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Tamada

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Financial Times" on Georgia's marketing policy: "Cradle of Wine" slogan needs more time to ripen

31.07.2012 (Hvino News) Britain's "Financial Times" in its today's edition publishes an article by Alex Barker entitled "Slogan deconstructed: Georgian wine".  Due to FT's copyright restrictions Hvino News is not allowed to re-post entire article, which is related to the recent registration of slogan "Georgia the Cradle of Wine" in European Union (read more: "Cradle of Wine" is registered by Georgia as a brand name in EU")

Winemaking is an ancient craft in eastern Georgia. Indeed, Georgia claims that the region’s Alazani Valley was where man first mastered the grape some eight millennia ago. "Georgian wines face a tougher marketing challenge today. The plan? To brand every bottle: “Georgia: the cradle of wine”", - points out the author of FT article. The campaign has won the approval of EU, which has given it right to use the brand “cradle of wine” within the European Union exclusively to Georgia.

"This may, however, be a mixed blessing. Emphasising its rich heritage is the obvious way for Georgian wine to make its mark in a highly competitive global market. But some consumers may more readily associate cradles with babies or bottle racks than the history of the Alazani Valley. This slogan may need more time to ripen", - notes "Financial Times".

Before EU's recent decision, the brand "cradle of wine" belonged to a British company.

© Hvino News

Monday, July 30, 2012

Inkerman: Ukrainian wine producer to export Georgian wine varieties to Russia

30.07.2012 (Hvino News). Inkerman, one of Ukraine's largest wine producers, is planning to export its wines to Russia under the Georgian traditional names "Saperavi" and "Rkatsiteli". According to article in Ukrainian Kommersant newspaper, on July 24th Inkerman  filed nine applications for registration of trademarks with Rospatent (Russia's registration authority), including the names of wines identical to names of traditional Georgian varieties - "Saperavi Inkerman," "Inkerman Rkatsiteli" and "Inkerman Sauvignon-Rkatsiteli". "They have proved themselves in the Ukrainian market, so we decided to deliver them in Russia", - says CEO Andrey Strelets. - Deliveries will begin at the end this year or early next year".

With the ban on Georgian wine to Russia marketers call this a successful move. It will be difficult to question Inkerman's claim, because the brand names refer to grape varieties, not to geographical places in Georgia.

Inkerman is the largest exporter of Ukrainian wine. The company is well represented in the retail chains in Russia, where the market is much larger than Ukrainian. President of the Union of Winegrowers and Winemakers of Russia Leonid Popovich says that about ten Russian wineries also produce wine under names "Saperavi" and "Rkatsiteli." Production of other types Georgian wines is impossible neither to Inkerman, nor to Russian companies, as Georgia has patented their domains of origin as trademarks. The only available names are "Rkatsiteli" and "Saperavi", because use of names of grape vareties cannot be forbidden.

© Hvino News

Mukuzani - a true Georgian Grand Cru

I’m quite sure that in a place like Georgia that has a 7,000 year tradition of winemaking, and is also likely the place in which the ancient, wild ancestors of the modern wine grape originally evolved, that there are scores, maybe even hundreds of old vineyard sites known to the locals as plots that produce truly extraordinary wine. Many of these sites are named with names unknown to me or any but the top Georgian wine experts and the hands that tend the vines….

There is however, one place in Georgia with a name known to many all around the world: Mukuzani. In the northeastern corner of Georgia is the Kakheti region, which is often considered to be Georgia’s greatest viticultural zone. Within Kakheti there is the Alazani Valley which contains Mukuzani, as well as a few handfuls of other celebrated regions with peculiarly exotic monikers like Gurjaani and Qvareli.

