Sunday, November 10, 2013

Georgia lobbies for inclusion of qvevri wine-making method in UNESCO's Intangible Heritage List

10.11.2013 (Hvino News) Georgia is working on inclusion of the country's traditional way of wine making into UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze told journalists after the meeting with the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova in Paris. Georgia's Foreign Minister took part in the work of the 37th session of UNESCO's General Conference.

"We want the tradition of making of the Georgian wine, which is called qvevri wine to be included into UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage this year," Panjikidze said.The issue of giving the status of "Intangible Cultural Heritage" to this method of wine-making was discussed in Tbilisi in February 2012 at the coordination meeting with participation of representatives from UNESCO's National Commission, Patriarchate of Georgia, different agencies, international and non-governmental organizations, as well as Georgian winemakers.

Georgia joined UNESCO Convention for the "Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage" in 2007. The Georgian folklore has already been included in the list of the world's intangible cultural heritages. Earlier, according to the Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili's decree, the Georgian  qvevri (clay jug for wine) wine was declared a monument of cultural heritage and was granted the category of national importance.

The Intangible Cultural Heritage programme was established in 2008, when the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage took effect.  The UNESCO lists includes, for example, Armenian cross-stones khachkars and Argentinian tango.

© Hvino News   |  DRINK GEORGIAN!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Georgia takes part in WWTG session in Washigton

09.11.2013 (Hvino News).  Chairman of the National Wine Agency Levan Davitashvili participated in annual meeting of World Wine Trade Group (WWTG). The plenary meeting was held on November 6-8 in Washington, USA.

Signing of document, which regulates requirements on wine labeling, such as allowable deviation of alcohol content, harvest/vintage, grape varieties and wine regions.

Besides, discussion is scheduled on ways for reaching agreement on limits establishment for pesticides' use as well as other problems of winemaking.

The Agency declared that WWTG meeting in 2014 might be held in Georgia.

WWTG is informal alliance of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Georgia, New Zealand, South Africa and the US, aiming at trade facilitation between member states.

© Hvino News   |  DRINK GEORGIAN!

Mikheil Saakashvili and Georgian winemakers attend wine festival in Merano, Italy

09.11.2013 (Hvino News). The outgoing president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili along with the team of Georgian wine makers attended the opening of the wine festival in Merano, Italy.

Mikheil Saakashvili addressed the participants. “I’m from the country that is the homeland of wine historically and Greeks took it from Georgia through Black Sea to various countries. Today we have 500 varieties of Georgian wine. To me it’s very important to be here with you today. By this I promote Georgian wine. I’m accompanied by the team of Georgian wine makers. We have recently created wine associations in Georgia and it’s very important to have partner relations with you and to deepen this cooperation to promote Georgian wine in European market”, The President of Georgia said.

Wine Festivals have been held in Merano for 20 years. Georgian wine companies are represented in Merano for the first time. The following companies are represented:

© Hvino News   |  DRINK GEORGIAN!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Georgian wine at Hong Kong fair

08.11.2013 (Hvino News). The sixth HKTDC Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair, one of the largest fairs of its kind in Asia, opened on November 6 with more than 1,000 exhibitors from 40 countries and regions.

Georgia is represented in this three day event (7-9 November), taking place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). According to official list, 10 Georgian wine companies and Georgian Wine Association will be present at Hong Kong Fair at a single booth 3C-E02:

  • Bagrationi 1882
  • Besini Company Ltd
  • Corporation Georgian Wine Ltd
  • JSC Sarajishvili
  • Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking
  • Tbilvino
  • Winery Khareba Ltd
  • Chateau Mukhrani
  • Schuchmann Wines Georgia
  • Georgian Wines & Spirits Company Ltd

Compared to last year, Georgian representation has doubled (for 2012's information see here)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Engusi Natberadze

by Kathy Sullivan

07.11.2013. Engusi Natberadze is a delightful, friendly winemaker from a family who has been making wine for generations. Engusi is proud of his wines and chacha.

