirits increased the most in 2012, reflecting the increase in demand for vodka in recent years. As for wine, it grew more slowly than other alcoholic drinks categories, as it is among the most traditional alcoholic drinks in Georgia and is quite mature, according to Euromonitor International.

“Georgian consumers have gradually switched from wine to various other spirits, in particular, vodka. Traditionally, Georgians would drink mainly wine during so-called “supras” - traditional festivities, where people consume numerous Georgian dishes and make different toasts. However, in recent years, Georgian consumers have gradually decreased the amounts of food consumed and instead focus on smaller quantities of stronger spirits. As a result, sales of vodka increased visibly in 2012. As long as the imported and local vodka brands are priced similarly, imported brands prevailed in the preferences of local consumers, because Russian and Ukrainian vodka have a better image,” says the report.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Georgia on my mind

by Shelley Boettcher

29.11.2013. A couple of years ago, I had an incredible opportunity to travel to Georgia, thanks to my friend Alla Wagner at Lotus Vini. I wrote about my trip last fall for City Palate magazine, a food magazine based in Calgary, Canada. Since the story isn’t available online, and that issue of the magazine is no longer on newsstands, I thought I’d repost it here. Sometimes I still dream about that trip. It’s a beautiful, wonderful, friendly country and I hope to one day take my entire family there.

The scent of woodsmoke. An ancient Lada car, packed with watermelons — on the roof, in the trunk and crammed into the passenger seats. Bushels of corn lit by fall sunshine. A lamb carcass — or is it a goat? — outside a shack by the side of a gravel road. A bloodied cleaver is jammed into a butcher block beside it. Nearby, men squat and talk. Flies buzz. Then, a child’s small, smiling face, bright as a star.

I memorized everything I could see while travelling through the small towns and countryside in the republic of Georgia, a small but fierce country that borders the Black Sea to the west, Russia to the north, Turkey and Armenia to the south and, in the southeast, Azerbaijan.

At every corner, it was clear that Georgia is a country of contrasts — eastern and western influences, rural and urban. The capital city, Tbilisi, features designer shops, lively bars and fancy restaurants, but a visit to the countryside is a step back in time. Everywhere I looked, I was mesmerized by Georgia’s fascinating history and its rich food and wine culture.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Government cautions about reliability of Russian market

28.11.2013 (Hvino News) Minister of Economic Development Giorgi Kvirikshvili recently stated that the Georgian business should not rely on the Russian market. The minister said that after initialing of the agreement with the European Union there are theoretically economic risks from Russia. The government warns the business community that the Russian market is not 100% reliable.

The Georgian businessmen interviewed by Commersant radio largely agree with the statement about the risks on the Russian market. Schuchmann Wines Georgia's director Nutsa Abramishvili explained  that the association agreement with the EU will promote the development of wine making, and relations with the Russian market gave companies some experience. During the Russian embargo period Schuchmann  carried out diversification activities. In her words, each market should be treated with caution because there is a danger of potential risks. With regard to a possible pressure from Russia, Schuchmann Wines's head said that risks are more long-term, because the association agreement takes a number of procedures and long time.

According to Tbilivino's director Giorgi Margvelashvili, Western Europe is marked by a greater stability, while certain  risks exist in all the post-Soviet countries. Noting that Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan are the countries where Georgian wine is more famous, he said that for some periods crises are observed in these markets as well. He added that Tbilvino is trying not to become excessively dependent on Russian market and if before the embargo 50% fell on exports to Russia, today the figure is only 20%.

© Hvino News   |  DRINK GEORGIAN!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Found a Saperavi in Portland

by Terry Sullivan

26.11.2013. In another grocer store in Portland, I discovered another wine from Georgia. Fred Meyer had a 2007 Saperavi from Mildiani Family Winery. Upon further investigation of the back label, I noticed the wine was produced by Tsinindali Old Cellar. The wine was a dark purple color with a dark ruby rim. There was black fruit and oak influences on the aroma. The taste was complex and changed as the wine was in the glass. On the fruit side there was black berries, plum and cassis. On the woody side there was leather and a touch of smoke. The wine is more acidic than people may be use to for a red. The wine should be drunk with food, as we did, a Quinoa and Black Bean Salad.

Saperavi is an old grape, indigenous to Georgia, the birthplace of wine. The grape is used to make European-styled wines as well as traditional Kekheti wine made in a qvevri. Saperavi is the predominant red grape in Georgia; however, many Georgians refer to the grape as a black grape since the wines are often dark purple to black in color. The price point for this 2007 Saperavi from Mildiani Family Winery was under $10 at Fred Meyer. At that price, it is easy to give the wine a try.

