Monday, June 2, 2014

Dariali natural disaster caused problems for Georgian wine export

02.06.2014. “Export of alcohol into Russia can only be conducted through the Lars checkpoint.” The natural disaster in Dariali Gorge has completely disrupted our country’s peaceful rhythm. As a result of a landslide, a huge mass of land has obstructed "Georgian Military Road", blocking it along with the Tergi river bed. This brought serious financial damage to the country, the blocked road being the main means of transit with Russia and thus of great importance to Georgian businessmen. We decided to inquire whether wine companies that deal with Russia suffered heavy damage as a result of temporary inability to transport their goods via the main road.

Zurab Chkhaidze, head of Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking company:  “First I want to express my condolences to those who suffered from the natural disaster, regardless of the country they belonged to. Fortunately, our own vehicle managed to outrun the disaster by a hair’s breadth. Our production is subject to excise tax, so its documentation carries a note that it must cross the border between Georgia and Russia at Lars. So we can’t change anything now and are simply standing by, waiting for our product to be transported across the border. As for the damage, there’s currently a 24-hour work shift in progress at the road, and we will continue our activity the moment the road is open again. We have enough of our product in Russia to last us two weeks, so the damage has been superficial so far. If such a hazard appears and the road will not become available for transit, we will have to use alternative ways; Russia will have to acknowledge transportation of cargo via Azerbaijan or Ukraine, for example, enabling transfer through our neighboring countries.”

Zaza Dugladze, head of Dugladze Wine Company:  “Fortunately, we also managed to avoid the disaster, with our vehicle passing through the area roughly 15 minutes prior to the landslide. Part of the cargo stayed in Georgia, another part managed to cross into Russia. We sent 60,000 bottles this time. We were assured that the road will be clear again on Sunday or Monday, but if this isn’t the case, there will be problems. Of course, these days will damage the company financially, since our product is represented by a very wide assortment in Russia. We’ll try to endure it, nevertheless. I, for example, plan to send our product by plane this week, which will cost more, of course, but we don’t want our supply of local trading networks to be interrupted. The Georgian Military Road is important not only for us, but also for neighboring Azerbaijan and Armenia, since for them it is the only way for shipping goods to Russia.”

Giorgi Teimurazishvili, sales manager of Georgian Wine and Spirits company (GWS): “Naturally, our company did not go untouched by the disaster. But both us and our drivers go lucky: out of seven trucks we sent, five have already crossed the Russian border and two were approaching the area as the disaster struck, forcing them to remain in Georgia. Their drivers are waiting for the road to clear and Larsi checkpoint to start functioning again. We have a supply of our product in Russia to last us for some time and such a brief interruption should not have any noticeable impact on our business, but if restoration of the road takes longer than expected, there is going to be financial damage. Besides, after reopening of Russian market for us the amount of production transit grew and our business quickly developed; if the road is not repaired on time, our sales will be negatively influenced.”


    Georgian Wine Catalogue      
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