Engusi Natberadze has seen the development of wine in Georgia over many years. Noting that his father and grandfather made wine here, Engusi said that his family has been making wine beyond the fourth or fifth generations. Today his vineyard is home to grapevines more than 100 years old. Some of his qvevri are 200 years old. Asked if he ever recoated the inside of the qvevri with beeswax, he said that even the oldest qvevri had never been recoated.


The white grapevines in the vineyard include Tsolikouri, Mtsvane and Kudurauli. Red varieties are Aleksandrouli, Mujuretuli, Dzelshavi, Aladasturi, Kapistoni and Otskhanuri Sapere.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Georgian wine comes to Korea

05.11.2013. Georgia is one of the oldest wine producing regions in the world.  Archaeologists believe that the world’s first cultivated grapevines came from an area where Georgia sits, the South Caucasus valleys, more than 8,000 years ago.  With such a deep history of wine production, the beverage has become an inseparable part of the country’s identity.

For this reason Georgian Ambassador to Seoul, Nikoloz Apkhazava, felt a fundamental part of incorporating Georgian culture into the Republic of Korea was to begin importing Georgian wine. He began this endeavor shortly after his country opened an embassy in Seoul in 2012.

The importance of wine is even articulated in the country’s language.  “The word wine comes from the Georgian word ghvino.  Georgia also literally translates to “tiller”, explains Apkhazava.

Official: Georgia's wine export statistics for October 2013

06.11.2013 (Hvino News). According to the Georgian Wine Agency total of 6,733,221 bottles of wine (0.75l) was exported to 21 countries in October, 2013. The overall export as of October amounts to 33,188,949 (0.75 L) bottles, being 81% higher compared to last year's same period.

Five leading export destinations of Georgian wine are as follows: Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Poland, where Russia holds 40% of total volume of exports. Latvia and China are on 6th and 7th places in volumes respectively.

Exports in value as of October 2013 amounted to more than US$100 mln, which is already 19% higher than last year's total.

© Hvino News   |  DRINK GEORGIAN!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Simon Chkheidze's wine cellar

by Kathy Sullivan

05.11.2013.Over the years, Simon Chkheidze in Meore, Imereti, Georgia has sought to produce quality wines before making them available to the public. He expects to bottle his first wines from the 2014 vintage. Simon is focused on producing and exporting quality wines made with the Otskhanuri Sapere grape.

After walking to the vineyards, we enjoyed tasting an Otskhanuri Sapere wine that winemaker and owner Simon Chkheidze produced. The wine tasting was at a long wood table near several qvevri buried in the soil. Nearby sits a large 150-year-old wood press.

Simon Chkheidze has a small family vineyard winery in the village of Meore, Imereti. Although he has not yet started to bottle his wines as he seeks better quality, we enjoyed the wine we tasted and believe they are likely to become well known. Simon expects to reach his goal of bottling a quality Otskhanuri Sapere wine beginning with the 2014 vintage. Eventually he would like to produce 40,000 bottles. Wine enthusiasts will want to check out this wine when it becomes available on the international market.


The 3.5 hectares (8.6 acres) of vineyards close to Simon’s marani are 30 years old. Grape varieties include Tsitska, Tsolikouri (pictured), Krakhuna and Otskhanuri Sapere.  The Otskhanuri Sapere grapes are special for him. He believes that the Otskhanuri Sapere variety is unique and relatively unknown but produces a wonderful wine.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Georgian wine might be presented at the Vilnius summit

04.11.2013 (Hvino News). Georgian wine might be presented at the Vilnius Summit. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Georgian side is carrying out negotiations about this topic with the organizers of the Vilnius Summit.

"This topic is being discussed. We are working on it. We are negotiating with organizers of the summit to present Georgian wine at the summit", - the representative of Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. According to the Ministry, all organizational issues about how Georgia will be represented at the summit, will become known to the public.

