Saturday, June 7, 2014

China as alternative to Russian and Ukrainian markets for Georgian wine

07.06.2014 (Hvino News). Director of the National Wine Agency Levan Davitashvili gave an interview to Georgian television, which is summarized below.

Russia is the leader of the top five exporting countries, but the market is considered risky due to political factors. Russia naturally is geographic and historical market for Georgian wine, so its leadership is not surprising. The increased exports percentage is reflected in a number of factors. Last year, the figure was approximately 50% in Russia, and this rank is closer to our plan.

However, an increased rate was due to a number of delays in the Ukrainian market because of political factors. You know that the Ukraine is the main alternative and the second export market for Georgian wine. The problems in this country led to an increase in the share of Russia. There were also technical problems on the Belorussian market. Georgian government solved this issue, we visited Belarus along with the representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, resolved all problems  and now the country’s  doors are open for Georgian  wine. This figure is over the past five months and it will be adjusted. Belarus and Ukraine have always been in the top five. However, they have lost their position. If we do not develop the markets in the other direction , on alternative markets, we will be dependent on a single market. One or two markets do not mean diversification.

Are other alternative large markets considered, such as China's market?

We consider China as the main alternative to Russian and Ukrainian markets. It will be a very large insurance for Georgian wine. China has great potential, not only because it is the most populated country but in the coming years it will become the world's number one economy, as predicted. In terms of wine, it is becoming a leader. 3 billion bottles of wine are consumed in China and 1% of the total consumption will be an important result for the Georgian wine that is actually achievable.

It will be a good result if we hold 1% of the market in 3-4 years but it will be possible only in the case of effective marketing and approach as well as correct trade policy. However, in the long run we should stably hold  2% of the Chinese market within 5-10 years. More growth is unrealistic because China is already among the top five wine producing countries. Nevertheless, there is some potential for imported wine, Georgia  has a lot of marketing pluses, which is why we can achieve the results we planned. I've been in China, where I held high-level meetings at the Ministry of Trade.

What are the signals coming from the Chinese  side?

The mood of goodwill and cooperation is felt. Our more activity is required. A number of issues, including tariff policy, should be resolved. China has a high cost. Georgian wine is taxed by 50% in the Chinese market. We need to create awareness. Awareness is the main factor for  success,  marketing plan is very important to create awareness.

Is there any danger of presence  of genetically modified organisms in Georgian wine?

This is a difficult scientific question, because it is not easy to discover GMO. There are several ways of getting genetically modified organisms into wine. However, such facts don’t happen in Georgia. There is no theoretical chance to discover GMO in wine.

Three locations were considered for a Museum of Wine initiated by Premier. Has the place been chosen? Also tell us about the seventh International Wines and Spirits Exhibition.

It is important to have a museum of wine; we have most of the archaeological material that needs exposure. In the near future we’ll chose a place and working on the project will start soon.

Wine festival is  held for the seventh time. It is important to prove that we really are a wine-producing country. We should have our place on the map. Each such country has a professional exhibition once a year anyway.

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