Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Law on Wine to be modified

11.04.2017. An interview with the head of the National Wine Agency Giorgi Samanishvili.

Work is under way to amend the law on wine. What exactly is planned to change?

Changes will affect almost all points of the law, although the general policy of the state regarding winemaking remains the same. It is planned to bring the law into line with current realities, since the last amendments to the law were adopted in 2002 and it lags far behind modern realities both inside Georgia and on the international arena.

The law is being revised and updated, and for this reason we are actively consulting with winemakers.

One of the planned changes involves a ban on the export of draught wine and wine materials.

Is this rule discriminatory? Can it turn out that caring about the quality of wine, the state will harm one of the segments of the wine market?

This issue was discussed for a very long time. The main argument in favor of such a ban is that it will reduce risks associated with the quality of products. Draught wine is very difficult to control.

The second, which is very important, draft wine is exported in very small quantities. For example, in 2016, a total of 50 million bottles of wine were exported, and only 500,000 liters of draught wine. It is also much cheaper and in this sense it is much more profitable for foreign producers than for Georgian. A foreign producer actually receives raw materials and makes the final product, as a result, a significant part of profits remain to him.

In addition, draught wine has a much higher demand in the local market than in other countries. In fact, this decision is not relevant for today - it is more designed for prevention. When companies manufacturing draft wine learned about a ban, they on their own initiative, stopped such exports, as it is not financially profitable and has no future in the long run.

What was a reason to update the law?

The law on "Wine and Vine" was adopted in 1996, and then the landmark was also taken on the legislation of the European Union, which is now considered a standard in the regulation of winemaking.

The terminology in that law fully corresponded to that time, but 20 years have passed, much has changed, even the terms are already different, including the EU. Sometimes this creates problems for exporters.

Even such a seemingly superficial question as the replacement of terminology and its harmonization with European standards is of great importance.

There are more specific issues which concern the kvevri wine. The law provides that not every wine can be called a wine from kvevri, but the wine, which was guaranteed to be made in kvevri. This should also be regulated at the legislative level.

The law will also envisage a special terminology associated with the different colors of wines that are produced by different technologies in different regions of Georgia.

The system of labeling is simplified, explanations which can allow different interpretations are clarified.

I am confident that the parliament will support our initiative and these very important changes will be adopted.

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