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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Georgia reaches Top-3 largest wine importers in Russia, outrunning Spain

23.04.2014 (Hvino News). According to Russia's Customs Service, in the first quarter of 2014 Georgia became third largest wine importer in Russia, outrunning Spain.

Georgian wines took 14.1 percent of the total imported wine market behind France and Italy with 19.3 and 14.8 percent, respectively, in the first quarter of this year. Spanish wine claimed 13.5 percent of the market. See infographic.

This is actually larger than Georgia's share prior to the embargo: in 2005, Georgia held 9 percent of the total import market, which then amounted to 36.4 million liters, or 52 million bottles a year.

Interestingly, Georgian and Abkhazian imports together account for 18,8%, which almost brings the total import figure to the first place. While Russia's Customs service sees Georgia and Abkhazia as two separate countries, Georgia considers the breakaway Abkhazia as part of its sovereign territory.

Russia's Federal Consumer Protection Service banned imports of Georgian wine in 2006, complaining they did not satisfy Russian quality standards. Critics said at the time that the decision was a response to rising political tensions between the former allies.

About 7.4 million liters, or nearly 10 million bottles, of Georgian wine were imported to Russia between January and March this year. This was 71 percent of Georgia's total wine exports, according to Georgia's National Wine Agency.

When the embargo was lifted last year, experts were skeptical as to Georgian wine's prospects on the market, as cheaper wines from such countries as Spain, Portugal and Latin America had filled the gap.

But Russian consumers evidently had not forgotten their former favorites, and Georgia immediately sprinted into the top 10 of wine importers, winning 5.5 percent of the total imported wine market in 2013.

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