Mukuzani is made with one, and only one grape, and one with another (relatively) famliar name -  Saperavi. If I had to thumbnail a characterization of Saperavi, I’d sketch it out as a somewhat more elegant, and much spicier brother to Piedmont’s Barbera. But unlike Barbera, Saperavi is one of just a handful of what are known as tinturier grapes, i.e. red skin grapes that also have red flesh and juice. The upshot of having all of this extra pigmentation is the ability to yield musts that have an unparalleled “stuffing”, allowing them to produce wines that can age for decades, and that are blessed with real nobility to boot. And indeed, Mukuzani wines, well made and well stored, can age through several generations, and because things are what they are with the Georgian wine industry, the Russian/world market, etc. they’re a major steal if you can turn one up. That said, there is still counterfeiting of Georgian wines going on, so spend the extra scratch, go to a good merchant, and trust your instincts…

Friday, July 27, 2012

Details of Airport Vineyard Idea Still Unknown

25.07.2012. Details of implementation of President’s idea regarding creation of a vineyard on Tbilisi airport’s territory are still unclear. Ministry of Agriculture refrains from commenting on this issue. As early as 2 weeks ago, Commersant  approached to the ministry with the above-mentioned question, but still has not received the answer regarding the President's initiative.

Last May Mikheil Saakashvili, while visiting one of the families, announced that the City Hall should allocate a land plot in the territory of the airport where a vineyard would be planted (read more here).

According to Saakashvili, the territory will be illuminated at night in order for all tourists entering the country  to see the vineyard. However, the land on which the vineyard must be built has not been allocated yet. Agriculture Ministry officials say that private sector must take an interest in the initiative and find the farmers to start vineyard cultivation in the territory of the airport.

Source

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wine Price Hike Expected in Georgian Market due to Disaster: 20-25% of crop destroyed

24.07.2012. Wine companies are counting damage caused by disaster in Kakheti. According to "Kindzmarauli Marani", up to 10 hectares of vineyards have been damaged. Director General of the company explained to Commersant that hail destroyed up to 400 tons of grapes that makes 20-25% of the entire harvest. Dimitri Lebanidze notes, whether a loss will be reflected in production quantity and price will be known at harvest time.

The disaster destroyed 60 tons of crops of "Shuchmann Wines". The company's management informs, that the damage will reduce harvest by 20%, but, nevertheless, they will have to buy a minimum amount of wine. The management predicts, against shortage of raw materials on the local market, wine price will rise sharply because the wine companies operating in the market will have to purchase grapes at a high price.

Source

Chacha fountain to be launched in Batumi before September

25.07.2012 (Hvino News) Construction of so-called "Chacha Tower Fountain" in Georgia’s Batumi will be concluded in September.  Spanish and Georgian architects designed the fountain for tourists. It will have chacha, a strong Georgian drink  sometimes defined as grape brandy or grappa, pouring instead of water once a week.

"Once a week, for 10 to 15 minutes, chacha will flow from this fountain instead of water. Tourists will have an opportunity to taste the traditional drink," Mayor of Batumi Robert Chkheidze told Georgian television. Alcohol manufacturers would be able to advertise their drinks for locals and tourists.

Dispensing alcohol will not be the only function of the minaret-like tower, to be completed this year. The 25-meter-tall structure will include an observation desk, pools (with no liquor though), a clock and a tourist information center. It will have a spiral ladder, and a gold-plated dome. The project is worth 810,000 lari. Construction company "Alazani" is developing the project.

© Hvino News 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Georgian Wine Day at London Olypmics

24.07.2012 (Hvino News) If you happen to be in London during the Olympics, take a note of Georgian Wine Day on 30.07.2012 at Georgia Olympic House (45 Millbank at Chelsea College of Art and Design, SW1P 4RL London). Here is the invitation form Ambassador:

Dear Friends of Georgia,

Please find attached an invitation to a Georgian Wine Day taking place on 30 July 2012 at 7 pm at the Georgia Olympic House on 45 Millbank.

Sincerely yours,

Giorgi Badridze
Ambassador of Georgia

© Hvino News

Tbilvino leads in the first Media Rating of Georgian Wine Companies

Open image in new tab to enlarge For 2013's Media Rating click here.

24.07.2012 (Hvino News). The first results and figures from the analytic report prepared by Hvino News, based on 3 months of its global media monitoring, became known. The first Media Rating of Georgian Wine Companies is now available. 

