Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tbilisi's young wine festival date announced

31.03.2013 (Hvino News). The fourth festival of young wine will take place in Tbilisi on May 11.

Wine companies and individual producers will contribute to the annual event, which last year had attracted about 15 000 visitors. Wine Club and Municipality of Tbilisi are organizers of the festival. According to them, in 2013 there will be more individual producers represented at the festival.

The usual site of the open-air festival is Ethnographic Museum in Tbilisi. For 2012's festival report, see here.

© Hvino News

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Georgia and other World Wine Trade Group countries adopt new labeling treaty protocol

30.03.2013 (Hvino News) Members of the World Wine Trade Group (WWTG) agreed on a new Treaty Protocol on Wine Labeling in New Zealand last week. Georgia is member of WWTG, topether with New Zealand, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, South Africa and the United States of America.

In 2007, the WWTG negotiated a Treaty on Wine Labelling which set new standards in the field. The Protocol takes this further by requiring participant countries to allow the importation and sale of wine from other signatories, provided it meets minimum standards for labeling (relating to alcohol tolerance, variety, vintage and wine region), and the exporting country’s laws and regulations. As per the New Zealand government’s statement following the agreement, the key benefits of the Protocol for producers are that, once in force, it should provide enhanced access to overseas markets, enhanced predictability about regulation in key markets and will set a useful benchmark for WWTG observer countries and other non-members. “I’m pleased that New Zealand has marked its year as chair of the WWTG by the negotiation of this Protocol”, said New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser.

Friday, March 29, 2013

‘Wine country’ Georgia eyes closer relations with Korea

29.03.2013 (Hvino News) In an interview with The AsiaN at the Georgian Embassy in Seoul, Georgian Ambassador to Korea Nikoloz Aphkhazava told about the new stage in Korea-Georgia relations. Mr. Aphkhazava also mentioned importance of wine and tourism in Georgia:

"Georgia has been very famous for its wine. It was confirmed a few years ago that Georgia is the cradle of wine, with a history going back more than 7,000 years. We have 500 types of grapes endemic to Georgia and 100 types of wine".

Last year, about 4 million tourists visited Georgia, almost equivalent to our population. Tourists come from everywhere, but the majority is from Europe. 2,500 tourists came from Korea last year.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Kindzmarauli Marani and Dugladze Wine House became first Georgian wineries to get access to Russian market

28.03.2013 (Hvino News). Two Georgian wine producers are allowed to export to Russia: Kindzmarauli Marani and Dugladze Wine House.

Russia's regulator Rospotrebnadzor gave the "green light" to these two Georgian producers for the supply of wine to Russia, Russian news agency Interfax reported today.

"The question has been fundamentally resolved. They are allowed to prepare industrial batches," the head of Rospotrebnadzor, chief sanitary doctor of the Russian Federation Gennady Onishchenko said on Thursday.

According to the head of Rospotrebnadzor, over 40 types of alcoholic beverages of the two companies are now registered in Russia.

After the new government came to power in Georgia last autumn, talks started between Russia and Georgia about lifting the Russian embargo on Georgian wine and mineral water. The ban was introduced in 2006 shortly after Georgia accused four Russian diplomats of  espionage, but came formally as a decision by Russia’s consumer safety agency Rospotrebnadzor  to ban wine from Georgia and Moldova because of impurities. Later Russia also banned Georgian mineral water.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Master Of Wine Isabelle Legeron launches her own Georgian wine brand

27.03.2013. Isabelle Legeron - the first French female Master of Wine, Travel Channel presenter and founder of RAW artisan wine fair - has launched her own natural wine, Lagvini.

Lagvini is the product of an exciting joint venture between Isabelle and Eko Glonti, who met and became close friends while filming for Isabelle's show, 'That Crazy French Woman in Georgia' for the Travel Channel and decided to go into business together, to produce Georgian fine wine.

