Monday, February 16, 2015

11 Georgian wines win awards at China's CWSA Best Value 2015

16.02.2015 (Hvino News). 11 Georgian wines have won prizes at CWSA (China Wine & Spirits Awards) Best Value 2015. The CWSA, based in Hong Kong, is the biggest wine and spirits competition in China.

The Georgian prize-winners are:

Double Gold
Tamada Kindzmarauli
Georgian Wines and Spirits Company
Double Gold
Double Gold
Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvest
Chateau Mukhrani
Chateau Mukhrani
Tamada Saperavi
Georgian Wines and Spirits Company

Japan women’s wine contest awards two Georgian wines

16.02.2015 (Hvino News). Two Georgian wines have won prizes at Sakura 2015 - Japan Women's Wine Awards.

Double Gold Award was given to Lukasi Chkhaveri Rosé 2012, and Silver Award was given to Marani Kondoli Mtsvane-Kisi 2013.

Keti Gersamia of Lukasi wine company  said this success had brought new challenges to the company. She said several large-scale restaurant and shop networks in Germany, Belgium, Austria and Russia expressed their interest towards their products. The Lukasi company was founded by Keti Gersamia and her husband Mamuka Dolidze.  "We aim to have high quality, not mass-produced wines. We’d rather produce small quantities of very good wine,"  said Keti Gersamia.

Sakura 2015' results were announced on Valentine's Day, February 14. Total of 2,904 wines participated in the competition. The jury consisted of 340 women wine specialists - this is the reason why the competition is called "women's awards" (participation is not restricted by gender).

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

John Wurdeman (Pheasant's Tears): Restrictions on employment of foreigners will lead to stagnation

15.02.2015. John Wurdeman, founder of Pheasant's Tears winery, assesses expected restrictions on the employment of foreigners in Georgia.

"If foreigners’  entry into the country  and employment is complicated, it will cause  the country’s stagnation ", - the American businessman commented amendments to the labor migration bill, according to  which  free employment of foreigners in Georgia will be  limited.

John Wurdeman, who lives and works in Georgia for 20 years, says  that Georgia should use every opportunity to obtain new knowledge and experience. Similar restrictions will only hurt the country.

"Georgians still can teach the outside world a lot. If we want capitalism and a free economy, we don’t have experience of  more than 20 years. For example - all Georgian families are  cool hosts, but the service culture in restaurants is very low, quite different from the European and American levels of culture,”- Pheasant's Tears' owner notes.

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Georgian wine’s uphill battle for its rights in China

15.02.2015. Sakpatenti, National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia, won the case over the famous Georgian wine brand Khvanchkara in China [read also: Dispute over “Khvanchkara” is successfully settled in China] and expects that appeals concerning other controversial brands will be satisfied as well. However, the case unveils blemishes in Georgia’s wine marketing strategy.

Integration Marketing Communication specialist Eldar Pirmisashvili believes that Georgian wine companies just do not understand the role marketing plays in business.

On May 23, 2013, Sakpatenti filed six applications for appellations of origin of Georgian wines Tvishi, Khvanchkara, Tsinandali, Kindzmarauli, Mukuzani and Georgian chacha for registration at the Chinese Trademark Office. Examination of Mukuzani and Tvishi applications proceeded without delay and in January of 2015 both were registered. But the remaining four applications were rejected due to the similarity to the already registered marks. According to Sakpatenti, two Chinese companies and one private person held the ownership right over brands in question. Sakpatenti filed a lawsuit against the swindlers and won the case by February 6. It does not expect Khvanchkara to be disputed and after the expiration of the three-month opposition period, Khvanchkara will automatically be registered to the name of Georgia.

Georgian wines don’t overcome the ruble barrier

15.02.2015. According to the Ministry of Economic Development of Georgia, last year, due to trade relations with Russia, the country gained $180 million. Officials of the governmental administration don’t hide that without this money, the devaluation of the national currency would be higher – not 15%, like it is today, but 30%.

However, trade relations with the northern neighbor are experiencing difficulties at the moment. For the first time they are connected not with political, but purely economic problems. Moscow is fulfilling all the agreements on restoring mutual trade which were achieved in the format of the Prague dialogue between the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Grigory Karasin, and the special envoy of the Georgian Premier, Zurab Abashidze. The prohibitions of Rospoterbnadzor and Rosselkhoznadzor on Georgian products were canceled.

