Monday, August 31, 2015

Georgia’s wine in focus at Svaneti Museum

31.08.2015. Georgia’s younger generation are invited to spend the last few days of their summer holidays in mountainous Svaneti region learning about the country’s multicultural history and ancient wine culture.

The Svaneti Museum in Georgia’s north-west alpine town Mestia will host two educational programs Multicultural Georgia and Wine and Vines in Georgia from September 1-3 for Georgian youth.

The lectures will be held at the Museum’s newly-opened Educational Center. That space of the Museum aimed to promote Georgian culture, heritage, art and science to local and international visitors.

Georgia is known as one of the most notorious wine countries. This is significantly proven by the archaeological artifacts, ornamental works of art, documents reported by historians and travelers and ancient traditions and customs.

Using this vast amount of resources, the Wine and Vines in Georgia program is designed to introduce students to the rich Georgian traditions of wine. This lecture will focus on:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

"The Washington Post": Why should you get to know Georgian wines? Because they’re exciting

by Dave McIntyre

29.08.2015.  We tend to think of the classic vinifera wine grape varieties as European, meaning French, Italian and Spanish. But vinifera’s origin lies to the east, in the Caucasus region: where Europe and Asia intersect, where ancient trade routes crisscrossed the mountains between the Black Sea and Persia, and near where the Bible says Noah planted a vineyard after the ark settled on Mount Ararat. This is where the oldest archaeological evidence of wine production, vinifera seeds in clay vessels, was found. Both Georgia and Armenia claim to be wine’s homeland, as borders have been fluid between antiquity and now. But let’s tip our hats to Georgia as the origin of wine, if only because more of its wines are available now in the United States.

And Georgia’s wines are exciting. The country offers everything a modern wine geek could ask for: native vinifera grape varieties grown almost nowhere else; modern-style wines that capture those grapes’ fruity flavors; and wines fermented the way Georgians have done it for centuries, offering us a taste of the past. It doesn’t hurt that the old style has become trendy. Even better: The wines are not expensive.

“Georgia is a small country with a tiny production but an image and potential that far exceed its size,” said Lisa Granik, a master of wine, during a presentation of Georgian wines at Vinexpo, an international trade fair held in Bordeaux, France, in June.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Travel, old and new wine countries: Georgian wines in China

by Ellen Wallace

28.08.2015. Sometimes you learn about wine in unexpected places and ways. I was in Beijing in mid-June and found myself invited to a Georgian wine tasting at a coffee bar, High Altitude. To be honest, I knew nothing about Georgian wine except that the country has been making it since forever, and that it is famous for a traditional process, making wine in underground egg-shaped vessels, amphorae called qvevri.

I was invited by a young Chinese friend, WX, with whom I had been discussing Swiss wine. I wanted to see how a group of Chinese professionals in their 20s and 30s reacted to a wine tasting, given all the discussions I’ve had with wine producers about whether the Chinese market is really ready for wine – not the millionaires lining expensive cellars with big name Bordeaux, but your average young consumer.

China is the new kid on the block for wine, a drink that is not traditionally part of the culture. And yet, ironically, the oldest evidence of a “grape-based fermented drink” may have been found in northern China. Georgia has the most credible claim to have made wine longer than anywhere else in the world.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

3 Georgian wines by Shumi win gold awards at China's CWSA contest

27.08.2015 (Hvino News). Three Georgian wines have won prizes at China Wine & Spirits Awards (CWSA) 2015. All the winning wines are from one Georgian producer - Shumi Wine Company.

The China Wine & Spirits Awards,  based in Hong Kong, is one of the biggest and most prestigious wine and spirits competition in China.

The Georgian prize-winners are:
Last February Shumi company has already won 3 more medals at CWSA's 2015 "Best Value" Competition, together with several other Georgian producers. See more details here.

"Chinese consumers are thirsty for Georgian wine", - reads a recent news release by China Wine & Spirits Awards, which is covering the participation of Georgian wines in CWSA. "The Agricultural Ministry of Georgia has unveiled a special promotional centre and winemaking house at Beijing’s Nutrition and Alcohol Research Institute to celebrate the increasing Chinese interest in Georgian wine. ... According to ministry data, wine represents 93% of Georgia’s agricultural exports, with around one million litres going to China in recent years. Between January and April of 2015 alone, Georgian wine exports to China skyrocketed by 87%"

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Georgia to present United Nations with a qvevri

26.08.2015 (Hvino News). The Georgia's Foreign Ministry is planning to present a qvevri (traditional clay pot used for storing and fermenting wine in Georgia) to the UN Offices in Geneva. The gift will be on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.