We have also come across wines made with Saperavi at McGregor Vineyard and Winery Dundee, New York. While in Georgia we had many wines made from the varietal Saperavi. The ones we enjoyed the most were made in qvevri. We tasted a few Saperavi made in qvevri that I could easily drink with dinner instead of Caymus Special Select or Shafer Hillside Select. They are quite a value if you can find them.


Monday, November 25, 2013

"The Korea Times": Ambassadors pitch 'New World' wine

25.11.2013. Envoys from non-traditional wine-growing countries have gotten aggressive recently trying to attract Korean consumers as wine consumption here is on the rise following a brief sales slump in 2009.

Ambassadors from Argentina and Georgia have been especially active in trying to turn Korean consumers’ attention to so-called “New World” wines.

In a speech at a wine-tasting event at Banyan Tree Hotel in Seoul, Monday, Argentine Ambassador Jorge Roballo claimed that Malbec wine from Argentina has “conquered” the European and North American markets. “Now, Argentine wineries are targeting Asian markets, especially Korea, to increase their market share as Koreans have begun discovering the taste and value of Argentine wines,” the envoy said.

The wine-tasting event was the fifth of its kind held in Seoul. More than 100 people, mostly wine shop owners and importers, were invited to the promotion.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Georgian wine to be served at Vilnius summit events

24.11.2013 (Hvino News). Some time ago Hvino News posted information that Georgian wine might be presented at the Vilnius summit (see here). The plan to use Georgian wine at official events of Vilnius summit is now confirmed.

Georgian wine will be offered during lunch to participants of Eastern Partnership Summit  in Vilnius, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The event will be held at Vilnius Litexpo exhibition hall, and will be attended by high representatives of EU member states and Eastern Partnership participant countries.

Over 100 bottles of wine,  Georgian brandy and chacha are delivered to Vilnius for serving at this event. The bottles carry special labels "Georgia welcomes the Lithuanian EU presidency 2013", which were prepared for the Georgian products.

"Georgian wine corner" will be also arranged at Litexpo, where the participants will be able to get information about Georgia and the products, souvenirs and brochures.

The third Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius will be held on the 28-29 November, 2013.

Georgian drinks will also be served on the 27 November, during lunch at the Parliamentary Forum, which will be held on the eve of Eastern Partnership summit.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Georgian Christmas Fair in London

22.11.2013. London will host the first Georgian Christmas Fair from November 28 to December 1 on Cathedral Square, of Borough Market, London Bridge. British Georgian Chamber of Commerce (BGCC) with the support of the Georgian government is organizing the event.

“The initiative to hold a fair came from the local municipality who contacted us, BGCC, and offered to start a tradition to have a Georgian Christmas fair,” says Mako Abashidze, the Director of BGCC.

The idea of the fair is to introduce Georgian agricultural products to the British market, promote Georgia as an exquisite food and wine destination and at the same time underline and promote the intercultural nature of London and specifically Southwark, which boasts world class attractions including Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, Vinopolis and Borough Market.

“This is a unique opportunity to promote Georgia in a complex marketing campaign as it involves cultural, art and cuisine elements. However, the big highlight comes with promoting Georgian wine with the help of a local wine PR Company together with Sarah Abbott Master of Wine and Isabel Legeron,” she noted, adding that the event has a commercial agenda as the viewers will have an opportunity to buy various Georgian goods and products.

According to Keti Kandelaki, Acting Director Department of International Cultural and Humanitarian Relations at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, international promotion of Georgian culture is high on the Georgian government’s foreign policy agenda.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Winery Khareba showed artwork by Gigisha Pachkoria

20.11.2013 (Hvino News). Winery Khareba organized presentation of new artworks by Gigisha Pachkoria, well-known ceramicist (pottery artist). Gigisha Pachkoria presented wine vessels, among other artworks. Winery Khareba also held a wine tasting session.

The exhibition was held with support of Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia. Event was attended by VIP guests including diplomats working in Georgia.

© Hvino News   |  DRINK GEORGIAN!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"Daily Mail": Make mine an amber nectar! Marks & Spencer serves up orange wine surprise from Eastern Europe...but is £8.99 tipple really the drink of the gods?