Indisputable leader in media mentions is Tbilvino. Congratulations to Tbilvino's management and PR team for successful media outreach! Company's openness to the mass media results in growth of international brand awareness and other marketing benefits.

The second place is shared by Teliani Valley and Shuchmann Wines. Both companies have demonstrated similar level of popularity in global media over 3 months' period.

The bronze goes to Pheasant's Tears, with the minimal gap of just one media mention.

The number of mentions of other companies can be seen from the table. Several prominent wine producers have no presence in the media at all, for example Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking. The general level of global media coverage of Georgian wine is considered as low.

The media data includes both the international media monitoring and the articles published by Hvino News under its own copyright. Deeper analysis of media mentions of Georgian wine brands, including favorability, target readership groups and other criteria will be available from special report"Hvino News: First Three Months of Media Monitoring". 

Monday, July 23, 2012

President Saakashvili will distribute wine to victims of the disaster

23.07.2012-07. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has promised to distribute wine to those residents of Kakheti region, whose vineyards had been destroyed as a result of the disaster in the region on the night of July 19, the IA Regnum reported. Mikheil Saakashvili stated this on July 22 after visiting churches in Telavi and Alaverdi.

The President stressed that viticulture and winemaking were the source of income for many families in Kakheti, so the state would not only help with the restoration of the vineyards, but also provide the wine to all of the affected residents.

At the same time, Georgian Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili also stated the government would presumably determine its position on this issue and distribute wine in September, Echo of the Caucasus reported. "We're going to distribute a certain amount of wine from the state company to the population, whose vineyards were completely destroyed", Merabishvili said.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

PIK.TV: "What's the life in Russia like without the Georgian products?"

22.07.2012 (Hvino News) PIK.TV,  Georgia's Russian-language television channel, yesterday featured a program entitled "What's the life in Russia like without the Georgian products?". The program's anchorman is well-known Russian journalist Matvey Ganapolskiy. Watch the program below (in Russian).

(sorry, video is unavailable as Pik.tv has been closed down)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Creation of state wine companies: terms still unknown

21.07.2012 (Hvino News) Many private wine companies are concerned about Georgian government's plans to create state wine companies. It is still unclear when such companies will be set up. In accordance with the changes to the regulation of the National Wine Agency, along with the market monitoring, the agency can establish state wine companies.

When this became known, Georgian Wines Association on behalf of the concerned winemakers from the private sector sent an official letter to the Ministry of Agriculture, where it expressed its position. Today, part of winemakers refrain from comments on this issue, while another part does not possess information about the changes in the regulations of the National Wine Agency. The chairman of  Georgian Wine Association said she has no comment, as the Ministry of Agriculture has all the information on the project.  Kommesant radio has failed to get an official comment from the Ministry of Agriculture.

The National Wine Agency is a part of  Ministry of Agriculture. This new state agency was recently established instead of former "Samtrest" - State department for vine and wine, but still has not got a director.

© Hvino News

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ivanishvili offers to help flood victims, Saakashvili considers

by Rusiko Machadze

20.07.2012. Georgia’s Speaker of Parliament says the prime minister should decide whether opposition billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili may be allowed to help reimburse losses suffered after yesterday’s storm.

Ivanishvili’s opposition Georgian Dream coalition has offered to help villagers affected by the extreme weather.

July 19, an unusually strong hail storm destroyed crops, tore roofs off houses, damaged communications and electric equipment in several regions of Georgia. Preliminary estimates indicate the damages are several tens of millions of lari. President Mikheil Saakshvili ordered his ministers to solve problems created by the natural disaster in Kakheti, a region in the east of Georgia and the most important wine district.

Heavy rains, storms wreak havoc in Kakheti region

by Salome Modebadze

20.07.2012. Thousands of families in Kakheti, in the Samtskhe-Javakheti and Mtskheta-Mtianeti regions remained homeless after the heavy rainstorm and hail on July 19 (read also Hail damages thousands hectares of vineyards in Kakheti). Telavi, Kvareli, Gurjaani, Lagodekhi, Akhaltsikhe, Adigeni, Bulachauri, Dusheti and Tianeti villages were terribly affected by the natural disaster which started at around 4 a.m. and lasted for over an hour. 