In 2013, Georgia’s unique traditional method of qvevri wine-making was added to Intangible Cultural Heritage list of UNESCO - the United Nations' educational, scientific and cultural organisation (read more here). To express its recognition for inclusion in the protected heritage list, Georgia will send a qvevri to the  UN Offices in Geneva, as an official gift.

As the Foreign Ministry has declared in its statement published today, the clay pot with a plaque with information will be installed in the inner yard of the UN Geneva office. Later, the parties will agree on a date when special ceremony dedicated to the event will be held.

United Nations will turn 70 on 24 October 2015.A range of activities and events are being organized throughout the year to mark UN anniversary.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Georgia increases agricultural exports to EU and US

25.08.2015. The amount of Georgian agricultural products exported to the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) is increasing, says the country’s Ministry of Agriculture.

Georgia’s leading exports - wine and spirits, hazelnuts and mineral waters – are being enjoyed by more people in the EU and the US – two of the world’s largest consumer markets – adding value back into Georgia’s economy.

The country’s Ministry of Agriculture published data stating exports of Georgian agricultural products to the US increased by 21 percent in January-July 2015 compared to the same period of 2014. Similarly, this year’s figures were 43 percent higher than the same period of 2013 and 96 percent higher than in 2012.

The most popular exported products to the US were fruit and vegetable juices, mineral waters, natural grape wines and spirits.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Twenty-year old Saperavi vines in the Finger Lakes (USA)

by Terry Sullivan

24.08.2015. Our search for Georgian winemaking techniques and Georgian grape varieties continued during and after the Wine Bloggers Conference in Corning, New York. During the conference, there was a speed tasting of red and rosé wines from the Finger Lakes. One of the wineries pouring wines poured a Saperavi. Standing Stone Vineyards poured their 2013 Saperavi and it was well received at our table. The speed tasting consisted of a winemaker or winery staff pouring and talking about a wine. The bloggers were paying attention, tasting the wine and tweeting about it in five minutes. Then the producer went to the next table. We tasted, learned about and tweeted about ten wines in 50 minutes.

Kathy and I spent a few days visiting wineries along Seneca, Keuka and Cayuga Lakes after the conference. One of our winery stops was Standing Stone Vineyards along the east side of Seneca Lake where we trekked to the rows of twenty-year old Saperavi. Standing Stone Vineyards has left its mark on this Georgian grape planted in the United States. Prior to 2014, the name “Saperavi” could not be placed on a bottle label as the name of a wine made from that grape. The TTB did not recognize the name. In December 2013, Standing Stone Vineyards filed a petition and the name was approved by the government in January 2014. Now winemakers that make wine with Saperavi grapes may call it Saperavi. Prior to 2014, the wine would have a  proprietary name. For example McGregor Vineyard along Keuka Lake uses Saperavi in a blend it calls “Black Russian Red.”

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hailstorm destroys vineyards in parts of Kakheti region

22.08.2015 (Hvino News). Heavy rain and hailstorm on 20th of August has damaged farmlands and houses in some parts of eastern region of Kakheti. According to preliminary data of the Ministry of Agriculture, the hail destroyed about two thousand hectares of vineyards, most of which, however, were insured.

Basements of houses in some of the villages of Lagodekhi municipality were flooded and a landslide in Akhameta municipality damaged a road, according to the Interior Ministry’s emergency service, which had to send units from Tbilisi to help with response.

According to preliminary estimation the hailstorm damaged about 1,500-2,000 hectares of vineyard, said agriculture Minister Otar Danelia, who is visiting Kakheti region. Precise number of affected households and farmlands has yet to be determined.

Friday, August 21, 2015

National Wine Agency does not expect a delay of export of Georgian wine to Kazakhstan

21.08.2015. (Hvino News). The National Wine Agency does not expect a possible delay of export of Georgian wine to Kazakhstan.