The third Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius will be held on the 28-29 November, 2013. Highest representatives of the EU institutions, 28 EU member states and the six Eastern European partners are expected to take part in the event. Eastern Partnership Summits are held every two years.

© Hvino News   |  DRINK GEORGIAN!

Ramaz Nikoladze’s wine cellar

by Kathy Sullivan

04.11.2013. Ramaz Nikoladze’s Wine Cellar, a small family winery, is located in Western Georgia near the city of Kutaisi. When planning to visit Ramaz Nikoladze’s Wine Cellar be sure to call for an appointment and directions.

We visited the winery and vineyard of owner and winemaker Ramaz Nikoladze in his vineyard where he and his crew were busily harvesting grapes before an expected rainfall. Ramaz’s crew included an American ex-pat living in Georgia who talked about his interest into starting a winery in Georgia.


Currently Ramaz has 0.7 acres of grapes that include Tsitska and Tsolikouri. These vines are between 27 and over 100 years old.

The Nakhshirghele, Imereti area of western Georgia near Kutaisi has high humidity. As a result vineyard growers in this region use copper sulfite to control the mildew.


While harvesting the grapes, the crew was carefully hand sorting the clusters. The workers placed the grapes into small buckets. When the grape buckets were full, the grapes were carefully dumped into large plastic bags ready to be transported to the winery.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Unusual wines from the old and new worlds (The Guardian)

by David Williams

03.11.2013. Three of the best: tempt your taste buds with trio of unusual wines.

Tbilvino Qvevris, Kakheti, Georgia 2011 (£8.99, Marks and Spencer): Another bold piece of buying from the adventurous wine department at dear old Marks & Sparks, this is quite unlike anything else on their (or any other supermarket's) shelves. It's not just the fact that it comes from Georgia – a country with a long (arguably the world's longest) winemaking history and a high hipster approval rating in the sommelier community, but which rarely features on the high street. It's the way it makes use of qvevri, the traditional, buried, amphora-style clay vessels, to ferment some of the native rkatsiteli, bringing honeyed spice and herbs and a slightly chewy texture to this dry white. It's an excellent introduction to the style, although for the full, intense experience, you should check out the selection of 100%-qvevri wines from the likes of Iago Bitarishvali and Pheasant's Tears at Les Caves de Pyrene.

Source (excerpt)

Friday, November 1, 2013

8 more Georgian wine producers get registration for export to Russia

01.11.2013 (Hvino News) Russia granted permission to eight more Georgian companies for registration of alcoholic beverages for export to Russia.

State agency Rospotrebnadzor decided to admit to the state registration the following 8 companies: Aragvi, Bolero & Co, GVMT Group, Black-Sea-Wine, Kvlivo, Papris Mindvrebi, Akido, and Georgian Wines from Mukhrani Cellar, according to official website.

103 companies that produce alcoholic beverages, one company that produces beer, and seven companies that produce mineral water in Georgia are currently permitted to supply their productions to the Russian market, Rospotrebnadzor reported on October 30.

Russian experts checked about 39 Georgian enterprises that produce alcoholic and mineral beverages during their visit to Georgia in September 2013.

According to the Rospotrebnadzor, Georgian producers have brought over 6 million liters of alcoholic beverages to the territory of Russia since June. It is expected that another 2-3 million liters will be delivered by end of 2013.

© Hvino News   |  DRINK GEORGIAN!