25 people injured by the storm were taken to hospitals; villages remain with no electricity, gas and drinking water; poultry and harvest has been destroyed; the government is counting the damage.

Tsinandali: Radisson rejuvenates a wine destination in Kakheti

by Robert Linkous

20.07.2012. The first time visitor to Tsinandali, reaching its outskirts from the southeast, may doubt its eminence as a wine town. On the right, a sprawling, rather unkempt cemetery. Just beyond, a bridge over the dried out, refuse strewn Doliauriskhevi River, an objectionable eyesore beyond which one must look across the Alazani Plain and even further east, to the haughtily unperturbed Caucasus Mountains, for relief.

The town itself: sleepy, dusty, seemingly careless of appearances, not even tackily touristy. Another Kakhetian village seeming to face the world with its backside.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Georgian wines get medals in New York competition

19.07.2012 (Hvino News) Two Georgian wines have won medals at the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition:
  • Bronze Medal: Gorelli 2005 "Queen of Iberia" Reserve, Kakheti, Georgia
  • Bronze Medal: Kondoli 2007 Saperavi-Merlot, Kakheti, Georgia
New York World Wine & Spirits Competition is considered the most comprehensive competition for wines and spirits in New York. It is held in conjunction with The Bar and Wine Show. Judges from throughout the beverage industry rank the products according to established criteria, and winners receive Double Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals.

© Hvino News, company news


Hail damages thousands hectares of vineyards in Kakheti

19.07.2012 (Hvino News) Georgia has endured a storm with heavy rains, hail, and strong winds hitting the eastern part of the country. Crops were ruined, especially vine, and houses damaged in the Gurjaani and Telavi districts of the Kakheti region - main wine-producing region of Georgia.  11,000 hectares of vineyards were severely damaged.

Last night's rain, hail and windstorm have inflicted serous damage on the Telavi, Gurjaani and Lagodekhi districts of the Kakheti Region. The situation is particularly grave in Telavi, where the windstorm unroofed several dozens of houses; the walls of several houses have been also collapsed. Many families have been left homeless due to the disaster, which has also destructed vineyards, fruit gardens and agricultural lands. The flood caused by the rain killed poultry and cattle.

Sommelier Gregory Alonzo On Nectar Of The Sun: Unique Georgian Wines

Striated with colored hues of magenta and amber, sunset slowly covered Tbilisi’s skyline. As the sky slowly purpled above us, Medea and I hustled to meet Shorena, our  fellow sommelier. Tonight we planned to meet in Old Town’s poplar jazz spot, Cafe Kala. Shorena had arranged for us to taste three of Georgia’s most unique wines.

“I see her,” Medea called out. “She’s sitting in the patio area.”

“It is such a lovely evening, I thought we’d sit outside.” Shorena motioned us to take our seats. “Once the band starts, we can easily here the music from here.”

To my delight, our servers immediately filled our table with eggplant, peppers, tomatoes,   stuffed mushrooms, goat cheese, lamb kabobs, and lavash bread. “A table set for a king.”

“Or a prince,” Medea said with subtle coquetry.

“A prince without a crown,” I chuckled.

“Grigol,” Shorena called for my attention. Tonight we will be tasting Saperavi, do you approve?”

"Cradle of Wine" is registered by Georgia as a brand name in EU

18.07.2012 (Hvino News) Georgia has registered the brand name "Cradle of Wine" in the European Union. EU's Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market has now issued a permit, which means that Georgia will have the exclusive right to present the wine with words "Georgia - the cradle of wine".

According to "Sakstat" (Georgia's statistical institution), until 2011 this brand has belonged to a British company. The new registration allows Georgia to ban any other company using the name without permission. Use of the brand  "Cradle of Wine" is supposed to help promote Georgia as the oldest wine-producing country.

