Thursday, August 28, 2014

BBC News: Georgian winemakers ready to toast end of EU tariffs

Malkaz Jakeli plans to increase exports to EU
by Paul Brian

28.08.2014. Legend has it that 8,000 years ago wine was first invented in the small country of Georgia. Today, wine remains an important part of both the Georgian economy, and the Caucasus nation's sense of identity, with thousands of winemakers together typically producing more than 100 million bottles per year.

Back on 27 June, many corks were popped for a celebratory drink when crowds of people took to the streets of the capital Tbilisi to celebrate Georgia signing a free trade agreement with the European Union.

The deal means that from 1 September, Georgian produce and products which meet EU standards will no longer be liable for tariffs when imported by EU member states.

For Georgia's winemakers, predominantly family-run businesses, their wines should become more widely available in Europe - and at slightly reduced prices.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wine tourism prospects in Georgia

26.08.2014. The Economic Prosperity Initiative (EPI) organized a Coffee and Conversation session on wine tourism for media professionals from various TV and Radio stations, newspapers and news agencies on August 20.

The representatives from the Wine Association, Sommelier Association, Incoming Tour Operators' Association and wine producing companies spoke about Georgian wine tourism sector opportunities..

Head of the Marketing Department at the National Wine Agency of Georgia, Irakli Cholobargia, said that the development of wine tourism in the country will promote a lot of small local businesses.

“For example, I know that some small home-type hotels decided to make their own wine in order to attract more people,” stated Cholobargia.

EPI's initiatives in the wine tourism sector (promotional video, wine tourism portal and guide) were promoted among Georgian media representatives. The video has already been uploaded on the internet and serves as a commercial for wine tourism.

Georgia hosts annual wine trading conference

26.08.2014. Wine traders from around the globe descended on Georgia to attend the yearly conference of World Wine Trade Group (WWTG).

Georigan Minister of Agriculture Otar Danelia opened a plenary meeting of the WWTG at the Radisson Blu hotel today. The session was chaired by Deputy Minister of Agriculture Nodar kereselidze.

The two-day event is being held in Tbilisi and will see experts in the wine industry discuss global issues related to wine trading.

On August 27, conference participants will travel to Kakheti and explore the various wineries in the region.

"Today’s meeting is a very important event – Georgia is hosting the yearly meeting of the WWTG. Members of the group are leading countries in wine trading – USA, Canada and China to which Georgia has the will of expending its export market,” Agricultural Minister Danelia noted.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Orange wines a matter of taste

22.08.2014. One of us leads a neighborhood group in a monthly wine tasting and it's always fun to find new and different wines to try on a cozy group of eager oenophiles. Here, he can watch what wines have broad appeal and which get the silent treatment. At the end of the night, the preference is evident in how much is left in the bottles.

The last adventure included more challenging wines than normal -- a fizzy white vinho verde from Portugal that was admittedly shallow and an orange wine from the Republic of Georgia. We were most curious to see the crowd reaction to the Georgian Vinoterra made with rkasateli grapes.

It wasn't good. Tom ended up taking a second bottle home.

Orange wine -- named for its color -- is a result of maceration, or skin contact, that is more common to red wine. Usually, winemakers remove the skins after the crush to keep the color pure. The gold color usually comes from barrel contact and aging.

In the Republic of Georgia, however, it is all about tradition. These orange wines have been made in qvervis — ancient clay vessels — buried in the sand for 5,000 years. To the winemakers, extended maceration of white grapes is not just a novelty.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Georgian wine export statistics for 6 months

21.08.2014 (Hvino News). We have prepared the summary of Georgian wine export statistical data for 6 months in a graphic form.
Georgian Wine Export Statistics For 6 Months Period, 
February – July 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Grape harvest season 2014 kicks off

Photo agenda.ge
20.08.2014. As summer draws to an end the country’s grape harvest season is just beginning with experts estimating 126,000 tonnes of grapes this year will be picked.

Despite the current hot, sunny skies, weather problems earlier in the year negatively affected crops so this year’s yield is expected to be 15 percent less than 2013.

A coordination centre for grape vintage under the supervision of the government, Rtveli 2014 said up to 110,000 tonnes of grapes would be purchased by wine producing companies this season.

The remaining 16,000 tonnes will be produced by local farmers. Since the harvest is about to kick off the Ministry of Agriculture believed farmers will not have problems selling their produce this year.

