Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Russia Lifts Seven-Year Exile for Georgian Wines

13.03.2013. Russia has lifted the seven-year ban on the import of wines from Georgia leaving the State of the erstwhile Russian Republic (USSR) in the lurch but the producers are not overly excited since the market dynamics have changed and they have found alternate markets, though the increase of business of about 10 million bottles would be welcome

In Indian mythology Lord Rama had to undergo a 14-year exile for no fault of his own. Georgia, one of the States of the erstwhile USSR had to suffer half the sentence only as the wines that were exiled in 2006 from Russia will now be allowed to enter as Russia announces lifting of the ban which crippled Georgia’s wine economy as 80% of its wine production was then shipped to this market.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Head of AGC/Hvino interviewed by Britain's "Just Drinks"

07.04.2013 (Hvino News) On March 11 the British beverage industry's leading online resource Just Drinks published two articles on Georgian  wine:  "Georgian Wine Has Moved On Since Russia Ban" and "Georgia-Russia: Winemakers realistic as export ban set to be lifted".

In the first article, Just Drinks  is publishing answers of Levan Davitashvili,  head of Georgia's National Wine Agency, to the British news resource's questions. In the article Just Drinks is also quoting Alexander Kaffka, publisher of Hvino News.  Full text of article  "Georgian Wine Has Moved On Since Russia Ban" by Andy Morton  follows below.
When Russia closed its borders to Georgian wine in 2006, it was a bitter blow for the former soviet republic's industry. Russia accounted for around 80% of Georgia's wine sales. 
But now that the ban looks set to be overturned, Georgia's wine representatives are not as excited as you might expect. That's because in the past seven years Georgia has found other countries to focus on.

Marani: CBI and Vino Revue host wine tasting in Czech Republic

12.03.2013.  Marani participated in Georgian wine tasting organised by CBI together with Vino Revue, the leading wine magazine in the Czech Republic.

The tasting was preceded by a master class showing different wines and was presented by Mr. Ivo Dvorak, 11th fold Champion Sommelier from the Czech Republic.

The Czech wine lovers showed an enormous interest to attend the master classes, but only the half of the people registered were allowed to actual presentation (40 people).

This interest in Georgian wines was also evident during the actual wine tasting when over 200 visitors, mostly the tradesmen, came to taste Georgian wines. The reactions were very positive due to the high quality of the presented wines. The following of Marani wines attracted the most of public attention: Mukuzani 2009, Rkatsiteli Chardonnay 2012, Saperavi 2012, Tsinandali 2009, Satrapezo Saperavi 2011 and Kindzmarauli 2011.

Company news

Russia's Onischenko: Georgia has not confirmed plan for second inspection

12.03.2013. Georgia has not confirmed its readiness to receive the second team of experts of Rospotrebnadzor (Russian federal supervisory agency for consumer goods quality), the chief sanitary doctor of Russia Gennady Onischenko said on Monday.

“We now prepare the second team for the inspection. We have already declared that we are ready to arrive in Georgia on 25 March, though we have no answer from Georgian side”, Onischenko said.

The first team of the Russian experts inspected Georgian wine and mineral waters’ producing companies from 25 February to 1 March. The 36 wine producing companies and 4 mineral water producing companies are allowed to present samples to be registered for the Russian market.


"The Drinks Business": Russia lifts ban on Georgian wine

by Lucy Shaw

Russia has lifted a seven-year ban on Georgian wine imports via a decision to allow 36 Georgian wineries to register their products in the country.

The wines from the former Soviet republic will go on sale in Russia in May.

The decision was made after Russian inspectors carried out the first round of sanitation checks in Georgia, according to Russia’s public health chief Gennady Onishchenko.

Monday, March 11, 2013

"China Daily": A Vintage rebirth

by Ye Jun

Tucked in the Caucasus is an ancient tradition of wine making. Ye Jun sips across the sweet spots of Georgia.

Georgia is a country where humans first discovered the art of winemaking. One of the historic cradles of wine in the world, the country is revitalizing its viticulture and other traditions. A team of six journalists was invited by the Georgian Wine Agency recently to visit the vineyard regions of the country. At the airport, we are surprised and pleased to receive a small bottle of wine in a box that was labeled: "Welcome to the land of 8,000 vintages." The back of the box says the winemaking tradition of Georgia has "passed through generations for over 8,000 years".