Georgia is famed for its traditional home cooking, but watch your weight

by Mischa Moselle

01.11.2013. The Quiet Woman pub, in Georgia's Black Sea resort of Batumi, was celebrating its recent reopening. A strong smell of fresh paint was cloaked by thick cigarette smoke. From behind the bar, a teenage girl in a tartan miniskirt yelled "free beer" over the din of a cover band warbling Angels by Robbie Williams into a scratchy microphone.
Tables of chain-smoking men swayed with their pints in hand, as a Spanish football match played on big screens overhead. If there was a place to try authentic Georgian food, this pub, with its menu of burgers and chips, probably wasn't it. I left the inappropriately named pub behind, and headed out onto the deserted Piazza, Batumi's newly built town square. Its 10-storey clock tower, which doubles as a boutique hotel, was lit up and shone centre stage, but all the tables and chairs of the cafes had been moved inside until a fierce storm blew over.
In many households home-made wine is drunk with abandon 
Opposite the pub, freshly painted in wave-crest white, was a modern Georgian restaurant called Mimino, offering a beacon of light. Inside, cheery waitresses, this time in turquoise airline-style uniforms, stood ready to serve traditional food.
The port city of Batumi is the capital of Ajara, an autonomous corner of southwestern Georgia, which proudly has its own culinary heritage. At first glance, the menu did not appear easy on the hips. I pointed and ordered a selection, not knowing what to expect, except inevitable weight gain.
Vegetarian patties
First up was a steaming hot plate of Ajarian khachapuri, perfect wet-weather food. A cross between a canoe-shaped pizza and naan bread, it arrived awash with cheese and on the top wobbled an almost raw egg, swimming in a pool of butter.
Finger-thin sulguni rolls filled with cottage cheese and mint arrived on plain white plates and were moist and light, like fresh spring rolls. Still at the appetiser stage, the airline waitresses next delivered small plates of pkhali, vegetarian meatball-shaped patties, which were made of spinach, beetroot and leek. This was accompanied by plump tomatoes, balsamic glaze and lashings of dill.
Main courses were meat-centric, with signature dishes of veal chakapuli (braised chops, although usually lamb), pork odjakhuri (pork with potatoes and tomatoes, baked in a clay pot) and fried lambs' brains. I opted for filleted trout, which was flaky and filled with finely chopped walnuts and herbs.
Lakes, rivers, mountain valleys and fertile land provide a year-round bounty for Georgia and the fruits of this natural abundance can be seen daily at every meal time. During Soviet times, Georgia (the republic declared independence in 1991, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union) was famed for its home cooking and it remains the most foodie destination in the region.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Georgian chacha to export to Russia

31.10.2013. The Gomi company will begin to export the Georgian traditional  chacha (grappa) to Russia in 3-4 months, according to Georgian FM radio Commersant.

The company has already received the export certificate for Russia. Gomi plans to export one million bottles to Russia. Currently Gomi exports its products to six countries.

Another manufacturer of spirits, Ushba is also preparing to launch exports to Russia. According to director Dmitry Abesadze, negotiations with one of the largest distribution companies are already completed in Russia. Ushba already exports its products to Ukraine and Turkey.

© Hvino News   |  DRINK GEORGIAN!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Kondoli Vineyards Saperavi-Merlot grabs gold

30.10.2013. Kondoli Vineyards Saperavi-Merlot 2010 grabbed gold and a special Press Prize at 9th International Competition “Emozioni dal Mondo Merlot e Cabernet Insieme”, where 209 samples produced in 17 Countries all over the world have been tasted by 7 committee composed of 81 judges from 27 Countries. The judges were technicians, journalists and consumers.

Talking about the results of the tasting session, Sergio Cantoni, the Director of the Competition, said “The level of the samples was once again really high. OIV (Organisation International de la Vigne et du Vin) states that only the 30% of total amount of sample taking part in the Competition could be awarded. This year we had to stop at 87/100. The Competition regulation states that in order to reach the Gold Medal a sample should reach 85/100. Stopping at 87/100 we awarded Gold Medals only. It’s a great result!”

According to the competition regulations only the wines produced of Merlot or Cabernet Sovennion should be submitted. JSC Telavi Wine Cellar (Marani) submitted its Kondoli Vineyards Saperavi-Merlot 2010, which grabbed gold and a special Press Prize.

This is another big success of Marani wines at the European market and simultaneously, highlights the big potential of Georgian wines in general.

