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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Konka on Manhattan: Georgian wine made of American grapes

21.02.2017. He started business at the age of 16 in the small wine bar in Tbilisi and reached the pages of New York Times later. Making Georgian wine in Manhattan and new Georgian-American project Konka Wine Club is a story of Erekle Khaziauri, who introduced Georgian wine to Americans and made them fall in love with it.

When did you come up with an idea to open wine club in Manhattan?

I arrived in New York in 2015. I met an engineer Matt Baldassano who tried to make wine in his yard. It was his hobby doing it with his friends. After I met him, we decided to make a Georgian-American project and make wine together. We decided to make wine with Georgian technologies and use American grapes. We brought special kinds of wine from California. Today, we are very good business partners.

How many people are members of East Village Wine Club? 

East Village Wine Club has 70 regular members and they are mostly Americans, but there are Georgians too. As for Georgian-American project, it is indeed successful. We have new VIP members, for example Diana Zhgenti [Consul General of Georgia in New York - HN].

Can Georgian wine compete with other American brands at the market?

I can talk about Georgian wine non-stop, however, I would emphasize on pitcher wine. There are a lot of factory-made wines imported to New York, but pitcher one has a special attention at the market and a lot of people like it. In few years, Georgian pitcher wine will be one of the most successful wines in the US.

Can you tell us about your future plans?

As for future plans, of course, it concerns Georgian wine and the popularization of its technology. It’s been two years since we are thinking about bringing pitcher in the club and make pitcher wine, but it is of course risky. We don’t want to make low quality pitcher wine. We want to do it in a professional way. The bar Konka will become a place where you can learn more about wine making technologies. In the future, we are going to enter other states too.

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Georgian wines at the Boston Wine Expo 2017

19.02.2017 (Hvino News). At the annual Boston Wine Fair 2017 on February 18-19 Georgia made an impressive presentation showing products from the following wine companies:
  • Artevani Wine/Interbalt Products
  • Bagrationi 1882
  • Besini 
  • Chateau Mukhrani
  • Danieli Winery
  • Georgian Wine House
  • Kakhuri Gvinis Marani
  • Kartuli Vazi
  • Qimerioni
  • Shilda
  • Shumi
  • Tbilvino
  • Tsereteli Wine and Spirits
  • Vaziani Company

Saturday, February 18, 2017

International Chamber of Commerce appoints representatives of wine and media sectors as commission heads

18.02.2017 (Hvino News). International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia  (ICC Georgia), one of most influential business associations in Georgia, has recently elected its commissions' chairpersons.

Hvino News is pleased to announce that Alexander Kaffka, founder of Hvino publications, was appointed as chairman of ICC's Commission on PR, Marketing & Media. Nutsa Abramishvili, CEO of Schuchmann Wines, will chair ICC's Commission on Agriculture & Wine Industry. Maya Sidamonidze, owner of Hotel Terrace and former head of Georgia's Department of Tourism and Resorts will chair ICC's Commission on Travel and Tourism.

"To chair ICC's Commission is not only a high honour - we consider it as a great opportunity to make a more meaningful contribution to country's development in the fields of marketing and mass media", - said Mr. Kaffka.

The full list of ICC's commissions and their heads can be found here.

ICC Georgia, established in 2002 as the Georgian chapter of the International Chamber of Commerce, unites over 350 corporate and youth members and 27 business associations. It is considered the largest and most vocal business association in the country. The International Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in the world that includes over 6.5 million businesses and chambers of commerce. ICC consults regularly at the global level with the G8, G20, the World Bank, WTO, and the United Nations.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Presentation of Georgian wine in Stockholm

16.02.2017 (Hvino News). A Georgian wine presentation and tasting event was organized in Stockholm with support of National Wine Agency, Swedish-Georgian Trade Board, Georgian Embassy in Sweden and Georgian wine companies.

The event was attended by the owners of the hotels and restaurants in Sweden, wine importers and media representatives.

At the presentation held in the Embassy of Georgia in Stockholm, premium wines of ten Georgian wine companies were represented: Bagrationi 1882, Askaneli Brothers, Maranuli, Teleda, Giuaani, Kindzmarauli Marani, Batono, BG Wine, Dugladze Wines and Spirits, Ikano.

In 2016, with private sector initiative and Swedish-Georgian Trade Board support, Georgia-Sweden representation “Georgian Wine for Scandinavian Countries” - GeoWine for Nordic - was created, which aims to consolidate Georgian wine companies on Scandinavian market.

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Berlin Wine Trophy 2017: An interesting competition for Georgian wines as well


hvino world news

Welcome to Hvino World News - our new column focusing on important events and news from international wine world scene which may be useful and relevant to Georgian wine industry. We are delighted to introduce Ute SEITZ, wine author and wine tourism advisor (Tbilisi) as author of our new column. Today's column is about Berlin Wine Trophy.