Coming from a country with a 5,000-year-old civilization, we Chinese journalists are curious.

Belarus to produce Georgian wines under franchise?

11.03.2013. (Hvino News) According to Belarus national television, the Minsk Sparkling Wines Factory is to produce Georgian wines under franchise. The video clip form Belarus television can be found below (in Russian).

Indeed, the website of  Minsk Sparkling Wines Factory has a section "Wines of Georgia". The section lists several types of wines, including brands such as Saperavi, Alazani Valley, Suliko, Tamarioni and others.

Interestingly, each wine brand is available in several versions of sugar content such as semi-dry, semi-sweet.

No mention of  Georgian franchise owner's company name could be found on website of the Belarussian factory.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Russian chief public health official accepted Patriarch's invitation to visit Georgia

10.03.2013 (Hvino News) Gennady Onishchenko, head of the Russia's consumer protection watchdog Rospotrebnadzor and chief public health official, confirmed that he received an invitation to visit Georgia from Ilia II, Georgian Catholicos-Patriarch, during his recent visit to Moscow. "This invitation has been repeated more than once. I accepted this invitation with gratitude and respect, regardless of the way the events develop," he said.

"As for a particular date for a visit, I expect that it might take place in a foreseeable future," Onishchenko told news agency Interfax on Saturday.

"In any development of the situation, I believe the role that the Holiest and Gracious Catholicos Ilia II plays in modern Georgia's history is hard to overestimate. It has a huge positive effect aimed at consolidating the nation and helping it to choose the right way for development, leaning on the immense and difficult historical experience that the Georgian nation possesses," said Mr. Onishchenko.

Moscow and Tbilisi agreed on a mechanism to resume wine and mineral water imports from Georgia to Russia at negotiations in Moscow in early February.

© Hvino News

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Davitashvili: Return of Georgian wine to Russia will allow to conquer other markets

09.03.2013 (Hvino News) Levan Davitashvili, head of National Wine Agency of Georgia, believes that return of Georgian wine to Russia will help to penetrate markets of Western and Eastern countries. On Friday, in the program “Arguments” of  Georgian TV, Mr. Davitashvili said that the main thing now is to maintain production quality control to cater to the growing competition every year in the wine market.

On 25th of March, Georgia expects the visit of the second group of experts from Russia's Rospotrebnadzor during which the remaining wineries which want to export  to Russian market will be inspected. Earlier the head of National Wine Agency declared that supply of Georgian wine and mineral water to Russia will be resumed in the beginning of May.

Georgia hopes to export to Russia an estimated 8-10 million bottles of wine a year, Levan Davitashvili said. He added that “this is equivalent to about 25 percent of the overall amount of Georgia’s wine exports.” Georgia exports its wines to 40 countries.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Georgia to send second delegation to Russia for wine export talks

08.03.2013 (Hvino News). Georgia will send another delegation to Russia on March 18 to explore re-entry of Georgian wines and mineral waters to the Russian market, the Agriculture Ministry said on Thursday.

Georgia sent its first agricultural delegation to Moscow for talks in early February.

Russia has also scheduled to send its second group of experts to Georgia for on-the-spot quality inspections of Georgian wines and mineral waters, after an initial round of inspection in February.

Genady Onishchenko, head of the Russian consumer goods quality watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, would visit Georgia but a date had not been decided, the Agriculture Ministry said.

© Hvino News

Official: List of Georgian companies allowed to register products in Russia

08.03.2013 (Hvino News) Russia's sanitary agency Rospotrebnadzor published on its official web page the list of producers of Georgian wine and mineral water, which may be allowed to submit documents for registration of products in Russia. According to results of first inspection of Georgian producers, the agency allowed 36 alcoholic enterprises and 4 manufacturers of mineral water to register its products in Russia. Rospotrebnadzor's list consists of following Georgian companies:

Mineral water: Aqua Geo, Borjomi, Healthy Water, Sairme Mineral Waters

Wine: Alaverdi, Askaneli Brothers, AxalSheni 2005, Badagoni, Bagrationi 1882 , Batono, Chateau Mukhrani, Corporation Georgian Wine, Corporation Kindzmarauli, Eniseli - Bagrationi, Georgian Wine House, Giorgi Mirianashvili’s Chelti, Gomi, Gruzvinprom, GWS, Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking, Kakhetian Wine Cellar, Kakhuri, Kimerioni, Kindzmarauli Cellar, Manavi Wine Cellar, Marniskari, Ozhio Cellar (Alaverdi Monastery), Sarajishvili, Schuchmann Wines Georgia, Shumi, Tbilisi Cellar, Tbilisi Wine Cellar, Tbilvino, Telavi Wine Cellar (Marani), Teliani Valley, Tsinandali Old Wine Cellar, Vazi+ , Wine Company Dugladze, Winery Khareba, Winiveria.