The valleys of the South Caucasus, namely Georgia, are believed by many archaeologists to be the source of the world's first cultivated grapevines and neolithic wine production, over 8,000 years ago. Although no liquid wine from the period has survived, scientists have found and tested wine residues discovered on the inner surfaces of 8,000-year-old ceramic storage jars.

This article has important follow-ups! See updates here:

© Hvino News

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tbilvino's director general disagrees with Russian media: "Georgian wine is expected in the Russian market"

17.07.2012. Tbilvino's Director General does not agree with the Russian media. The Russian "Kommersant" reported (read here) that, unlike “Borjomi", no one is waiting for the Georgian wine in the Russian market and its niche is occupied by Argentinean, Chilean and other wines from “New World " countries. Tbilvino's Director General claims the opposite in the conversation on Georgian radio.

Giorgi Margvelashvili says that the return of the Georgian wine is still expected in Russia and if it returns it will have its consumers. “I cannot share the assessment of the Russian edition. The Russians still remember the taste of Georgian wine and demand on Georgian wine that emerged in Russia also reflects this" - Margvelashvili notes. In his words, at the first stage the Georgian wine will be presented in the Russian market in small quantities, but after a certain period it will be able to occupy the share which it had in the market before the embargo.

According to the Russian edition, since 2006, as a result of the government's efforts, the total export volume has not decreased, just the opposite – it has been increasing from year to year. However, as Russian "Kommersant" notes, in this flow the Georgian drinks share reduced to 4.6% and ferroalloys, light metals and automobiles, as well as electricity have become the major export goods.

Source

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Russian "Kommersant": Unlike "Borjomi", no one is waiting for Georgian wine in Russia

Illustration: Kommersant.ru
16.07.2012. 6 years ago when Russia closed the market for Georgian wines and mineral waters it hoped that the main sectors of the economy would be seriously defeated. But quite the opposite thing happened: embargo gave a powerful incentive to those fields to search for new directions and, as a result, they seriously stepped up. The Russian newspaper "Kommersant" writes.

As for the Russian market, "the place of banned Georgian wine has long been occupied by competitors from other countries, while, how  surprising it would be, no one has replaced "Borjomi",- the author of the article notes.

The Russian edition recalls the official reasons for embargo, in particular the federation's Chief Doctor, Gennady Onishenko’s statement that "Borjomi" and wine quality did not meet sanitary standards. The journalist assesses, there is a deal of  truth in Onishenko’s words  and the Georgian side recognizes this problem in regard of wine.

"Version of the wine, especially of the water quality problems, didn’t sound so convincing from the beginning, however, events confirmed the political background in the acts of the Chief Sanitary.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sommelier Gregory Alonzo: The Prince's Bubbly

Rolling green hills and the open expanse of lush vineyards dominate the panorama of the Alazani Valley.  A wise man once said that the land of the gods is in essence, a vineyard between two mountain ranges. Since the legendary quest of Jason and the Argonauts to the land of Colchis, as this fabled land was known in antiquity, the Greek heroes discovered something more valuable than the coveted “Golden Fleece.” What they found was simply the best wine in the world. Wine is and has always been, what truly defines the Republic of Georgia.

Today I am once again joined by my fellow sommeliers, Medea and Shorena. From our terrace vista, we have a lovely view of our hostʼs vineyards. Our table has been impeccably set to include an assortment of local fruits, goat cheese, and of course, lavash bread.

“Grigol, we have selected three of your favorite sparkling wines from Bagrationi 1882,” Medea said assuredly.

It was Prince Ivane Bagrationi Mukhraneli who first launched production according to French methods back in 1882. Today they can can proudly boast that they are Georgiaʼs leading producer of sparkling wines.

