Levan Davitashvili, the Chairman of the National Wine Agency, claims that the government has scrupulously fulfilled their social responsibility and that there had been nothing to impede a satisfactory vintage. The 2014 edition of this centuries-old tradition has been, it would appear, well-organized and successful.
Customarily, the vintage begins in the region of Dedoflistskaro, while a more recent innovation is a “hotline” based in Gurjaani (Kakheti, east Georgia) through which the wine harvest is coordinated and regulated. The number of produced grapes was calculated by a computer program with a united online database. As was the case last year, the Government decided again to subsidize white and red grapes, to support viticulture and wine-making. The subsidies are set at 35 tetri for 1kg of “Rqatsiteli” and 15 tetri for 1kg of “Saperavi”.
Significantly, those involved in the 2014 Vintage reported a great improvement in quality control. This was especially important with regards to the export of Chacha from facilities, a move which combats against the falsification of wine. In addition, in the region of Racha, to be sure that only high quality grapes were imported, the Government has started to control all the routes used to import the grapes long before the vintage begins. This has notably improved the raw materials base for “Khvanchkara”, perhaps the most famous of Racha wines for which there is always great popular demand.
The National Wine Agency mentioned that, in Georgia, the Government was no longer abrasively interfering in the vintage process, as had previously been the case. During such times, the Government was determining the price of grape unilaterally and becoming a competitor in the private sector. Furthermore, winegrowers blamed such interference for failing to protect their grapes from hail and drought. To properly address the problem of dealing with adverse weather conditions, the Government has introduced an agricultural insurance program to protect the winegrowers. In the near future, there are plans to examine the reliability of the anti-hail system, produced by a company in Kakheti region.
According to preliminary calculations, the estimated amount of grapes yielded in the 2014 Vintage is about 126,000 tons (96,000 tons of “Rqatsiteli” and 30,000 tons of “Saperavi”). It is looking like a very productive year. Indeed, after finishing the vintage in Kakheti in 2013 the profit for the society was 100 million Lari with 17,000 people receiving income directly and in 2014, by the middle of September, the the same figure had already reached 77 million Lari.
In Kakheti region a total of 35 wineries delivering the different varieties of grape and 65 companies received and processed these grapes. Full information about the vintage statistics, according to the geography and the grape varieties, are available on the website of the National Wine Agency: http://georgianwine.gov.ge/statistic/.
Several professional experts of wine-making claim, that the success of this year’s vintage was down to the well-planned and well-realized programs of the Ministry Of Agriculture and The National Wine Agency in 2013-2014. During the vintage, in one of these programs in Kakheti, masters of wine and representatives of the media from China, USA and the UK examined Georgian wineries and learned about the local technologies used for wine-making. This was all part of an approach aimed at popularizing Georgian wine beyond its borders.
According to information provided by the National Wine Agency, Georgian wine has made a significant return to the Russian market, historically a large importer before the recently lifted embargo.