16.02.2017 (Hvino News). The 21st Berlin Wine Trophy was held on February 2-5. 171 wine specialists from all over the world (30 nations) judged about 6,000 wines at this event. Berthold Seitz, Dipl.-Ing. Viticulture and Oenology, currently working as an adviser at the National Wine Agency of Georgia, was one of them. To be appointed as a judge at the Berlin Wine Trophy, a profession in wine industry (oenologist, wine merchant, sommelier) and several years of tasting experience and an invitation from the organizer German Wine Marketing (DWM) are required.

Berlin Wine Trophy associated with the Asia Wine Trophy in Daejoen, South Corea, and the Portugal Wine Trophy in Anadia, Portugal, are together the biggest and most important wine competitions worldwide. This offers very interesting opportunities for the wines which enter the competitions. A wine which enters the competition in Germany or Portugal can also enter the Asian Wine Trophy at no additional costs.

The Berlin Wine Trophy is held twice a year – winter edition in February and summer edition in July. Berthold Seitz and his wife Ute were the first judges representing Georgia since the start of the competition under OIV patronage in 2004.

Wines are judged under strict regulations and the supervision of the OIV (International Organization of Vine and Wine), UIOE (International Oenology Organization) and VinoFed (World Federation of Major International Wine and Spirits Competitions). The event is a networking platform for international wine trade and wine experts, from university professors to sommeliers.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sakura 2017: Japanese female wine experts award 13 Georgian wines

13.02.2017 (Hvino News). “SAKURA” Japan Women’s Wine Awards 2017 became known.

Wines were selected after five days of tasting in Japan.An international wine competition judged exclusivel y by Japanese female wine specialists awarded 13 Georgian wines with Double Gold, Gold and Silver medals.

Out of the 13 Georgian wines awarded, one received a Double Gold medal, 7 were awarded Gold medals and 5 earned Silver medals. Compared to last year's results, Georgia shows progress at Sakura Wine Awards. In 2016, Georgia earned nine medals, including one Double Gold medal, four Gold medals and four earned Silver medals.

Here are the winning Georgian wines:

Double Gold
  • Vaziani Company Saperavi 2015

Saturday, February 11, 2017

"The Australian": Georgian winemakers

by James Halliday

11.02.2017. When I received an invitation to join six Georgian winemakers over lunch at Melbourne’s Lee Ho Fook restaurant, I changed my diary in a flash. Georgia is one of the leading contenders for the birthplace of wine, its vinous history dating back more than 8000 years.

Wine became part of Egyptian culture 5000 years ago, when a Pharaoh’s tomb was stocked with 4500 litres of it. Amphorae were vintage dated by year of Pharaoh’s rule and by vigneron. In Greece, wine was part of life from the earliest times, the vine domesticated in the late Neolithic and widely cultivated by the early Bronze Age.

In both Georgia and Greece, wine occupied a central role in life. Wine was so important to ancient Greeks that they worshipped it in the form of the god Dionysus. Winemaking in both countries remained largely unchanged until the last decades of the 20th century. They then went in opposite directions. In 1985 the first oenology course was created in Athens and with lightning speed graduates appeared, some promptly heading to France. Wine quality soared.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Photo contest winner gets prize wine with exclusive label

09.02.2017 (Hvino News). Last month Hvino News reported about Marafoto photo contest, launched by Telavi Wine Cellar company. The results of the contest were announced this week.

The winner Giorgi Chekurishvili was awarded with a unique "Grand Prix": bottles of wine labeled elegantly with reprints of winning photograph.

The Marafoto contest was held in the Facebook social network, who voted by "likes" for the best photo. The voting attracted over 30,000 Facebook users.

The company said the photo contest will become regular, while the themes of photos will vary.

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"Wine Thieves" steal new ways to market Georgian wines

09.02.2017 (Hvino News). Wines under brand Wine Thieves showed up on the shelves just months ago but already gained considerable attention thanks to questionable label designs.

The label for saperavi with nude female figure is based on design by British artist Owen Gent.

“When we created this label, society was quite irritated. The author of "nude" label is a famous British artist who collaborated with Vogue and other famous magazines. We purchased the right to use his design", - said the founder of the company, Avtandil Kobakhidze.

Our name is “Wine Thieves” but we are not real thieves. We bring to the market natural wines from different family cellars”- commented Mr. Kobakhidze. Currently Wine Thieves offer 4 types of wine: Saperavi, Tsolikauri, Rkatsiteli and Chinuri.

This year, the company is planning to add more kinds of wine. Their labels will be "funny too", according to the company's head.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Georgian qvevri wine gains success in France

08.02.2017 (Hvino News). With National Wine Agency's support, Georgian qvevri wine presentations and tastings were held in the cities of France.  French wine professionals had the opportunity to discover and taste wines of six Georgian natural wine producers: Nikoladze Cellar, Antadze Cellar, Pheasant's Tears, Okro's Wines, Iago's Wine, Kortavebi Wine Cellar.

Qvevri wine was introduced at the tastings organized  in Toulouse and Lyon. For the sixth time Georgian wine companies participated in the traditional fairs in Angers (Les Penitentes) and Somuri (La Dive Bouteille).