One of the reasons the country purchased more grapes this year was because of expansion into new markets including Russia. But wine producing companies said they had reached success in other markets too, like China.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Georgia will host next festival of house wines

19.08.2014. It is well known that Georgia is the cradle of viticulture and winemaking. Real Georgian wine long has been valued in the world.  High quality and excellent taste of Georgian wine was created by generations of Georgian farmers and winemakers. Today, connoisseurs and lovers of Georgian wine know not only popular brands, but also traditional family brands, which for decades are symbols of a rare quality of so-called home-made wines.

Not by chance, Racha-Lechkhumi Festival will be held on August, 24 in the city of Ambrolauri, informed the organizers of the festival under motto "Combining traditional winemaking Georgia".

Local winemakers present wines made by traditional method, in own wine cellars (marani).

"The guests of the festival will have an opportunity to try and taste the great wines of Racha Lechkhumi. During the festival will be organized tasting of unique local cheese and honey, and will be held a concert, which will featured by folk ensembles and the "Canudos" group - promise the organizers.

Monday, August 18, 2014

How to preserve historic marani cellars

by Aleko Tskitishvili

18.08.2014. Wine tourism in Georgia would flourish if the government’s one of the top priorities is to restore and administer those historic and architectural monuments, where traditional Georgian maranis are preserved. At the same time, additional research has to be done in order to designate hundreds of national buildings as historic-cultural monuments. Unfortunately, these valuable historic resources are ignored nowadays and many unique buildings are being destroyed right before our eyes.

It’s worth noting that according to the order issued in 2012 by the Minister of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, qvevri (the unique and ancient winemaking clay vessel in which wine had been fermented and stored in villages and towns throughout Georgia for ages) was designated as a significant intangible cultural heritage. The same status was granted to qvevri according to No 91 order of February 8, 2012 issued by the President, not to mention last year’s historic decision made by UNESCO. Still, no further steps have been taken by the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection since this legislative breakthrough. Indeed, the ancient qvevris carrying the status of a significant intangible cultural heritage, are preserved in those historic cellars most of which are very damaged and are going to be demolished in several years due to the neglect and improper care.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The ancient art of terracotta-fermented wines gets new life in Oregon: Wine Notes

by Katherine Cole

For most of us, the sight of a wine cellar laden with wooden barrels is a charming reminder that some traditions are timeless. But for devotees of "natural wine" (the oenophile's version of the Slow Food movement), bent-oak barrel staves represent a relatively recent blip on the winemaking timeline.

The what's-old-is-new-again fad in food and beverage has, in winemaking, delved deep into antiquity in recent years, as winemakers all over the world have begun experimenting with clay vessels, very like the amphorae used by the ancient Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans.

Until now, American winemakers looking to dabble in clay had to rely on imports from Italy or the European nation of Georgia, where winemaking and oversized pottery production have never fallen out of style.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Georgian wine evening in Berlin

Photo: vinoge.com
10.08.2014. On August 7, an evening of Georgian wine was held in Berlin, at the Museum of European Cultures and hosted by Malkhaz Kharbedia, the President of the Wine Club. The event was part of the Georgian Culture Days festival that started on July 31 and will last till August 30. The Georgian Culture Days have been organized by the Georgian Embassy in Germany and supported by Georgian National Wine Agency.

In the beginning of the evening, Malkhaz Kharbedia gave a brief presentation about Georgian wine that summed up the history of viniculture and explored Georgia’s Protected Designations of Origin in the end. The presenter touched upon the earliest traces of winemaking and viticulture found on the territory of Georgia, which had led the country to acquire the title of “The Cradle of Wine.” He also talked about the wine producing regions of Georgia, the current state of Georgian viniculture and more importantly, about the traditional method of qvevri winemaking, the topic, which Malkhaz Kharbedia discussed closely during his speech.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Berlin Museum of European Cultures hosts Georgian Culture Days

by Nino Sharashidze

15.08.2014. The European Heritage Days in 2014 is dedicated to the love of life. To mark this occasion, the Museum of European Cultures in Berlin devotes its space to Georgian culture. From July 31 until October 5 the museum is presenting an exhibition “Wine – Culture” and degustation of Georgian wine and cuisine.

The Museum organizes similar events since 2000, and it has already hosted days of Polish, Venetian, Tatar, Estonian, Croatian, Romanian, Sardinian and Slovak cultures. 

Along with the Georgian Ministry of Culture, the event is also supported by Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation; Embassy of Georgia in Berlin; The National Museum of Georgia in Tbilisi; The Museum of European Cultures in Berlin; Supreme Council of Adjara; The National Film Center; and National Wine Agency. 