Even though Georgia signed the association agreement with the EU and new rules began their operation in the Eurasian Economic Union, Moscow held open the economic border with Georgia, hoping for further normalization of relations.

Friday, February 13, 2015

New rules in Georgia to regulate wines and spirits

13.02.2015. New rules are being introduced in Georgia to certify alcoholic beverages in a bid to improve the quality of wine and spirits and stop counterfeiting of local products.

The new regulations will make it easier for the National Wine Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture to certify wine and alcoholic beverages, which then must go through inspection and the quality control procedures, said Georgia’s Ministry of Agriculture.

According to the changes it will be mandatory to mark all alcoholic beverages with the special numbers – this will enable supervisors to get full information about the product.

Agriculture Minister Otar Danelia believed the new regulations would guarantee the high quality of Georgian wine and alcoholic beverages as well as promoting counterfeiting prevention, not only in Georgia but in its export markets.


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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Georgian wines in Bordeaux

12.02.2015 (Hvino News) Georgian wines and traditional Georgian wine making method were presented in Bordeaux Wine & Spirits Institute (INSEEC).

The event was supported by Georgian National Wine Agency, and leading qvevri producers were represented:  Lagvinari, Iago’s Wine, Vinoterra (Schuchmann Wines), Pheasant's Tears and others.

8000-years of wine making history, ancient cultivated vine pips, pre-historic wine fermentation vessels, as well as traditional Georgian winemaking method were presented to the INSEEC students.

Event was organized by Davit Jishkariani, student at Bordeaux Wine & Spirits Institute and member of Georgian Wine Club. He noted: “It is crucially important to introduce Georgian wine culture to young wine professionals and wine enthusiasts  as they will be the ones  which will present these wines and wine culture to the final consumer.

IFC offers $2 million loan to Tbilvino wine company

12.02.2015. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is providing a $2 million USD (4 million GEL) loan to one of Georgia's largest wine-makers and exporters.

The financial support offered to Tbilvino aimed to spur the establishment of new jobs and generate tax revenues for the state budget. This in turn would encourage economic growth, said the IFC press office today.

Furthermore, the money would support the company's working capital and enable further growth, said IFC.

The financial support would contribute to the development of Georgia’s wine sector, which provided employment to a large number of households in rural areas. Subsequently, the loan was expected to have a direct impact on poverty reduction, as more than half of Georgia's poor live in rural areas, and create jobs both directly and indirectly.

"As an industry leader and producer of the most in-demand Georgian wines, we need a guaranteed source of high quality supply of grapes,” said Tbilvino president George Margvelashvili.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kvevri, Satsnakheli, Gideli, Orshimo... The traditions of Georgian wine

11.02.2015. “When wine is aged in a clay vessel, it assumes a completely different taste and properties. As you know, any wine requires filtering and processing. Upon pouring wine into a kvevri (a giant clay jug) my grandfather, who was from Guria, used to take a handful of bluish Askaneti soil, wrap it tightly in gossamer and leave it hanging inside the jug for the entire winter. The soil would absorb all harmful substances and waste, leaving the wine crystal clear,” Beso Bajelidze says. Bajelidze is the director of the Georgian Parliament’s National Library’s wine hall. We asked him to share traditions of Georgian winemaking with our readers:

– Before we move onto the main topic, could you first explain why was it decided to add a wine hall to the National Library?

– The idea belongs to Giorgi Kekelidze, director of the library and Malkhaz Kharbedia, founder of the Wine Club. They decided that Georgia needs to have a library dedicated to this particular field. We gathered a multitude of books scattered about numerous libraries and placed them in this hall. Currently we have 700 books on winemaking and viticulture in general here, and new additions arrive daily. We also have books dedicated to origins and history of various alcoholic drinks, ways of combating diseases that affect grapevines and so on. Not bad for a start, is it? Wine isn’t just something that gets you drunk. It is an aspect of enormous cultural heritage that needs to be treasured and protected. Today we have up to 600 grape varieties in Georgia – many of them are on the brink of disappearance, unfortunately.