    No ordinary plonk: The new wine called Tblvino Quevris is from Kakheti in Georgia
  • The wine called Tblvino Qvevris has come from Kakheti in Georgia
  • Follows an 8,000 year tradition where it is aged in traditional clay amphora
  • Specialists said they were impressed with the 'complexity' of the wines
by Sean Poultier

17.11.2013. Colours have long been used as a simple cue to help identification. Children’s medicines are a sickly pink, Ferraris are red, apple juice comes in green cartons and wine is red and white – or rose.

However, a new orange or amber wine has arrived on shelves from Georgia, an eastern European country not universally known as a producer of fine vintages.

In fact the Tbilvino Quevris wine, which comes from Kakheti, Georgia, has a long and intriguing history.

Georgia lays claim to being the birth place of viticulture and this wine is made from Rkatsiteli grapes, which are one of the oldest known varieties in the world.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

7 Georgian wines win at Enoexpo 2013 in Poland

16.11.2013 (Hvino News) Several Georgian wine producers participated in the Enoexpo 11th International Wine Trade Fair, which took place on November 13-15 in Krakow, Poland. The aim of this competition, according to the organizers, was to select the best wines in specific categories, and to award them with ENOEXPO® 2013 Trade Fair Medals.

Seven Georgian wines became the winners of the Enoexpo medals:

Gold Medal Enoexpo® 2013:
  • Schuchmann Wines Vinoterra Kisi White Dry 2011
  • Schuchmann Wines Vinoterra Saperavi Red Dry 2009
Silver Medal Enoexpo® 2013:
  • Telavi Wine Cellar Marani Kakheti 2011
  • Telavi Wine Cellar Marani Khvanchkara 2012

Friday, November 15, 2013

Russia becomes the leading importer of Georgian wine

by Georgy Kalatozishvili

15.11.2013. According to the Agricultural Ministry of Georgia, from June to September 2013, i.e. when the Russian market became open for Georgian wine and up to date, Georgia exported 8.917 million bottles of natural wine, which is 33.7% of the whole wine export of the country in nine months of the current year. The Ministry stresses that “Russia again is the leading importer of Georgian wine for the first time in a long period.”

In general Georgia exported 26.458 million bottles of wine to 49 countries from the beginning of the year; the index is by 71% bigger than in the same period of the last year. The second place is taken by Ukraine where 8.523 million wine bottles were exported, but not in fourth months, but during the whole 2013.

The top-five also includes Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Poland – 20.7% of the whole export. They are followed by Latvia, China, Lithuania, Estonia, the U.S.A., and other countries. This year Georgia has begun to export wine to Brazil, Turkmenistan, Egypt, Italy, Singapore, Jordan, Sweden, and Spain.

If Georgian wine export to Russia continues to grow in such a pace, it may surpass the export volume to all other countries together, like it used to be till 2006 when Gennady Onishchenko banned import of Georgian wines, explaining this by a low quality and a big number of falsified products.


Monday, November 11, 2013

The comeback kid: Georgian wine outperforming expectations in Russian market

11.11.2013. Russian demand for Georgian wine has exceeded predictions, creating an exciting potential for Georgian exports returning to the market for the first time since the 2006 embargo. Investor.ge spoke to Château Mukhrani, Georgian Wines & Spirits Company and Teliani Valley about their sales to the Russian market and how it will influence future production.

After seven years of embargo, Russian wine drinkers welcomed Georgian wine with open arms, purchasing seven times more wine since the market reopened in June than anticipated, according wine producers like Château Mukhrani and Georgian Wines & Spirits Company.

The Ministry of Agriculture reported that Georgia exported 1.7 million bottles of wine to Russia in just the first month after the embargo was lifted; 65 wine companies and four mineral water producers received permission from Moscow to export their products to the Russian market.

"The conclusions of the first months are that the Russian consumer has not forgotten the Georgian wine, but on the contrary rushed to the shops to buy the first wines imported from Georgia leaving our distributors in a difficult situation to fill up the shelves in Russian shops," noted Jacques Fleury, CEO of GWS (Georgian Wines & Spirits Company).

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Georgia lobbies for inclusion of qvevri wine-making method in UNESCO's Intangible Heritage List

10.11.2013 (Hvino News) Georgia is working on inclusion of the country's traditional way of wine making into UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze told journalists after the meeting with the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova in Paris. Georgia's Foreign Minister took part in the work of the 37th session of UNESCO's General Conference.