The desire to present its products on the Russian market was expressed by 93 Georgian enterprises.

© Hvino News

Georgian wine to flow to Russia once more

08.03.2013. In a major sign that fences are being mended between the neighbours, Georgian producers of wine and bottled water are set to finally resume exports to Russia after almost seven years of halted trade, after consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor approved dozens of companies to resume the traditional sales.

Rospotrebnadzor gave the go ahead for 36 Georgian wine makers and four mineral water producers to export their products to Russia on March 6. Agency head Gennady Onishchenko said that Russia has granted the approval following inspections of the companies.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

All you needed to know about Qvevri but were afraid to ask

Photo: lescaves.co.uk
07.03.2013. An interview with John Wurdeman of Pheasant’s Tears posted by British wine importer Les Caves de Pyrene.

Kvevri? Qvevri? Which is it?

We are spelling it “Qvevri”. There was much discussion on this; a few German importers prefer the Kv rather than Qv but I have had the Travel channel CNN, BBC and Jancis Robinson’s upcoming books on varietals and wine atlas all use the Qv spelling which the Georgian wine producers are using, so Qvevri.

The word “Qvevri” – does it literally mean amphora or does it derive from something else?

No, it doesn’t mean amphora. Amphorae were often used for transportation, or storage above ground – they often had handles and were not permanent. Qvevri is a Georgian vessel dating back over 8,000 years predating Greco-Roman traditions of winemaking. A qvevri was totally buried in the ground and not used for transportation, it was used for fermentation and storage of wine, and, being totally immersed in the earth gave it naturally stable temperatures, advantageous for both fermentation and storage. It is a vessel unique to Georgia (oldest examples date back 8,000 years) although similar interpretations are found throughout the ancient Near East and more recently, (2,000-3,000 years ago) in Italy, Spain and Portugal. The vessels used in western Europe culture are normally above ground or partially buried. Qvevri usually have a beeswax lining inside and a lime encasement outside. The few European producers that have borrowed this technology from Georgia – such as Josko Gravner – still call the vessel “Amphora” (or Anfor) on their labels, which bothers the Georgians. They feel it sounds like a Roman or Greek cultural attribute whereas this is much older and indeed derives from Georgia. The Friuli/Slovenian producers, including Gravner, bought qvevri in Georgia and learned their open-fermentation, extended skin maceration techniques here, so we hope over time to convince them to call the vessels qvevri rather than amphora!

"Financial Times": Russia & Georgia: wine tasting

by Isabel Gorst

07.03.2013. Sanitary inspectors in Russia look set to lift a ban on Georgian wine and mineral water imports imposed in 2006 for reasons that probably had more to do with politics than hygiene.

The end of the embargo would mark a small step towards the restoration of ties between the two countries that fought a war in 2008 over Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Doctor Gennady Onishchenko the head of Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s consumer protection watchdog, said 36 Georgian wine producers could submit samples of their products for inspection – a prelude to a case by case lifting of the embargo, RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Levan Davitashvili: Russia approves Georgian wine and mineral water

06.03.2013 (Hvino News) “Georgian wineries and factories successfully passed their checks in order to appear on the Russian market, and we expect further checks on March 25,” Levan Davitashvili, head of Georgia’s National Wine Agency, told reporters in Tbilisi today. The Russian consumer safety agency Rospotrebnadzor confirms that 36 Georgian wine companies and four mineral water producers are ready to enter the Russian market, effectively lifting a seven-year ban on imports from the former Soviet republic.

A total of 93 Georgian companies have sought to resume shipments to Russia, and 40 more firms may be inspected as part of a second round of health checks, Davitashvili said.

On Wednesday the agency  published a list of products which have been approved after the inspection procedure. Among the approved products there is well-known mineral water Borjomi; among wines are Bagrationi 1882, Badagoni, Kindzmarauli Marani, Sarajishvili, Teliani Valley and others (for official list in Russian, click here).