Lagvini is a natural, orange wine, fermented and aged in kvevri - traditional Georgian clay pots buried deep underground. This ancient winemaking method, from 6000 BC, is the oldest in the world.

The wine is made from organic Rkatsiteli grapes grown in Kakheti, eastern Georgia, in the foothills of the Caucasus. The winery works closely with local, artisan grape growers, using indigenous grape varieties and ancient winemaking techniques, to promote sustainable Georgian farming and preserve its rich cultural heritage.

National Wine Agency's head: return to Russian market does not mean giving up other markets

27.03.2013 (Hvino News). Chairman of National Wine Agency Levan Davitashvili said at yesterday's briefing that the Agency will host the second delegation of Russian Rospotrebnadzor's officials on April 1.

A 6-member delegation would arrive in Tbilisi to inspect 40 companies. According to Mr. Davitashvili, the delegation will be divided into three groups, as enterprises located in three west Georgian regions of Racha, Adjara and Samegrelo will be visited.

According to Davitashvili, companies which have been approved are now registering for export and the majority of them are finished submitting the necessary documents.

"As far as we know, there is great interest and demand in the Russian market and in some cases the supply prevails. In this case, we will not care only about volumes because the quality should be maintained. The role of the government will be finished after companies’ registration is completed. Later we will help companies only in communication," - Levan Davitashvili notes.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gennady Onishchenko: Georgian wine's comeback to Russia is a matter of days

26.03.2013. The Federal Consumer Protection Service is looking to allow imports of some Georgian wines and brandies in the next few days, its chief Gennady Onishchenko said Tuesday.

"These products have been registered, and tests show they comply with our requirements," he said, Interfax agency reported. According to Onishchenko, the pending entry of 22 types of Georgian alcoholic beverages into a state register will open the door for their imports. The products will be 17 wine brands and five brandies, he said.

Work is ongoing to give the go-ahead to mineral water from the country, he added. The Federal Consumer Protection Service is about to authorize wine and brandy imports after it sent inspectors to examine quality standards at several Georgian companies in the industry in February and March.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Wine trade between Poland and Georgia is improving

25.03.2012 (Hvino News) Representatives from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, the Embassy of Poland in Georgia and Polish businessmen say that the economic relationship between Poland and Georgia in the wine sector is improving.

“Poland is the leading importer country of Georgian wine. Its export to Poland is increasing year on year and reached a total value of USD 2.7 million in 2012, which is 21 percent higher than the data of 2011. Trade relations between the two countries are developing and improving,” said Genadi Arveladze, Head of the Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations Department at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, as quoted by The Financial.

“It is also notable that regional cooperation between Poland and Georgia is very active nowadays. This is proven by the fact that there are seven twinned cities between the two countries. We will be seeing improvements in bilateral cooperation in the fields of agriculture, energy, the environment, tourism, attracting investments, culture and healthcare. The joint Georgian-Poland intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation affairs has been working on these issues since 2010,” Arveladze said.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Georgian Agriculture Minister and wine industry representatives held press conference at Germany's ProWein fair

24.03.2013 (Hvino News). Georgia is participating in ProWein 2013, one of largest wine fairs in Europe being held in Dusseldorf, Germany on March 24-26. David Kirvalidze, Minister of Agriculture of Georgia, took part in press conference held today at ProWein.

Press conference, organized by Georgian wine industry representatives including National Wine Agency, Georgian Wine Association, and private companies, was attended by over 30 representative of international mass media accredited at ProWein.

Minister of Agriculture briefed the journalists about the export potential of Georgia's wine industry, and its role in national culture. He introduced the government's general economic policy and new approaches in agriculture.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Georgia to host international wine tourism conference in 2014

22.03.2013 (Hvino News) Georgia successfully participated in 5th International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC) in Zagreb, Croatia, on 15 - 16 March, being also one of main sponsors of the Conference (read more: Georgia to sponsor wine tourism conference in Zagreb and Georgian wines at IWINETC 2013 in Zagreb).