The presentation of Georgian wine culture shows up that eating and drinking are not only a necessity but often a cause for celebration. And the dining culture is an important component of social life. The exhibition displays photographs by one of Georgia’s famous photographers. Dimitry Ermakov (1846 -1916), illustrating the wine-making process in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Georgian Duty Free: Wine is a big success

11.08.2014 (Hvino News). Turkish operator ATU Duty Free has upgraded its duty free shops at Georgia’s Tbilisi and Batumi international airports. ATU’s decision to upgrade its airport duty free offer in Georgia comes at a time when international business and leisure passenger numbers are growing at airports across the country.

ATU Duty Free opened its Wines of Georgia store in Tbilisi Airport in 2011. The shop offers a wide selection of famous Georgian wines, which passengers buy both for personal consumption as well as gifts for business associates. ATU entered Georgia’s airport duty free market in 2006 when the company won concessions to operate two shops in Tbilisi International Airport and one outlet in Batumi International Airport.

“Opening the wines of Georgia store has been very successful both in financial and sustainability terms to preserve and promote Georgian wine culture,” said ATU Duty Free Deputy General Manager, Pinar Sener-Harput. “It is enjoyed by passengers using Tbilisi Airport."

Friday, August 8, 2014

"Pay by Wine": Hvino's unique promotion offer for Georgian winemakers

08.08.2014 (Hvino News). Is it possible to use wine instead of money in a business-to-business transaction?

Hvino.com - Georgia's primary international wine business portal - says "Yes!"

With its PAY BY WINE Special Offer the Georgian winemakers can actually pay by their products for Hvino's promotion services, such as banner advertising.

This unique and innovative offer was conceived by Hvino's marketing team especially for the smaller companies and individual winemakers, to make it easier and more affordable for them to promote their products internationally. The offer is, however, open to wine producers or wine traders of any size. For the first time in world history, web promotion is offered for wine!

Inge Olsson, manager at from Hvino.com, explained: "It's that simple: you choose the type of banner you want (banners are here); we make a usual invoice, but you do not pay. Instead, you deliver your wine! Price of your wine is based on average shop's retail price, and the sum is equal to invoice".

Winemakers make big savings, because their winemaker's wholesale price is lower than retail price.The offer is very profitable for winemakers, as they actually receive up to 60% discount from Hvino's standard advertising rates.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Official: Georgia's wine export statistics for July 2014

07.08.2014 (Hvino News). According to the National Wine Agency of Georgia total of 31 376 279 (0,75L) bottles of wine were exported to 35 countries as of July, being 95% higher vs last year same period.

Five leading export destinations of Georgian wine are as follows: Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Poland and Belarus, where Russia holds 65% of total volume of exports.

Exports in value as of July 2014 amounted to US$ 102,186,500 which is 117% higher vs last year same period.

Besides, as of July 2014 in 12 countries 6 455 295 (0,5L) bottles brandy were exported. In value, the brandy exports amounted to US$ 22,973,604 as of July 2014, being 66% up as compared to the same period of previous year.

The Ukraine is leading Georgian brandy exports with 3 341 904 (0,5L) bottles as of July 2014, whereas Russia as second with 2 636 904 (0,5L) bottles the same period.

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Georgian wine exports surge with Russia major market

07.08.2014. Export of Georgian wine is on the rise with 65.3% of over 31.3 million 0.75-liter bottles exported in the first seven months of 2014 going to Russia, according to the National Wine Agency of Georgia (NWA).

31,376,279 bottles, exported in January-July 2014, represent 95% increase compared to the same period of last year.

Wine export value increased 117% year-on-year in the first seven months of this year to USD 102.18 million, according to NWA.

Ukraine, which was the largest market of exported Georgian wine before being replaced by Russia after the latter lifted embargo last year, is now second, followed by Kazakhstan, Poland, Belarus, China, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Azerbaijan.

Georgian winemakers say that Russia’s intention to suspend free trade agreement with Georgia will increase price of Georgian wine exported to Russia by about 20%, which will most likely cause decline in sales, but executives from wine producing companies say it is now difficult to predict a precise impact.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Another Georgian qvevri wine to be exported to Europe

06.08.2014 (Hvino News). A wine producing company participating in the government's “Preferential Agro Credit Project” starts to bottle qvevri wine. Shalauri Wine Cellar Ltd took a loan of USD 270,000 in the framework of the “Preferential Agro Credit Project”. The company is located in the village of Shalauri, Telavi district, Kakheti region.