Russia to allow imports from 36 Georgian wineries after 7-year ban

06.03.2013 (Hvino News) Russia will allow about 200 Georgian wines from 36 wineries, and mineral water from four producers, to register their products. This will put an end to seven-year ban on imports from the former Soviet republic.  The decision was made following the first round of sanitation checks carried out in Georgia by Russian inspectors, the state-run news service RIA Novosti said, citing Russia’s public health chief, Gennady Onishchenko.

Rospotrebnadzor experts have so far inspected 37 Georgian wineries out of 93, which had expressed their wish to resume imports. The remainder will be checked during the second probe, which may start on March 25, Onishchenko said, adding the watchdog will also make a decision on whether to import chacha, Georgian grape brandy.

“During the first inspection, 37 alcohol-producing enterprises and four mineral water producers were checked. We will not admit one of the alcohol producers [to the Russian market] because things must be put in order there. All the other 36 enterprises can start registering their wines and brandy [in Russia],” Onishchenko said.

‘Ravings of political terrorist’: Georgian businessmen apologize for Saakashvili outburst

06.03.2013. The Russian-Georgian Center of Economic Development has expressed hope that Georgian wine will soon return to Russian markets and advised to pay no attention to protests voiced by President Saakashvili.

In a letter forwarded to Russia’s Chief Sanitary Inspector Gennady Onishchenko, the businessmen noted that the two countries are taking positive steps to restore economic and cultural ties.

“Despite the absence of diplomatic relations we have overcome all difficulties and a delegation of the Russian consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor paid a visit to Georgia. We hope that no one will obstruct the processes that have started,” the message reads.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Amphorae, folklore and memory

by Vincent Pousson

05.03.2013. “Voleur d'amphores, au fond des criques” (thief of amphorae deep into the coves), sang Bashung, and little did he know that he was also writing the soundtrack of my life at the time; it was so fitting and as hopeless. D'estrade en estrade, j'ai fait danser tant de malentendus, des kilomètres de vie en rose… (From stage to stage, I made so many misunderstandings dance, miles of Vie en rose...) Between those disreputable nights where lies spiced up antics on the carpet and the days spent away from reality, an authentic dealer from Agde told me about the differences between true and false amphorae, their weight, their appearance, their handles. Near the white skin of the Consuegra mills whose vision made my nose sting, we admired these decorative “tinajas”* in which, just before the onset of stainless steel, wine growers from La Mancha developed their old wines, ultimately no worse than the new. J'ai fait l'amour, j'ai fait le mort (I made love, I played dead). “Aliam vitam, alio mores” (Other times; other customs), only faded photos remain, terribly jolly, excerpts from a body that was supposedly offered, smiles which were just as fake as the nights featured in Bashung’s song. I did, I answered a "mountain of questions". Moving on now.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Official: Georgian wine export stats February 2013

04.03.2013. According to Georgian National Wine Agency, during February 2013 Georgia exported 1,350,000 liters of wine in 0,75 l bottles to 23 countries. Total exports as of February 2013 is 1,900,000 liters. This is 28% higher than during the same period of 2012.

Top 5 export destinations for Georgian wines are: Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus,  Latvia and Poland, with Ukraine topping by 44% of total Georgian wine exports.

Information (in Georgian) for wine producers regarding export to Russia can be found here.

Source: official information of Georgian National Wine Agency
Important Notice:  Effective 01.03.2013, Hvino News and Hvino-Новости are official information partners of Georgian National Wine Agency.

Georgian minister is confident about quality of wine but concerned about counterfeits abroad

04.03.2013 (Hvino News) Georgia's Agriculture Minister Davit Kirvalidze said on Saturday he is confident that Georgian wine which is expected to return to the Russian market this spring will be of best quality.

“I can see no danger in this. Georgian wine exports will have the same certificates as they do have today for 40 world markets. I see another danger: unfortunately, the wines may be falsified outside Georgia’s borders. That’s why we are working on this issue,” Kirvalidze told Rustavi 2 TV. He said Georgia’s agriculture ministry has its own proposals on the measures against falsified Georgian products.