The statement was made after a few wine companies have alleged that the depreciation of the national currency and the economic crisis in Kazakhstan could reduce exports.

The Kazakh currency lost more than a quarter of its value against the dollar on Thursday, after the central bank of Kazakhstan let the tenge float freely in an attempt to boost competitiveness of its export-focused economy. The tenge quickly slid to 255.26 against the U.S. dollar from about 188 overnight, according to the Kazakh Stock Exchange.

Kazakhstan is second largest import market of Georgian wine, which has grown by 3% this year. According to latest statistical data, the top five Georgian wine importers are: Russia – 8.477,635 bottles; Kazakhstan – 2.533,596; Ukraine – 1.510,404; China – 984,221 and Poland – 921,828.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Saperavi finds a home in central Pennsylvania

19.08.2015. Fero Vineyards and Winery in Lewisburg specialize in European grape varieties. One that has found a home is Saperavi, the most common black grape from the country Georgia. Chuck and Daneen Zaleski, owners, sourced Saperavi vines from the descendants of Dr. Konstantin Frank. Years prior to coming to the United States, Dr. Frank was a vineyard manager in Georgia. He settled down along Keuka Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes wine region.  Several wineries in Eastern United States have acquired grapevines of Saperavi and the white grape Rkatsiteli from Dr. Franks vineyard.

While visiting Fero Vineyards and Winery, we ambled with the vineyard staff to the top of a hill where the nine rows of Saperavi form a vanguard of the 12.5 acre vineyard that includes several other European varietal grapes. The Saperavi grapes began véraison  two weeks ago. Tasting a riper looking berry, we noticed the seeds were still green as would be expected. The grape was flavorful and starting to develop the sugar content. The vines looked healthy and we were told that even though the winters are cold in Lewisburg, the Saperavi vines have thrived.

Back at the tasting room, adjacent to the vineyards, we tasted the only Saperavi vintage to date. The 2013 Saperavi was a translucent dark ruby color with a pink hue. We learned that many wine tasters comment about the darkness of color of the wine. The aroma had dark fruit notes. The taste reminded me of blackberries, black cherry and leather. This wine offered bold tannins and a long fruity aftertaste.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wine company Teliani Valley to enter beer production

18.08.2015. Georgian wine company Teliani Valley plans to build a beer factory. The company aims to raise the required finances using its charter capital.

Specifically, the company is planning to issue extra stocks worth 160 million, the total value of which will constitute 1,6 million GEL. The shareholders of the company will be given priority in obtaining the stocks once they are released.

According to Georgian resource BFM.ge, the Liberty Consumer - brainchild of Bank of Georgia which owns 50,23% of Teliani Valley’s control package - already placed a hold on some of the beer company’s initial stocks. The finance company plans to grow its charter capital by 2 million GEL for this purpose.

Teliani Valley was founded in 1997. The company is one of the largest wine companies in Georgia. The company’s turnover constituted 30,8 million GEL last year; its net profit was 1,8 million GEL, which 40% lower compared to the company’s previous year’s performance.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

"The Food Dictator" on the Georgian supra

17.08.2015. In the amazing country of Georgia, a supra (Georgian: სუფრა) is a traditional Georgian feast and an important part of Georgian social culture. Georgian wine (some of the finest in the world!) flows freely and several to several dozens of courses of food come out throughout the night, followed by dancing. A supra can go until 2 or 3 in the morning!

There are two types of supra: a festive supra (ლხინის სუფრა), called a keipi, and a sombre supra (ჭირის სუფრა), called a kelekhi, that is always held after burials.

In Georgian, “supra” means “tablecloth”. It’s likely related to the Arabic sofra (سفرة) and Turkish sofra, which are both words for traditional eating surfaces. Large public meals are never held in Georgia without a supra; when there are no tables, the supra is laid on the ground.

At a supra, toasting is a high art and I believe Georgians have elevated it more than any other culture in the world! What follows is how that toasting process, contest and history are all showcased during a supra.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

43 ancient qvevries discovered in Khikhani Fortress, Western Georgia

16.08.2015 (Hvino News). 43 ancient qvevries (clay pots used for wine fermentation and storing) have been discovered by archaeologists at Khikhani Fortress, Adjara, Western Georgia. To unearth the findings, the archaeological team has been working for a whole week at 2,635 meters above sea level.