Director of Shalauri Wine Cellar David Buadze says that the company will bottle qvevri wine  for export for the first time. He notes  that at this stage Italy, France, Slovenia and other European countries are in the export list. According to Mr. Buadze, the Chinese market is not considered at this stage, because it is unknown how China will take qvevri  wine. To do this, the market should be studied first. "In Europe Georgian wine enjoys far greater  success," - says Buadze.

In his words, this year the company was able to produce 15 000 bottles, next year this figure will amount to about  25 000 bottles.

The main objective of “Preferential Agro Credit Project” is to offer cheaper access to credit resources to peasants, farmers and entrepreneurs involved in the agriculture industry.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

An evening of Georgian wine to be held in Berlin on August 7

05.08.2014. The Georgian Culture Days, organized by the Georgian Embassy in Germany, are to be held in Berlin, at the Museum of European Cultures starting from July 31 till August 30 (read more here.)

As part of the festival, an evening will be devoted to Georgian wine on August 7 (18:00) and hosted by Malkhaz Kharbedia, the President of Wine Club. He will be talking about the history of Georgian wine, the traditional methods of qvevri winemaking, the current state of Georgian viniculture and other topics.

The presentation will be followed by a tasting event as the guests will sample and describe 10 Georgian wines of different styles. The movie by Merab Kokochashvili – “The cradle of wine,” will close the evening program.


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Georgian wine on show at Beijing expo

05.08.2014. Chinese wine enthusiasts had a chance to taste Georgian wine at one of China’s leading wine exhibitions.

More than a dozen Georgina wine companies showcased their local creations at the 2014 Beijing (Yanqing) International Wine Exposition, held in the capital of China from July 29 to 31.

Among the 16 wine companies on display were well-known Georgian wine makers Teliani Valley, Kindzmarauli Corporation, Winery Khareba, Shumi and Qimerioni.

The exhibition allowed participants the opportunity to meet potential business partners among China’s top wine importers. Exhibitors were also taken on a guided tour of some wine retail outlets and givent he chance to showcase their products at every outing.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Georgian, Russian envoys discuss free trade suspension

Photo: Agenda.ge
02.08.2014. Georgia’s special envoy Zurab Abashidze and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin held a phone conversation yesterday that discussed Russia’s suspension of its bilateral free trade agreement with Georgia.

Abashidze said the reason for Russia’s decision was because of the Customs Union – a union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia which gathered ex-Soviet states into a free trade zone to rival the European Union (EU).

"Georgia is not the member of the Customs Union. The issues are as following: For countries that are members of the organisation, Russia vindicates the free trade regulations. But for all other countries, Russia will trade under World Trade Organisation (WTO) regulations,” Abashidze told journalists after the phone conversation.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Georgia underwhelmed by Russian proposal to scrap free trade

01.08.2014. A top Georgian official on Thursday said Russia's possible cancellation of a decades-long free-trade agreement between the two countries came as no surprise and in the end "will not be a tragedy," (see also here).

"Naturally, when Georgia signed the association agreement with the European Union, we analyzed future trade relations with Russia and did not rule out the possibility that Russia could make a decision like this," said Zurab Abashidze, the Georgian prime minister's special representative in relations with Russia.

"[The decision] will create certain problems in our trade system, but I do not see any tragedy in this," Abashidze said. Georgia is no stranger to Russian trade restrictions: Just last year, Russia finally lifted a ban on imports of Georgian wine, fruit and mineral water that had been in place since 2006.

The Russian government published an unsigned resolution on its legal portal Wednesday that would abolish a 20-year-old free-trade regime between the two countries. The document cites a law stipulating that international agreements can be terminated "according to the conditions of the agreement itself and to international legal norms."

Russia: Demand for Georgian wine reduced

01.08.2014. Demand for Georgian wine reduced in the Russian market, wine companies explain this by the end of the sale boom and start of the stable sales.

Director of  Schuchmann Wines Georgia Nutsa  Abramishvili notes that there was a great demand and  good payment terms  in Russia, the exporters paid in advance  and reserved products.

"I do not know what will be in the case of Russia in 2015, however, today 40% of our exports go to this market, and in 2015 we plan to reduce its share to 20%, as a result of diversification of other markets. Diversification will occur  towards the American, Asian, European and CIS  states where we are already present - in about 15 countries - and we plan  to expand", - Abramishvili said.

Schuchmann Wines Georgia  began to export its products  to Russia in the fall of  last year,  in the first half of 2014 the company's total exports have  tripled compared with the same period of 2013.