"We want the tradition of making of the Georgian wine, which is called qvevri wine to be included into UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage this year," Panjikidze said.The issue of giving the status of "Intangible Cultural Heritage" to this method of wine-making was discussed in Tbilisi in February 2012 at the coordination meeting with participation of representatives from UNESCO's National Commission, Patriarchate of Georgia, different agencies, international and non-governmental organizations, as well as Georgian winemakers.

Georgia joined UNESCO Convention for the "Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage" in 2007. The Georgian folklore has already been included in the list of the world's intangible cultural heritages. Earlier, according to the Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili's decree, the Georgian  qvevri (clay jug for wine) wine was declared a monument of cultural heritage and was granted the category of national importance.

The Intangible Cultural Heritage programme was established in 2008, when the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage took effect.  The UNESCO lists includes, for example, Armenian cross-stones khachkars and Argentinian tango.

© Hvino News   |  DRINK GEORGIAN!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Georgia takes part in WWTG session in Washigton

09.11.2013 (Hvino News).  Chairman of the National Wine Agency Levan Davitashvili participated in annual meeting of World Wine Trade Group (WWTG). The plenary meeting was held on November 6-8 in Washington, USA.

Signing of document, which regulates requirements on wine labeling, such as allowable deviation of alcohol content, harvest/vintage, grape varieties and wine regions.

Besides, discussion is scheduled on ways for reaching agreement on limits establishment for pesticides' use as well as other problems of winemaking.

The Agency declared that WWTG meeting in 2014 might be held in Georgia.

WWTG is informal alliance of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Georgia, New Zealand, South Africa and the US, aiming at trade facilitation between member states.

© Hvino News   |  DRINK GEORGIAN!

Mikheil Saakashvili and Georgian winemakers attend wine festival in Merano, Italy

09.11.2013 (Hvino News). The outgoing president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili along with the team of Georgian wine makers attended the opening of the wine festival in Merano, Italy.

Mikheil Saakashvili addressed the participants. “I’m from the country that is the homeland of wine historically and Greeks took it from Georgia through Black Sea to various countries. Today we have 500 varieties of Georgian wine. To me it’s very important to be here with you today. By this I promote Georgian wine. I’m accompanied by the team of Georgian wine makers. We have recently created wine associations in Georgia and it’s very important to have partner relations with you and to deepen this cooperation to promote Georgian wine in European market”, The President of Georgia said.

Wine Festivals have been held in Merano for 20 years. Georgian wine companies are represented in Merano for the first time. The following companies are represented:

© Hvino News   |  DRINK GEORGIAN!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Georgian wine at Hong Kong fair

08.11.2013 (Hvino News). The sixth HKTDC Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair, one of the largest fairs of its kind in Asia, opened on November 6 with more than 1,000 exhibitors from 40 countries and regions.

Georgia is represented in this three day event (7-9 November), taking place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). According to official list, 10 Georgian wine companies and Georgian Wine Association will be present at Hong Kong Fair at a single booth 3C-E02:

  • Bagrationi 1882
  • Besini Company Ltd
  • Corporation Georgian Wine Ltd
  • JSC Sarajishvili
  • Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking
  • Tbilvino
  • Winery Khareba Ltd
  • Chateau Mukhrani
  • Schuchmann Wines Georgia
  • Georgian Wines & Spirits Company Ltd

Compared to last year, Georgian representation has doubled (for 2012's information see here)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Engusi Natberadze

by Kathy Sullivan

07.11.2013. Engusi Natberadze is a delightful, friendly winemaker from a family who has been making wine for generations. Engusi is proud of his wines and chacha.

Engusi Natberadze has seen the development of wine in Georgia over many years. Noting that his father and grandfather made wine here, Engusi said that his family has been making wine beyond the fourth or fifth generations. Today his vineyard is home to grapevines more than 100 years old. Some of his qvevri are 200 years old. Asked if he ever recoated the inside of the qvevri with beeswax, he said that even the oldest qvevri had never been recoated.


The white grapevines in the vineyard include Tsolikouri, Mtsvane and Kudurauli. Red varieties are Aleksandrouli, Mujuretuli, Dzelshavi, Aladasturi, Kapistoni and Otskhanuri Sapere.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Georgian wine comes to Korea

05.11.2013. Georgia is one of the oldest wine producing regions in the world.  Archaeologists believe that the world’s first cultivated grapevines came from an area where Georgia sits, the South Caucasus valleys, more than 8,000 years ago.  With such a deep history of wine production, the beverage has become an inseparable part of the country’s identity.