According to Davit Mindorashvili, chef of expedition, the newly-discovered wine cellar dates back to the 11-13th centuries.

“We have been working here for 2 years now; we explored very significant buildings. Last year we discovered a cellar that contained 28 clay pots. Now we have discovered another, with 43. Supposedly, this is not a classic cellar and it was most likely constructed differently than those we’ve seen before,”- Mindorashvili was quoted by IPN.

He added that qvevries would be preserved and reconstruction work at the fortress will continue under the guidance of the Adjara Historical Heritage Protection Agency. Head of the Agency Miranda Charkviani said the Khikani Fortress had medieval architecture and was a monument of international importance. "We intend to conserve the site. Only certain parts of the monument will be rehabilitated to international standards,” she said. Charkviani said that pitchers, small shells were also found at the fortress.

Khikhani Fortress in Khulo district of Ajara was built in the 13th century. The fortress has two main towers, the walls are 7-8 m high. Inaccessible from three sides, the fortress occupied a strategic position and retained its military function for 700 years, up to beginning of XX century.

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Russia expands sanctions list, but Georgia not included

16.08.2015. Russia has expanded the list of countries subject to trade embargo, but Georgia is not on the list. The move comes as a response to new sanctions by Western countries against Russia and includes Albania, Montenegro, Iceland and Lichtenstein.

Ukraine will also be subject to Russian sanctions from 2016, if the country implements the economic part of its association agreement with the EU.

Countries on the list are among those who supported prolonging sanctions against Russia. Georgia also supported extending the sanctions, but is not on the list.

A statement on the website of the Government of Russia says that at the moment Russia and Georgia do not have ‘active relations’ and a high trade turnover.

“Unlike other countries, the measures adopted by the Georgian leadership towards Russia, are insignificant,” the statement reads, adding that this is why a decision hasn’t been made to include Georgia on the list of countries subject to embargo.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Is Russia making Georgian wine embargo-proof?

14.08.2015. If Russia imposes an embargo on the import of Georgian wine, how will it affect the development of the Georgian economy?

Russia is threatening the Georgian wine industry with a new embargo, but many experts think that unlike in 2006, closure of the Russian market won’t change much not only for wine production, but also for the Georgian economy at large.

“A Georgian eyeing the Russian market simply cannot avoid the Soviet culture still permeating it. This creates hindrances for the Georgian economy.”- Demur Giorkhelidze, economic expert.

At the moment, the economy of Georgia is in shock. The scale of our wine export to Russia is relatively small so its cessation will only harm several particular producers. It isn’t of vital importance for the economy. However, in case of a repeated embargo, Georgian wine producers will have to return to high standards.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

CNN mentions Georgia as birthplace of wine in its "9 reasons to visit Georgia"

13.08.2015 (Hvino News). Article entitled "9 reasons to visit Georgia now" was published today on CNN. The article by Jennifer Walker lists the most well-known Georgia's attractions. Among them on third place CNN placed "The birthplace of wine", described as follows:
When we think of the origin of wine we tend to think of France, Italy, Greece or Persia, but Georgia is in fact one of the world's oldest wine regions.
In 2003 archaeologists found evidence that Stone Age people were producing wine here up to 8,000 years ago.
Since then, wine has played a core part in Georgia's national identity.
The country's ancient tradition of fermenting grape juice in clay vessels, known as kvevris, has made it onto UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
There are hundreds of indigenous grape varieties and Georgian wine is slowly gaining recognition globally.
While some of the homemade varieties aren't particularly palatable, there are some excellent vineyards in Georgia producing premium wines.
A good place to start is with a red wine aged in oak barrels made from the Saperavi grape from Mukuzani in the wine region of Kakheti, such as those from Teliani Valley, or a white Tsindali, made from a blend of Rkatsteli and Mtvani grapes.
Soviet dictator and Georgian native Joseph Stalin was a fan of Khvanchkara, a sweet red wine from the Racha mountain region in the Caucasus.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Georgian government to offer subsidy to grape growers before harvest

12.08.2015. Before Georgian wine growers start picking grapes from their vineyards for the summer 2015 harvest, the Government is working on ways to support grape growers and the industry.

The industry is under pressure, primarily because of the tense economic situation in the region and changes to the wine export-import balance therefore the demand of Georgian wine in foreign markets is unknown.