Company news

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Vinograd" company started a work on a factory design that is to be built in Georgia

29.10.2013 (Hvino News). "Commersant" radio station has learnt the company’s name which will build wine processing enterprises in Georgia on the Russian capital.

The Russian capital -based company "Vinograd" has already begun the design of one plant, and in total three enterprises are planned to be built. We are talking about a 10 million USD investment. According to the Coordinating Center of International Investment, the enterprise will be located in Kakheti and the construction will be launched as soon as the design is completed.

The center representatives claim that "Vinograd" enterprises will become the largest exporter of wine toRussia. The presentation of the enterprises will be held in December.

© Hvino News

Friday, October 25, 2013

Georgian wines winning medals at EnoExpo 2013

25.10.2013 (Hvino News) On October 25 the results of 5th ENOEXPO 2013 Winemaking Competition in Krakow, Poland, have been announced. Among the winners are Georgian wines:

Gold Medal:

winery/company’s name: SCHUCHMANN WINES GEORGIA LTD
wine name and vintage: VINOTERRA KISI WHITE DRY 2011
country of origin: GEORGIA
score: 90,4

winery/company’s name: SCHUCHMANN WINES GEORGIA LTD
wine name and vintage: VINOTERRA SAPERAVI RED DRY 2009
country of origin: GEORGIA
score: 92,0

Silver Medal:

winery/company’s name: MARANI 1915 SP. Z O.O.
producer’s name: TELAVI WINE CELLAR
wine name and vintage: MARANI KAKHETI 2011
country of origin: GEORGIA
score: 88,0

Zurab Abashidze doesn’t see any contradiction between returning Georgian product to Russia and Free trade with EU

25.10.2013. Prime Minister’s special representative for Russian relations Zurab Abashidze doesn’t see contradiction between the return of Georgian product to the Russian market and free trade regime with EU.
Abashidze commented on the 20 October statement of federal service of veterinary and phytosanitary surveillance. The Russian party states that in near the future, all restrictions on Georgian products for the Russian market will be lifted. In early October, Georgian fruit, citrus and vegetables were given the green light; our alcoholic beverage and mineral waters have been exported to Russia from July.

“It is the result of dialogue we started in late 2012. We don’t see any contradiction between the return of our products to Russian market and free trade regime with EU”, Zurab Abashidze said, who added that Georgia as a small country and limited economic space, is interested in free trade and gaining new markets in all geographic directions. 

He says that Georgia has active trade relations with Turkey, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and other leading trade partners. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Great changes in Georgia-Russia relations not expected due to Gennady Onishchenko’s resignation

24.10.2013. Georgian wine companies surveyed by Commersant radio station do not expect big changes in Russian - Georgian relations due to Gennady Onishchenko’s retirement.

Russia’s Chief Sanitary Doctor, whose name is associated with the imposition of the trade embargo against Georgia, has resigned. Tbilvino's Director General explains that Russia used the Russian Sanitary Service as an instrument by means of which blocked the Georgian products. According to Giorgi Margvelashvili, trade relations between Georgia and Russia are regulated by political relations and not by the sanitation department.

Tbilvino's position is shared by Badagoni company. Director of the company said that Gennady Onishchenko’s resignation will not affect trade relations between Russia and Georgia in terms of wine. Giorgi Shengelia believes that only political decisions have an influence on the wine business in relations with Russia.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Record of grape price for Khvanchkara

23.10.2013. Zaza Dugladze, head of Dugladze Wine Company, says that this year, varieties Alexandrouli and Mujuretuli, from which Khvanchkara wine is made, cost 8-10 lari (1 kg). In its turn, 1 bottle of Khvanchkara costs $15, and this price does not include cost of transportation, customs clearance and other expenses, he notes.

Demand on semi-sweet Khvanchkara is mainly observed in Asia and not in Europe and America.