“Excellent selection,” I smiled as I looked over the wines. “We shall start with the Classic Brut,” Shorena spoke with anticipation.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Beyond the Iron Curtain, Georgian Wines on a Global Stage

By Becky Sue Epstein

On the way back to the city, in the deepening dusk we pass a typical new police station: a cube of glass, brightly lit inside. I see one policeman writing at his desk as we flash by in our green BMW, expertly handled by our professional driver. We are in the Republic of Georgia, in May, 2012, and the glass police stations symbolize the government’s new policy of anti-corruption and transparency. We’re driving back to the capital, Tbilisi, from the country’s top wine region in the southeastern part of the country. We’ve just spent the day in this wine region—called Kakheti—after tasting at several other wineries near Tbilisi earlier in the week. Kakheti lies along the edge of the Caucasus mountain range, north of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Just over the nearby mountains lies the Russian border and the bitterly contested area of Chechnya.

We are sated from our dinner at Pheasant’s Tears winery, where, at a table set out in the lawn, we had a small feast including crunchy fresh salads, grilled-to-order meats and an irresistible platter of tiny new potatoes baked in home-made, roasted sunflower-seed oil and sprinkled with just the right amount of salt. With the music of a nearby students’ festival as background for our dinner, we also sampled the wines: red, white, dry and sweet, made from native grapes. These wines are exported to nine countries including the US, China and Japan—though the winery only makes 45,000 bottles a year, so the allotments are small.

Currently, the total amount of quality Georgian wine that is exported to the US is very small. But this tiny country has stood on its own and ultra-modernized its thinking from independence through the current Chechnyan conflict, so don’t underestimate the determination that drives the Georgian wine industry. For most of the past century Georgian wines were behind the Iron Curtain. In the Soviet Union and Iron Curtain countries, Georgian wines were famous. In fact, Georgia was the designated supplier of wines to the whole Soviet Union. Last week in Georgia I saw the cellars where the official wine stores of the Soviet leadership were kept: caverns blasted out of solid rock in the side of a mountain, with 8 kilometers (about 5 miles) of naturally-cooled tunnels lined with racks of wines, that took three years to build (1959-62).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Video: The American with the other Georgia on his mind

10.07.2012 Yesterday BBC posted a video in its News Magazine, entitled "The American with the other Georgia on his mind" (click here to watch video):

American artist John H Wurdeman was drawn to the former Soviet state of Georgia by the country's folk music. Sixteen years later he is still living there, immersed in a culture he says is full of tradition and emotion.

Georgia is a place of "very real tears but also very genuine laughter", says the impressionist painter, 37, who trained at the Surikov Institute in Moscow, Russia. Wurdeman went to Georgia in 1996 and settled in the town of Signaghi, in the centre of the country's wine region. He lives there with his wife Ketevan and their two children and now runs a winery, Pheasant's Tears, dedicated to preserving Georgian wine culture. He tells the BBC about his passion for art and wine and why Georgians are more prepared to express emotions to strangers. 

Brandy "Sarajishvili" received gold medals and the Grand Prix

10.07.2012 (Hvino News) Brandy "Sarajishvili" received gold medals and grand prix at competition "Yalta. Golden Griffin - 2012", which was held July 1-8 in the Ukrainian city of Yalta. 200 wines and brandies from 16 countries were presented at the competition.

"Sarajishvili" presented three types of brandy: 8-10 years of aging "Sarajishvili VSOP", a 20-year old "Sarajishvili XO" and 70 year old "Sarajishvili jubilee"."Sarajishvili VSOP" and "Sarajishvili XO" were awarded with the gold medal, "Sarajishvili Jubilee" got the highest award of the competition - "Grand Prix".

© Hvino News

Monday, July 9, 2012

Georgian wine in wait of Russian palates to cleanse

07.07.2012. Georgia was synonymous with wine during the Soviet period. When the empire collapsed, wine producers were hit hard, and they didn’t really begin to make a serious recovery until now. Wine producers have high hopes for the reopening of the Russian market after Russia has become a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The blue grape known as Saperavi only exists in Georgia and is considered to be the progenitor of several modern varieties of blue grapes. Teliani Valley, a wine producer, is included in the Bering Central Asia fund, which is also partially owned by East Capital's investment company, East Capital Explorer. "Russia was in a class of its own as the largest market, so its potential is really high," said David Östby, Investment Manager at East Capital and member of the Board of Directors of Georgia's largest wine producer, Teliani Valley.