On a positive note Georgia is expected to enjoy a 30 percent larger harvest this year compared to last year however demand for grapes has reduced.

Georgia’s agriculture minister Otar Danelia said this challenge forced the government to subsidise several different grape varieties to better support wine-makers.

This year the government will not subsidise the wine companies but only grape growers themsevles.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Georgia prepares for plentiful grape harvest 2015

11.08.2015. The Government of Georgia is supporting the wine sector ahead of the major harvest season where more than a hundred thousand tonnes of grapes will be picked, packed and sold locally or exported.

The 2015 wine harvest is expected to begin at the end of August in Georgia’s winemaking regions – Kakheti, Imereti and Racha – and this year’s yield is larger than before.

The Government has already introduced several initiatives to support the sector and more action was planned in the future. This included subsidising the cost of grapes to better support winemaking companies.

Today Agriculture Minister Otar Danelia and Government representatives met about 60 Georgian winemakers to discuss and establish ways to collaborate.

He said more information about tariffs and methodology will be released tomorrow but noted Georgia had a 30 percent larger harvest this year compared to last year.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Skip the rosé: These refreshing summer wines are ancient, complex, and “orange”

10.08.2015. On a recent night at Four Horsemen, a buzzy new wine bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, nearly everyone sipped wine of a similar shade. It wasn’t burgundy, ruby, yellow, or pink, but a peachy amber glow that filled their glasses, which shimmered with humidity on an August night.

The patrons, and I with them, were drinking “orange” wines. These wines, which can range from the palest melon whisper to deep, cloudy copper, are not made from oranges, but from grapes typically used for white wines. Unlike white wines, which are made from grapes fermented without their skins, skins are kept during orange wines’ production process. For this reason, they’re also called “skin contact” or “contact” wines.

The one in my glass, from the mountains of eastern Georgia (the country, not the state) smelled like apricots and nectarines. It felt full as a red but refreshing as a white, and stood up to—but didn’t destroy—the flavors of a rich country terrine with pickled green tomatoes and pert summer peas, strewn with Calabrian chilis, cashews, and ricotta salata. It knocked me out. Apparently, I’m not alone.

“I’m just completely shocked.”

Orange wines may still be under the radar for many casual wine drinkers, but they’re increasingly sought out by adventurous imbibers in search of something new.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Russians aren't coming for Georgian wine

09.08.2015. The outlook is cloudy for the Georgian wine industry. A Kremlin campaign could force Georgian winemakers to look at markets further afield. A Russian backlash against Georgian wines bodes ill for the small Eurasian nation, but it could have a silver lining for the cradle of viticulture.

With a winemaking history stretching back 6000 years, Georgia is used to the ebbs and flows of the wine trade, but it's geopolitics rather than grape quality that's causing the trouble this time.

Russia said it would retaliate against countries that support Western sanctions against Moscow over its support for Ukrainian separatists, and Georgia is feeling the bite as Russian authorities suddenly discover "faults" with imported wines.

Rospotrebnadzor, the Russian federal food safety agency, said this week that Georgian wines "consistently fail to assure the quality of alcoholic beverages exported to Russia". Almost 7 million liters of Georgian wine did not meet Russia's high standard for alcohol safety so far this year, according to Rospotrebnadzor.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Restaurants and shops in Georgia accused of selling counterfeit wine

08.08.2015. Three restaurants in Georgia may be fined or held criminally liable for falsification of wine. The same fate may be shared by 13 wine stores. The National Food Agency has submitted materials on facts of violation at 16 objects to the Finance Ministry.

Head of the Food Safety Department at the National Food Agency Kakha Sokhadze said that 275 samples of different varieties of wine had been taken throughout the territory of Georgia as of July 25. Sokhadze notes that facts of violation have been revealed in 29 samples, 3 cases were handed over to the Investigation Department of the Finance Ministry.

According to him, these cases cannot be considered as falsification as this should be determined by Investigation Department of the Finance Ministry. In addition, Sokhadze does not specify the names of restaurants and stores, where violations were found. However, he adds that violations were found throughout Georgia - Tbilisi, Adjara, Samegrelo and Imereti.

Kakha Sokhadze says that checks will continue across the country until the end of the year.