For this reason Georgian Ambassador to Seoul, Nikoloz Apkhazava, felt a fundamental part of incorporating Georgian culture into the Republic of Korea was to begin importing Georgian wine. He began this endeavor shortly after his country opened an embassy in Seoul in 2012.

The importance of wine is even articulated in the country’s language.  “The word wine comes from the Georgian word ghvino.  Georgia also literally translates to “tiller”, explains Apkhazava.

Official: Georgia's wine export statistics for October 2013

06.11.2013 (Hvino News). According to the Georgian Wine Agency total of 6,733,221 bottles of wine (0.75l) was exported to 21 countries in October, 2013. The overall export as of October amounts to 33,188,949 (0.75 L) bottles, being 81% higher compared to last year's same period.

Five leading export destinations of Georgian wine are as follows: Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Poland, where Russia holds 40% of total volume of exports. Latvia and China are on 6th and 7th places in volumes respectively.

Exports in value as of October 2013 amounted to more than US$100 mln, which is already 19% higher than last year's total.

© Hvino News   |  DRINK GEORGIAN!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Simon Chkheidze's wine cellar

by Kathy Sullivan

05.11.2013.Over the years, Simon Chkheidze in Meore, Imereti, Georgia has sought to produce quality wines before making them available to the public. He expects to bottle his first wines from the 2014 vintage. Simon is focused on producing and exporting quality wines made with the Otskhanuri Sapere grape.

After walking to the vineyards, we enjoyed tasting an Otskhanuri Sapere wine that winemaker and owner Simon Chkheidze produced. The wine tasting was at a long wood table near several qvevri buried in the soil. Nearby sits a large 150-year-old wood press.

Simon Chkheidze has a small family vineyard winery in the village of Meore, Imereti. Although he has not yet started to bottle his wines as he seeks better quality, we enjoyed the wine we tasted and believe they are likely to become well known. Simon expects to reach his goal of bottling a quality Otskhanuri Sapere wine beginning with the 2014 vintage. Eventually he would like to produce 40,000 bottles. Wine enthusiasts will want to check out this wine when it becomes available on the international market.


The 3.5 hectares (8.6 acres) of vineyards close to Simon’s marani are 30 years old. Grape varieties include Tsitska, Tsolikouri (pictured), Krakhuna and Otskhanuri Sapere.  The Otskhanuri Sapere grapes are special for him. He believes that the Otskhanuri Sapere variety is unique and relatively unknown but produces a wonderful wine.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Georgian wine might be presented at the Vilnius summit

04.11.2013 (Hvino News). Georgian wine might be presented at the Vilnius Summit. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Georgian side is carrying out negotiations about this topic with the organizers of the Vilnius Summit.

"This topic is being discussed. We are working on it. We are negotiating with organizers of the summit to present Georgian wine at the summit", - the representative of Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. According to the Ministry, all organizational issues about how Georgia will be represented at the summit, will become known to the public.

The third Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius will be held on the 28-29 November, 2013. Highest representatives of the EU institutions, 28 EU member states and the six Eastern European partners are expected to take part in the event. Eastern Partnership Summits are held every two years.

© Hvino News   |  DRINK GEORGIAN!

Ramaz Nikoladze’s wine cellar

by Kathy Sullivan

04.11.2013. Ramaz Nikoladze’s Wine Cellar, a small family winery, is located in Western Georgia near the city of Kutaisi. When planning to visit Ramaz Nikoladze’s Wine Cellar be sure to call for an appointment and directions.

We visited the winery and vineyard of owner and winemaker Ramaz Nikoladze in his vineyard where he and his crew were busily harvesting grapes before an expected rainfall. Ramaz’s crew included an American ex-pat living in Georgia who talked about his interest into starting a winery in Georgia.


Currently Ramaz has 0.7 acres of grapes that include Tsitska and Tsolikouri. These vines are between 27 and over 100 years old.

The Nakhshirghele, Imereti area of western Georgia near Kutaisi has high humidity. As a result vineyard growers in this region use copper sulfite to control the mildew.