It was announced that next year, Georgia will be the host country for IWINETC '2014. A special presentation reflecting the trends of tourism development in Georgia as well as the capacity and infrastructure of wine tourism, was held at conference in Zagreb. It was noted that in recent years Georgia has made significant progress in the development of this type of tourism.

Teliani Valley receives $2 million from OPIC

22.03.2013 (Hvino News) Wine producer Teliani Valley has received funding of $ 2 million from the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) as second tranche.

Teliani Valley has been allocated an $8 million loan package to finance the development of its processing equipment, purchase new vineyards and increase export. The transaction was carried out on the basis of the $15 million worth project, drawn up by the parties in 2011. Of this amount, a long-term loan of $ 8 million will be provided by OPIC, and $7 million invested by the Georgian company itself. The annual interest rate of the loan is 5.5% over a 10-year term period. Teliani Valley also uses $7 million from its own private funds to further develop the planned projects.

The first tranche of the project worth $ 5 million was released in January 2012 and spent for the construction of a new venture for the production of champagne and development of grape farms. The second tranche will cover the development of the tourist course of the company, expansion of wine production and export growth in the U.S.

OPIC is the largest U.S. government organization that reports directly to Congress and contributes to the development of private business backed by American capital in different countries of the world. 25% of Teliani Valley belongs to American investment fund Firebird Avrora.

© Hvino News

New-to-China wines struggle to make themselves known to domestic consumers

By Jiang Yuxia

22.03.2013. The wine consumption market in China continues to show its strong potential for growth after it became the world's fifth largest wine consumer in 2011. While France remains China's primary supplier of imported wines, followed by Australia, according to the London-based International Wine and Spirits Research Company, wines that are new to China have also been making a splash in the market over the past few years.

The late-comers to the scene include wines from Georgia, Austria, Greece, Moldova and India. While wine consumption among Chinese is mostly driven by big brands with a focus on price, wine importers and distributors hope to see the newer labels make a name for themselves here.

Georgia is one of the world's oldest wine producing regions. Officially introduced to China with the Embassy's blessing in March 2011, Georgian wines, from the country in the Caucasus region of Europe, now have about 20 brands available on the Chinese market, and can be found in wine retailers such as the high-end club of Ontime in Beijing's Friendship Hotel in Haidian district and the Charming Wines Company in Chaoyang district, which will hold weekly Eastern European wine tastings in Sanlitun starting in May.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Georgia at Dusseldorf wine show will be represented by Minister of Agriculture and leading wine producers

19.03.2013 (Hvino News) On March 24-26 Georgia will participate in ProWein in Dusseldorf, Germany - one of  largest wine fairs in Europe. Together with the National Wine Agency, 12 companies will be represented at Stand B52 in Hall 6. David Kirvalidze, Minister of Agriculture of Georgia, is planning to attend the event.

In recent years Georgia has been active participant of ProWein. In 2013, the following companies will be present at ProWein: Besini Company Ltd., Corporation Georgian Wine, Georgian Wine Association, JSC Corporation Kindzmarauli, JSC Telavi Wine Cellar, JSC Teliani Valley Wine, Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking, Kakhuri Ltd, Schuchmann Wines, Tbilvino, Tiflisi Marani Ltd, Wine Man Ltd., Winery Khareba Ltd. They will be showing dozens of wines including unique and indigenous wine types. Tasting of Georgian wines will be opened at Georgian stand.

In the framework of the wine fair, press conference with David Kirvalidze, Minister of Agriculture of Georgia, Levan Davitashvili, Chairman of National Wine Agency, and representatives of the Georgian Wine Association will be held on 24 March at 11:00 AM. This high-level event will provide media with an exclusive insight into the Georgian wine industry.

Russia may delay second inspection of Georgian wineries

19.03.2013 (Hvino News). Russia said Monday that it may postpone new inspections of wine and mineral water producing plants in Georgia, in a hold-up that threatens to further drag out the resumption of imports to Russia.