The control over wine in restaurants has been  tightened since January 1, 2015. As the Minister of Agriculture Otar Danelia states, the government has taken such step to prevent falsification of wine.


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Friday, August 7, 2015

Official: Georgia exported 16.810,187 bottles of wine to 35 countries in the first half of 2015

07.08.2015. (Hvino News). According to information from Georgia's National Wine Agency, 16.810,187 bottles of wine (volume 0.75 l) were exported from Georgia from January through July of 2015. The total export value is 47.589,654 USD.

According to agency's data, this export has increased on "strategically significant" markets, such as Kazakhstan - 3% (2.533,596 bottles), China - 35% (984,221), Poland 2% (921,828), Latvia 9% (663,714), Estonia - 19% (242,130), USA - 20% (148,128), Germany - 17% (143,922), Canada - 100% (120,180), Japan - 10% (90,194), France - 119% (28,638), Korea 221% (24,054), etc.

The top five Georgian wine importers are: Russia – 8.477,635 bottles; Kazakhstan – 2.533,596; Ukraine – 1.510,404; China – 984,221 and Poland – 921,828.

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Georgian diplomat: Reinstating trade restriction by Russia would be ‘wrong’

07.08.2015. It would be a “wrong decision” if Russia re-imposes ban on import of Georgian products, lifted two years ago, Georgian PM’s special representative for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, said on August 5.

Commenting on possible Russian sanctions, Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili said on August 6 that there seems to be a “misunderstanding” and added that Tbilisi “cares a lot about” having an access to the Russian market.

Russian PM Dmitri Medvedev told government members on August 4 to consider “measures to restrict import of products” from those countries, which have joined EU’s sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.

Last year, along with Albania, Montenegro, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Ukraine, Georgia aligned itself with one of EU’s sanctions involving ban on imports originating from Crimea and Sevastopol unless accompanied by a certificate of origin from the Ukrainian authorities.

Those countries, except of Georgia, have also aligned themselves with other sets of EU sanctions, targeting major Russian state banks, energy and arms sectors, as well as blacklisting dozens of Russian officials and Russia-backed separatist commanders in Ukraine.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

"Wine Weekend Batumi 2015": Georgian wine festival to open in Black Sea resort

06.08.2015 (Hvino News). On August 9 and 29 Kakheti Wine Guild invites you to the wine festival "Wine Weekend Batumi 2015" in Batumi, Georgia.

The celebration will be held in Batumi at Colonnades of Batumi Boulevard, and the variety of best Georgian wines will be shared by locals and guests of Batumi, Georgia's famous Black Sea resort.

The selection of around 100 types of aged and young Georgian wines, including qvevri wines, chacha and other drinks, produced by large and small wine cellars, will be presented at "Wine Weekend Batumi 2015". The festival offers unique opportunity to taste and enjoy wine pairing with cheese and Georgian traditional dishes, snacks and appetizers.

Participation in the festival is free for every guest.

In the middle of hot summer the Kakheti Wine Guild welcomes you to relax and enjoy the mixture of Georgian wine and cuisine in unforgettable city of Batumi. The event will be accompanied by live performance of Georgian folk and modern music.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Russia weighing new ban on import of Georgian wine

05.08.2015. Georgian wine producers may be hit by another Russian embargo as the Kremlin draws up plans to retaliate against the extension of European sanctions.

The Russian consumer safety bureau Rospotrebnadzor apparently is preparing the ground for imposing a ban on Georgian wine and spirits, the Caucasian nation’s most important export.

Rospotrebnadzor, which is often seen as a political tool of the Kremlin, claimed in a statement on Tuesday that Georgian winemakers are systematically violating technological standards.

The agency’s complaints against Georgian wine appeared simultaneously with Russian authorities pondering countermeasures against countries which joined the EU sanctions imposed against Crimea.

Rospotrebnadzor’s statement reads that in 2015, 45 Georgian wine producers exported over 6,7 million liters of wine and spirits. After the agency’s critique, three brands of wine and spirits were denied entry to the Russian market.

China develops a taste for Georgian wine and culture

05.08.2015. Three Georgian wine centers have opened in China’s Xinjiang province to increase popularity of Georgian wine and raise awareness of the country among Chinese consumers.