Our library isn’t just about collecting books; we are also creating a digital database that would contain information on all the Georgian winemakers that ever existed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Supply of wine from Georgia to Russia decreased 7.5 times

10.02.2015. In January 2015, Georgia exported 1 million 343 thousand bottles (0.75 liters) of natural wine, which is 3 times less than in January 2014, Russian news agency Interfax informs referring to the National Wine Agency of Georgia.

According to the representative of the department, such a sharp decline in exports was mainly due to the devaluation of the ruble, which is why the delivery of wine to the Russian market decreased 7.5 times compared with January last year – and amounted to 366 thousand bottles (27.3 percent of the total exports).

Meanwhile, Russia still ranks first among importers of Georgian wine exported to 16 countries in January. It is followed by Ukraine where supply of wine decreased 2.1 times because of the situation in the country and the fall of hryvna and amounted to  324 thousand bottles, the top five importers also include Kazakhstan, Latvia and Poland.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

The new French-made documentary on Georgian wine released (with video)

09.02.2015 (Hvino News). À la source du vin ("At the source of wine") is the title of new French-made documentary film about Georgian wine, released on January 31, 2015 on French television. The new 52 minutes documentary was directed by Philippe Gasnier, who also is the author of script. Film's story line is the meeting between French and Georgian winemakers who are in love with making natural wine. Hvino News is planning to publish an exclusive interview with Philippe Gasnier soon.

You may watch the full documentary À la source du vin below (the language is French).

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dispute over “Khvanchkara” is successfully settled in China

08.02.2015.  The Trademark Office the State Administration for Industry and Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (SAIC) invalidated the unfairly registered appellation of origin of Georgian wine “Khvanchkara”. Besides, disputes over unlawfully registered appellations of origin “Tsinandali”, “Kindzmarauli” and geographical indication “Chacha” have continued between Sakpatenti and two Chinese companies since February 2014. National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia “Sakpatenti” expects that appeals over the other controversial appellations will be satisfied as well.

On May 23, 2013 Sakpatenti filed 6 applications for appellations of origin of Georgian wines “Tvishi”, “Khvanchkara”, “Tsinandali”, “Kindzmarauli”, “Mukuzani” and Georgian geographical indication “Chacha” for registration with the SAIC Trademark Office. 4 applications were rejected due to the similarity to the already registered marks. Examination on 2 appellations “Mukuzani” and “Tvishi” proceeded without any delay. In January 2015 both appellations were registered.

Sakpatenti does not expect “Khvanchkara” to be disputed. Accordingly, after the expiry of the opposition period, the appellation of origin of Georgian wine will automatically be registered in the name of Georgia.

For more details, read Georgian wine’s uphill battle for its rights in China.

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How Georgians brought wine to Europe

08.02.2015. Georgia has been acknowledged as the birthplace of wine by many archaeologists, associations and research organizations. For example, an atlas "The Vintner's Art" (NY 1992) by Hugh Johnson and James Holiday contains the following:

''Where was it first used to make wild wine? No one knows. But archaeology can point out the place where it was first cultivated. The scientific evidence (like the Book of Genesis) points to the foothills of the Caucasus. Georgia has produced the earliest evidence of vine selection and hence the emergence of the cultivated variety: Vitis vinifera sativa. Carbon-dating puts this change to domestication at about 5,000 BC. Mankind was therefore still in the Stone Age when he first cultivated the vine -- and presumably made wine.''

Wine expert and author of the world's best wine guide, Oz Clarke agrees. The text, attached to the map, made by him reads:

''The soldiers, settlers and traders who carried vine cuttings in their saddlebags from the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean merely wanted something to trade and something civilized to drink. The World's divers wine was the result.''

Friday, February 6, 2015

12 Georgian winemakers will be exhibited in Rome

06.02.2015 (Hvino News). Tomorrow Georgian wine will be exhibited in Rome, Italy, at two days' event Vini Naturali (also known as  Vignaioli Naturali a Roma). This is 7th gathering of Vini Naturali, which is about exhibiting the natural wines.