Consumer right watchdog Rospotrebnadzor accused Georgia of failing to provide the necessary package of documents required for the follow-up visit by Russian specialists. It also said that Georgia has added more companies to its list for inspection, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Further complicating the process of resuming imports, Georgian wine and water producers last week said they were unable to supply product specimens to Russia due to difficulties in obtaining visas for company representatives.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Wine, fruit from Georgia knock on Russia’s door

17.03.2013 (Hvino News). Georgia is sending a delegation of farming officials to Moscow this week to look into the progress of efforts to resume the export of Georgian wine, mineral water and fruit to the Russian Federation.

The Georgian delegation will visit Moscow to discuss with the Russian food security watchdog leadership issues of  import of agricultural products to the Russian market, according to Giga Kurdovadze of National Food Agency, Georgian Ministry of Agriculture.

He said the visit is planned after March 20 but no exact date was mentioned. The group consists of 7 specialists including veterinary plant oversight bodies representatives.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Georgia at The Real Wine Fair in London

17.03.2013 (Hvino News) 12 Georgian natural wine makers are participating in The Real Wine Fair in London, which is also attended by the head of Georgia's National Wine Agency Levan Davitashvili.

John Wurdeman of  Pheasant’s Tears winery is scheduled to present seminar on “How tradition has become the cutting edge of Georgian wine” on Sunday 17th March at 2.00 pm.

Georgian winemakers will be bringing their inimitable brand of Georgian hospitality to Terroirs Wine Bar for one night. Terroirs is delighted to host its first Georgian “Supra”. This gastronomic event will take place on Tuesday 19th March at Terroirs Wine Bar, 5 William IV Street, WC2N 4DW. The meal starts at 7.30 pm and will consist of wines from all the growers present accompanying small dishes featuring a wide array of typical Georgian delicacies.

The Real Wine Fair is an artisan growers’ event featuring small wine growers who work organically and/or biodynamically. It is being held on 17th – 18th March 2013 at Tobacco Dock, Wapping, E1W 2SF. More information here.

© Hvino News

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian labs confirm Georgian wine quality

16.03.2013 (Hvino News) Officially accredited test laboratories of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus have confirmed high quality of Georgian wine, according to Madona Koidze, Chairperson of Georgian Consumer Federation.

The Inter-Republican Confederation of Consumer Societies (Konfop) proposed the joint tests at the Russian initiative, she said on Friday. The confederation unites 42 leading consumer rights organizations of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

“We were ahead of the authorities – we have purchased wine produced by Bagadoni and Askaneli Brothers and Sarajishvili brandy and held joint tests at accredited laboratories of the three countries. Tests showed the beverages were of high quality and met safety norms,” Koidze said.

In her words, Konfop board chairman Dmitry Yanin is a member of the advisory council of Rospotrebnadzor, which means Russia will learn the test results.

Number of vineyards decreases in Georgia

16.03.2013 According to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Statistics, the number of vineyards in Georgia has decreased in recent years. Under the former government some farmers began replacing grapevines with watermelons and other fruits because the wine market was so unprofitable. This eventually damaged the production of grapes and consequently of wine and spirits. Now that Russia has rescinded its ban on Georgian wine there is the prospect that Georgian wine exports will significantly increase. Increasing wine production to meet this growing demand will be a challenge for the Ministry of Agriculture and local governments in the wine-growing regions of Georgia.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Georgian wines at IWINETC 2013 in Zagreb

15.03.2013 (Hvino News) Georgia participates in 5th International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC) in Zagreb, Croatia, on 15 - 16 March.  Georgia is also one of main sponsors of the Conference (read more: Georgia to sponsor wine tourism conference in Zagreb).

On Saturday March 16th IWINETC closes with a tasting of Georgian wines. “Bolomde!” – bottoms up!