While harvesting the grapes, the crew was carefully hand sorting the clusters. The workers placed the grapes into small buckets. When the grape buckets were full, the grapes were carefully dumped into large plastic bags ready to be transported to the winery.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Unusual wines from the old and new worlds (The Guardian)

by David Williams

03.11.2013. Three of the best: tempt your taste buds with trio of unusual wines.

Tbilvino Qvevris, Kakheti, Georgia 2011 (£8.99, Marks and Spencer): Another bold piece of buying from the adventurous wine department at dear old Marks & Sparks, this is quite unlike anything else on their (or any other supermarket's) shelves. It's not just the fact that it comes from Georgia – a country with a long (arguably the world's longest) winemaking history and a high hipster approval rating in the sommelier community, but which rarely features on the high street. It's the way it makes use of qvevri, the traditional, buried, amphora-style clay vessels, to ferment some of the native rkatsiteli, bringing honeyed spice and herbs and a slightly chewy texture to this dry white. It's an excellent introduction to the style, although for the full, intense experience, you should check out the selection of 100%-qvevri wines from the likes of Iago Bitarishvali and Pheasant's Tears at Les Caves de Pyrene.

Source (excerpt)

Friday, November 1, 2013

8 more Georgian wine producers get registration for export to Russia

01.11.2013 (Hvino News) Russia granted permission to eight more Georgian companies for registration of alcoholic beverages for export to Russia.

State agency Rospotrebnadzor decided to admit to the state registration the following 8 companies: Aragvi, Bolero & Co, GVMT Group, Black-Sea-Wine, Kvlivo, Papris Mindvrebi, Akido, and Georgian Wines from Mukhrani Cellar, according to official website.

103 companies that produce alcoholic beverages, one company that produces beer, and seven companies that produce mineral water in Georgia are currently permitted to supply their productions to the Russian market, Rospotrebnadzor reported on October 30.

Russian experts checked about 39 Georgian enterprises that produce alcoholic and mineral beverages during their visit to Georgia in September 2013.

According to the Rospotrebnadzor, Georgian producers have brought over 6 million liters of alcoholic beverages to the territory of Russia since June. It is expected that another 2-3 million liters will be delivered by end of 2013.

© Hvino News   |  DRINK GEORGIAN!

Georgia is famed for its traditional home cooking, but watch your weight

by Mischa Moselle

01.11.2013. The Quiet Woman pub, in Georgia's Black Sea resort of Batumi, was celebrating its recent reopening. A strong smell of fresh paint was cloaked by thick cigarette smoke. From behind the bar, a teenage girl in a tartan miniskirt yelled "free beer" over the din of a cover band warbling Angels by Robbie Williams into a scratchy microphone.
Tables of chain-smoking men swayed with their pints in hand, as a Spanish football match played on big screens overhead. If there was a place to try authentic Georgian food, this pub, with its menu of burgers and chips, probably wasn't it. I left the inappropriately named pub behind, and headed out onto the deserted Piazza, Batumi's newly built town square. Its 10-storey clock tower, which doubles as a boutique hotel, was lit up and shone centre stage, but all the tables and chairs of the cafes had been moved inside until a fierce storm blew over.
In many households home-made wine is drunk with abandon 
Opposite the pub, freshly painted in wave-crest white, was a modern Georgian restaurant called Mimino, offering a beacon of light. Inside, cheery waitresses, this time in turquoise airline-style uniforms, stood ready to serve traditional food.
The port city of Batumi is the capital of Ajara, an autonomous corner of southwestern Georgia, which proudly has its own culinary heritage. At first glance, the menu did not appear easy on the hips. I pointed and ordered a selection, not knowing what to expect, except inevitable weight gain.
Vegetarian patties
First up was a steaming hot plate of Ajarian khachapuri, perfect wet-weather food. A cross between a canoe-shaped pizza and naan bread, it arrived awash with cheese and on the top wobbled an almost raw egg, swimming in a pool of butter.
Finger-thin sulguni rolls filled with cottage cheese and mint arrived on plain white plates and were moist and light, like fresh spring rolls. Still at the appetiser stage, the airline waitresses next delivered small plates of pkhali, vegetarian meatball-shaped patties, which were made of spinach, beetroot and leek. This was accompanied by plump tomatoes, balsamic glaze and lashings of dill.
Main courses were meat-centric, with signature dishes of veal chakapuli (braised chops, although usually lamb), pork odjakhuri (pork with potatoes and tomatoes, baked in a clay pot) and fried lambs' brains. I opted for filleted trout, which was flaky and filled with finely chopped walnuts and herbs.
Lakes, rivers, mountain valleys and fertile land provide a year-round bounty for Georgia and the fruits of this natural abundance can be seen daily at every meal time. During Soviet times, Georgia (the republic declared independence in 1991, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union) was famed for its home cooking and it remains the most foodie destination in the region.