Global demand on sweet wines is reduced, and it is basically consumed in post-Soviet countries, Dugladze notes and adds: correspondingly, Khvanchkara is very welcomed in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, so we rely on these markets.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Vintage-2013" was the most successful

22.10.2013. You will rarely see disappointed farmers with this year's vintage in Kakheti, the newspaper reports.

As the experts note, preferential loan project and opening of Russian market have facilitated successful conduction of vintage.

According to Levan Davitashvili, chairman of Wine National Agency, realization of Georgian wine is increased this year by 20% excepting Russia, while including Russian market - by 70%.

"The most significant thing is that private sector has purchased 4 times more grapes comparing to the previous years", expert Lado Uzunashvili declares and adds: "State's interference is not necessary anymore and it is very good".

As Telavi Wine Cellar notes, "Demand on Georgian wine has increased, so all companies have replenished their reserves and nobody remained with grapes for sell". The company has processed 6,000 t of grapes in this year, reaching highest mark in own history.


Monday, October 21, 2013

State companies Akura and Gruzvinpromi will not produce branded wine

21.10.2013. Chairman of National Wine Agency Levan Davitashvili said that state-owned wine companies Akura and Gruzvinpromi will not produce branded wine. They will only provide wine stock to private companies, he noted.

State companies do not compete with private companies, “they have only reserve function”, Davitashvili declared. However, he found difficulty in naming of price and form of such activity.

According to Davitashvili, state companies accounted last year for 65% of total grapes’ purchases (i.e. for 36,000-37,000 t), while this year – for up to 17% (15,000 t).

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Farmers of Kakheti Region net 100 million Lari during the vintage season

19.10.2013. The vintage season has come to an end in the Kakheti and Racha regions, where 88 companies processed more than 92,000 tons of grapes.

This year, 72 tons of the Rkatsiteli grape mainly from the Tsinandali area was purchased at 1.40 Lari per kilo, and 98 tons of Mtsvane Kakhuri from Manavi sold at 1.45 Lari per kilo. The Saparavi processing peak was observed on September 12 when during a 24 hour period, 4,500 tons were processed, which is a record figure. The Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane processing peak was observed on September 25, when 3,800 tons of grapes were processed in 24 hours.

The demand is growing for Saperavi grapes harvested in the Mukuzani, Akhasheni and Kindzmarauli regions. Because of this, the price of Saparavi per kilo increased to 2.10 Lari, up from 1.20 at the start of the harvest.

Export Sales Manager, Giorgi Teimurazashvili, of the GWS Company, noted that the demand for Georgian grapes is quite high. As such, the company purchased around 5,000 tons of the grapes.

“It should be noted that the vintage season is very well organized and successful. The Ministry of Agriculture and the National Wine Agency (NWA), in coordination with the private sector, are behind this improvement,” he said.

Friday, October 18, 2013

979 tons of grapes gathered in Racha this year

18.10.2013 (Hvino News). According to the National Wine Agency, 24 companies took part in the grape processing. They say that if in recent years the price of grapes out of which Khvanchkara is made ranged within 5 GEL per one kg, this season a kilo of Mujuretuli and Aleksandrouli grapes costs 7-8 GEL this year.

Due to the high cost, the state subsidy has not applied to Khvanchkara. The law enforcers were monitoring a vintage ongoing process in Racha. According to the National Wine Agency, the reason was to avoid confusion of the species and to get a true Khvanchkhara.

© Hvino News

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Illegal use od Sarajishvili trademark revealed

16.10.2013. Investigation Service of the Finance Ministry reported that Nika Shavliashvili was detained on a charge of illegal usage of Sarajishvili trademark and adulteration of production. Besides, Tamar Bluishvili and Ruzana Gogochashvili were reported as persons, against whom criminal proceedings are launched on this case.

The Service said that the mentioned persons produced and put in trade 427 bottles of adulterated alcoholic drinks, worth of 8,000 GEL, illegally bearing trademark of Sarajishvili, well-known brandy producer. Investigation is underway, the Service reported, noting that Criminal Code envisages imprisonment for 3-5 years for the mentioned crime.