Head of NWA Giorgi Samanishvili said: «Qvevri wine is exported by Georgia to every direction, though it is specially approved in the traditional wine consumer countries such as France, Italy etc. Despite of the fact, that qvevri wine part in total wine export is not big, this is outstanding wine and known to everybody, who knows Georgian viticulture and wine-making culture and history. Qvevri wine is  a kind of a business card for us to make Georgian wine more famous. Introduction of  wine in France means popularisation of Georgian qvevri wine on every important market worldwide».

As a participant of the fair, Georgian wine-maker Iago Bitarishvili noted, that  interest towards qvevri wine was traditionally great this year. Georgian wine-makers state, that in the previous years participation in the fairs mentioned above has brought considerable importers.

«Interest towards qvevri wine this year was even greater, especially at the tastings in Toulouse and Lyon. In this south part of France, qvevri wine is successfully sold and these tastings will promote further growth of publicity of our  wine. Also, great interest was expressed towards qvevri wines at the fairs - Les Penitentes and La Dive Bouteille. In this period, wine producers, importers, writers gather here; also, new contracts were signed» - he mentioned.

36 thousand bottles of Georgian wine were exported to France in 2016; as of January 2017, already 13 thousand bottles were exported, according to NWA.

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Tbilvino’s Qvevris Rkatsiteli – big isn’t necessarily bad

by Simon Woolf

08.02.2017. (Almost) every week, I select an orange wine (a white wine made with extended skin contact) that grabbed my attention.

Experienced wine lovers tend to look down on large producers – and by large, I mean wineries knocking out more than a million bottles a year. This isn’t without reason – generally, with such massive quantities, a different set of criteria apply – consistency, of both vintage and brand are of more concern than terroir or vintage variation. When it comes to winemaking, large producers tend to be more risk averse, more interested in reliability. Predictability is supposedly what the “average consumer” desires. Well, it is certainly what the “average buyer” desires. Which may or may not be the same thing.

That said, if a major winery puts its might behind a concept, it can work very well. Tbilvino is based in east Georgia’s Kakheti – the country’s most important wine region. A product of the modern age, Tbilvino was conceived in a post-communist world – their first commercial vintage was 1999. They’re pretty successful, producing around 3 million bottles a year, most of which are sold to Russia, other ex-Soviet countries and China – well established markets for Georgian wine.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Jeff Berlin of Oakland’s "A Côté" on selling glass after glass of Georgian wine

Interviewed by Tara Q. Thomas

06.02.2017. Soon after opening A Côté in Oakland 15 years ago, Jeff Berlin began accumulating accolades for a wine list that pushed the envelope, featuring wines from obscure grapes and forgotten wine regions, with stories about each that made them accessible and compelling. Since then, the restaurant has become a beacon for anyone interested in discovering the world’s lesser-known wine treasures, whether it’s sumoll from Spain’s Penedes or skin-contact amber wines from Georgia.

Seventy percent of your wine sales are by-the-glass. Why is that number so high?

I wouldn’t want to throw our bar staff under the bus—they are terrific—but we’re just a wine machine: every single table, every night, we have people tasting through multiple glasses of wine. It’s like a juggernaut that keeps rolling. The by-the-glass sales really help; we sell more by the glass than bottle, by far. It’s simply more consonant with the style of our food—we serve it family-style, and tons of plates come out to each table. A parade of flavors equals a parade of glasses. We’ve expanded the quantity of wines we offer by the glass, too, because we sell so much of it—we don’t have to be concerned with having bottles sit, unused. So it’s also the kid-in-the-candy-store effect—they sit down, see 60 wines available to taste; it just draws them in.

How do you manage to sell such incredibly obscure wines?

There’s the customer who just says, ‘I don’t know any of this; screw it. Just surprise me.’ But now I also have people come in and say, ‘I came here because I heard you have wine from former Soviet states—I want to try Georgian wine,’ or Hungarian wine, or whatever. Or they are even more focused: I heard you have a wine from Khakheti and I’d like to try that, or ‘I heard you have wine from western Georgia—I’ve only had them from eastern Georgia.’ It’s mind-blowing. And I’m like: Yes, let’s do it!

How is Georgia doing on the wine list?

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Official: Wine and spirits exports data of January 2017

05.02.2017 (Hvino News). According to National Wine Agency's data of January 2017, approximately 4 322 733  bottles (0.75l) of wine have been exported Georgia to 26 countries worldwide, that is 184% higher then the similar data of the last year.In the period under review 8.8 million USD worth of wine have been exported, that is 141% higher than the similar data of 2016.

“Increase of export is notable on markets of countries of European Union, China, USA and other  traditional markets. 2016th year has been successful for Georgian wine export.  The growth compared to 2015 amounted 40%. It's notable, that Georgian wine export began actively the very beginning of the year, and we are hoping, that the tendency of the export increase will be maintained in all directions as a result of  to the marketing activities planned in the wine sector”,  noted the head of National Wine Agency, Giorgi Samanishvili.

The first five of exporter countries is the fallowing: Russia (2 861 471), Ukraine (402 858), China  (372 440), Poland (156 302) and Kazakhstan (106 284).