One of the largest importers of Georgian wine to China, Xinjiang Beifangjianda Trade Co, was responsible for opening the Georgian wine centres, named the Georgian Wine Culture Exhibition Hall, the Georgian Wine Salon and the Georgian Wine Club.

The Georgian Wine Culture Exhibition Hall opened in the Chinese city of Khorgos that lies near the border with Kazakhstan. The 400 sq. m. exhibition hall is located in the Chinese-Kazakhstan International shopping centre. Historical and cultural patterns of Georgian wine, tastings and presentation materials are displayed in the Georgian Wine Culture Exhibition Hall.

Khorgos is located on the China-Kazakhstan border and was announced as a free economic zone. Statistics showed in January-March 2015 about 600,000 people visited the shopping centre, meaning the Georgian Wine Culture Exhibition Hall could be enjoyed by up to 5,000 visitors a day.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on vineyards

Illustration GRASS FactCheck

by Veriko Sukhiashvili

04.08.2015. During his speech at the Parliament of Georgia, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili summarised the Government’s two years of work and talked about each ministry. Whilst assessing the work of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Prime Minister underscored the importance of successful grape harvests and stated: “In the past several years, during the grape harvest, we subsidised both white and red grapes. A total of 218,000 tonnes of grapes have been bought from farmers with the help of the state in the past two years. The wine growers received a total of GEL 289 million as revenues in two years. Of course, the successful grape harvests have given the people hope and encouraged them to plant more vineyards. As result, more than 4,000 hectares of vineyards have been planted over the past two years in our country.”

FactCheck [part of a non-governmental organization Georgia’s Reforms Associates - HN] took interest in the accuracy of the Prime Minister’s statement. We contacted the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia and requested statistics concerning Georgia’s vineyards, both previously existing as well as those planted in the past two years. According to the Ministry, the last agricultural census in the country was held in 2004. According to this census, a total of 37,419 hectares of vineyards were recorded in Georgia.

                                               Area of Vineyards by Regions in 2014 (hectares)
Georgia, Overall
Racha-Lechkhumi and Lower Svaneti
Samegrelo-Upper Svaneti
Kvemo Kartli
Shida Kartli

Monday, August 3, 2015

National Wine Agency found alternative markets for Georgian wine

03.08.2015. The National Wine Agency  of Georgia has found alternative markets for Georgian wine. Agency’s chairman George Samanishvili explained to Georgian radio Commersanti that the major markets of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus are good but unpredictable, as it is difficult to predict how things will develop in political and economic direction.

Mr. Samanishvili says that they focused on  diversifying the list of countries, to be less dependent on one region. In his words, currently following regions have been chosen: China, USA, UK, Japan, as well as Poland and the Baltic countries, where Georgian wine has great perspectives.

Samanishvili explained that  in  6 months export decreased  by 49% compared to last year and the trend is  likely to continue until the end of year.

Samanishvili noted that this year's export rate exceeds the  volumes for  2012 and 2013.

Source (edited) 

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Georgian wine ranked in top orange wines

02.08.2015 (Hvino News). The Independent - one of Britain's leading newspapers - has recently published a review of "orange wines" available in Britain, consisting of 13 wines from various countries. Orange wines, named for their colour rather than content, are white wines made using the same methods as red. The skins of the grapes are left on.

The article is listing two Georgian orange wines, including Tbilvino Qvevris 2011 (at first position in rating, marked as "Best Buy") and Ramaz Nikoladze Tsolikouri 2013 (at 10th place out of 13). The Tbilvino's Georgian orange wine is available at Marks and Spencer supermarkets chain for 9 pounds (the article notes that the online stock of this wine is already sold out), while Nikoladze's Tsolikouri is available from a specialized shop for 21 pounds.

Other wines listed by Independent includes Cos Pithos Bianco 2012 (a Sicilian wine), Serragghia Bianco Zibibbo (an Italian wine), Weingut Sepp & Maria Muster Erde 2012 (an Austrian wine) and others.

Independent's "verdict": "For those who want an entrée without paying the full price of admission, the best buy is the reliable M&S Tbilvino Qvevris. Once you’ve acquired the taste, sample the glorious Foradori Fontanasanta for a more complex and richer glassful or Castagna Harlequin from Australia for an intense blast of spicy Down Under sunshine".

© Hvino News

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