The first word most tourists to Georgia learn is “guamarjos!” – cheers! Long thought to be the birthplace of wine and supported by archaeologists finding wine vessels from 6000 years ago and ancient architecture with frescos of grape vines; this is a wine country.

Bringing wine made from Saperavi, Georgia’s most prominent red wine varietal identifiable by it’s pomegranate color and velvety structure, are wineries Winiveria, Khareba, and Shumi. Also taste Chateau Mukhrani’s Seperavi which delivers on mulberry, blackberry and cherry aromas.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Georgian wine expected at Russian market at the end of April

14.03.2013. According to the forecast of the companies interviewed by Georgian radio, Georgian wine sales will begin in the Russian market in a few months.

Kindzmarauli Marani's director says that the next step after inspection is products registration on the Russian market, but this process could last until April. It  is  expected Georgian wine to appear on Russian store shelves by the end of next month. Dimitri Lebanidze notes that this year the company plans to export about 300 thousand bottles and negotiations with two distribution companies entered the final stage. Lebanidze still considers Georgian wine as a rival in Russian market and says that his company intends to exploit all the big cities of Russia. As for prices, the average sale price will start from 3 USD and on the store shelves wine price will reach 10 USD.

Askaneli Brothers is also going to start sales on the Russian market in the near future. As the company's founder said, the next stage after inspection is products registration. According to Jimmy Chkhaidze, the company is in talks with its partner distribution company, but the amount of wine that is expected to be exported to the Russian market, is not known at this stage. The company plans to sell products in every major city. Askaneli Brothers products will be meant for average income segment, but its cost on the Russian store shelves is unknown.


The Vine Guy: A historical lesson on Georgian wines

by Scott Greenberg
Wine Columnist, The Washington Examiner

14.03.2013. One of the benefits of writing a wine column is it is mostly subjective. Aromas and flavors can be as personal as one's taste in abstract art. However, on very rare occasions, my enthusiasm can supplant specific details.

Such an error was brought to my attention last week by alert reader Christopher T. He read my column on Greek wines and took exception to the first sentence, "Greece is considered by many to be the birthplace of wine." He correctly noted that while the Greek wine industry dates back to around 4,000 B.C., there is evidence of a thriving winemaking trade in and around the area that is now known as the Republic of Georgia as well as parts of Turkey (that were formerly Georgian) that date all the way back to 8,000 B.C. To support his point, he referenced author Patrick E. McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania, whose books "Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages" and "Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture" explore the cultural and economic evolution of ancient Georgia (and other areas) though wine.

Georgia says wine registration in Russia stalls over visas

14.03.2013. Georgian wine and mineral water producers cannot supply specimens of their products to Russia due to difficulties in obtaining visas for company representatives, Georgia’s National Wine Agency said Wednesday.

Earlier Russia’s chief sanitary doctor Gennady Onishchenko, who heads the consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, said he asked the Russian Foreign Ministry to help Georgian wine and water suppliers to streamline the procedure of delivering product samples for registration in Russia. He said only one Georgian manufacturer has submitted specimens so far.

“There is a problem with issuing visas, which is why it is hard for companies to deliver specimens to Russia,” the wine agency said. “As far as we know, Rospotrebnadzor has asked the Russian Foreign Ministry to assist us in the issue, but so far we have received no signals that the process can be simplified.”

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Georgian art of drinking and toasting

By Paul Rimple

13.03.2013. David Manjiashvili slipped on his high-tops early one morning, intent on finally getting his father off his back by going for what would be the first of a program of jogs to reduce his expansive stomach.

As he shut the front door, Manjiashvili met his neighbor, who was coming home after a long night of celebrating and wanted to continue. Manjiashvili resisted the invitation, explaining that he was going for a run, but his neighbor was relentless. "Just one," he implored.

There is never "just one" in Georgia. Needless to say, Manjiashvili never went jogging again.

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.