The second round of talks on the issue will take place on March 18, according to Mr. Kirvalidze. It is expected that the export of Georgian beverages to Russia will resume in May.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Russian, Georgian top diplomats talk about relations improvement, including wine export and visa regime

02.03.2013 (Hvino News) According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Deputy Russian Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, and the Georgian Prime Minister’s special envoy, Zurab Abashidze, pointed out some positive changes in Russian-Georgian relations in recent months, during their meeting in Prague. Russian and Georgian top diplomats met on Friday to discuss visa regime, wine exports to Russia, direct flights between Moscow and Tbilisi and other issues.

“Both sides are satisfied with the results, they are convinced that our unofficial contacts have a future. We tentatively agreed to hold the next meeting in May. Its location will be discussed later, but it might be Prague,” Karasin said after the talks.

He described the meeting as “constructive,” saying that it allowed making a step forward on a number of practical issues, such as the visa regime and resumption of direct flights between the two states.

New wine in old bottles: Israeli families try their hand at backyard winemaking

A software engineer turned vintner brings ancient wine casks from his native Georgia home to the family farm; another family uses a slightly newer technique in their backyard vineyard.

by Ronit Vered

02.03.2013. You can’t get enough of the large earthenware casks. They’re as tall as a man, they have the shape of huge eggs, like mythological creatures, and in a rather illogical way, stand on a very small and narrow base.

The 21 fat-bellied wine casks − hand-made by expert craftsmen who inherited the trade from their forefathers − were brought by the Slutzkin family from Georgia, the cradle of wine culture and one of the first places where grapevines were domesticated. Local experts on the history of wine claim that wine was fermented in similar casks in the ancient Land of Israel, and the fermented product of its vines became famous among the nations of the region.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Russian retailer and Georgian winemakers comment on conditions of product entry to Russian market

01.03.2013. One of Georgian winemakers revealed information in social network that Russia's largest supermarket Sedmoi Kontinent demanded  2 million USD  from his company for selling its  products. According to the entrepreneur, this system is very corrupt in Moscow.

Management of Winery Khareba denies demand of  a fee in exchange for the entry in the Russian retail chains. According to the company’s representative Beka Khergiani, they are holding  talks with  five largest Russian companies and no one demanded  to pay "commission charges" from them. Khergiani notes that  the Russian supermarkets have the same conditions of products entry as in other states of the former Soviet Union. "Nobody asked the commission charges, they have different requirements, regarding prices, which need to be within certain limits," – Khergiani says. However, in her words, many companies impose such a fee, including even Carrefour [editor's note: Carrefour is not operating in Russia - HN].

Russian version of "Hvino News" is launched today

01.03.2013 (Hvino News). Today Hvino News is pleased to launch  its Russian language version officially. Hvino-Novosti (Hvino-Новости) is the Russian arm of Hvino News, which since last spring has gained recognition as the first and only news site on Georgian wine with daily updates.

Hvino-Novosti is published in cooperation with the National Wine Agency of Georgia (click here for official announcement at the Agency's site).

The new information resource will contribute to international promotion of Georgian products to Russian speaking audience, especially in the view of resumption of Georgian wine export to Russia.

According to the editor of Hvino-Novosti,  "We have created a single, easy-to-use source of information on Georgian wine industry for the international English-speaking audience. Now we are expanding our target group to the multi-million Russian-speaking audience. It is important to note that content of English and Russian sites are not identical. In fact, we have created a new information channel: Nvino News and Hvino-Novosti  are actually two independent resources, targeted at different types of readership. However, a common base for both of them is information of National Wine Agency, with which we are partnering. We believe this partnership is fundamental for ensuring high quality of our information".

Gennady Onishchenko plans to visit Georgia soon

01.03.1013 (Hvino News). Russian consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor head Gennady Onishchenko told Russian media on Thursday that he might visit Georgia. Mr. Onishchenko said that he planned to visit Georgia after his experts return to Moscow.

"It might happen, though Onishchenko himself is to make the decision," - the Georgian agriculture minister said David Kirvalidze stated.

Experts from the Russian consumer protection service would continue inspecting wineries and were scheduled to leave Friday, the minister said. "As per the agreement, the Russian experts will not make a statement on the visit until they return to Moscow," Kirvalidze said. In seven to ten days, a second delegation will arrive in Georgia to inspect the remaining factories willing to export wine to Russia, he said. "Then the inspection will be completed entirely," he said.

© Hvino News