The Georgian natural wine producers who participate in the exhibition are: Archil Guniava, Chveni Gnivo, Gotsa Family Wines, Iago's Wines, Jakelli Wines, Lagivnari, Mandili, Nika Bakhia, Okro Wines, Pheasants Tears, Ramaz Nikoladze Winery, Teleda Wines. "The Georgian group of winemakers will talk about the magic of wine in amphorae", - say the organizers.

The events on 7-8 of February will be held at the prestigious Hotel Excelsior, Via Vittorio Veneto 125,  an ideal space for conducting the tasting. Italian and Georgian vintners, known for their commitment and dedication to produce wine in respect of the land and nature, will be joined by Portugese winemakers of Touriga Nacional and Rabigato, the Slovenian Istria, the Mosel and its elegant Riesling.

In the framework of the Georgian winemakers' vist to Italy, supported bu National wine Agency, the Georgian winemaker Eko Glonti presented his Lagvinari wines at the Rome's delicatessen shop Beppe e i suoi Formaggi on February 5.

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Georgia to showcase wines at Boston Wine Expo

06.02.2015 (Hvino News). One of the largest wine expositions in the United States is the annual Boston Wine Expo. On February 14th and 15th, wine trade and consumers will have the opportunity to taste wines from over 200 producers from around the world. Nine producers Georgia will showcase wines produced using modern methods as well as traditional qvevris.

The Georgian participants are: Badagoni, Bagrationi 1882, Chateau Mukhrani&GWS, Kindzmarauli Marani, Mukado Wines, Schuchmann Wines, Telavi Wine Cellar, Wine Man, Winery Khareba.

Another important event focusing on Georgian winemaking at Boston Wine Expo is the Seminar The Republic of Georgia: Wines from Ancient Vines, scheduled for February 15.  The Seminar is to be conducted by wine expert Lisa Granik, Master of Wine. Ms. Granik is involved in development of marketing strategy of the Georgian wine, as one of international experts cooperating with Georgia's National Wine Agency.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Georgia toasts to booming wine exports

by Jonathan Meaney

05.02.2015. Many drinkers in the West would probably turn their noses up at the thought of drinking wine from the former Soviet Union, but Western, and indeed Asian,  noses have become more receptive to the fruits of Georgia’s growing wine industry

In Forbes’ list of “Nine Wines and Spirits to Start Drinking in 2015”, the magazine named wines from the relatively unknown winemaking state of Georgia—that is the former Soviet state located in the Caucasus region at the border of Asia and Europe, not the U.S. state. In January, the New York Times included Pheasants Tears, a wine produced by American expat John Wurdeman and his partner in Georgia, on its “20 Wines for under $20” list.

Such recognition is indicative of the growing popularity of Georgian wines in the United States. According to a report by news outlet Voice of America, Georgian wines are being well-received by consumers in the U.S. capital of Washington D.C. “More and more people are more knowledgeable of Georgian wines,” said one liquor store owner who reported that monthly sales of Georgian wines in his store have grown from one or two cases to 20-plus cases in just two years; while a bartender at a popular D.C. restaurant claimed that once customers try a Georgian wine, “they’re generally hooked”.

Stefanie Maak: "I envy Georgians..."

05.02.2015 (Hvino News). The second Wine Cooperation Forum took place on 22 and 23 January 2015 in Kachreti (Kakheti region). This conference brought together many influential experts as well as policy-makers of the wine industry, including the head of Georgia's National Wine Agency, who made a presentation at the Forum.

The European Union and Georgia signed an agreement on "Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area" in June 2014, which will affect the long-term development of almost all economic spheres. Georgian producers and exporters will be offered free access to the EU market with over 500 million high income consumers. EU understands the importance of wine sector for Georgia, and offers cooperation and assistance programs in this field.

Within "Private Sector Development South Caucasus" (PSD SC) the project "Promotion of private sector development in the wine sector in Georgia" constitutes an integral part. PSD SC and its key partners established the Wine Cooperation Forum. The first Wine Cooperation Forum was held in April 2014 and has proven to be a useful tool for dialogue between state authorities and the private sector. Hvino News is honored to be among the partners of this international cooperation project, and today we welcome Stefanie Maak of AFC Consultants International GmbH, one of key project organizers. Stefanie Maak M.Sc.agr., Senior Project Manager at AFC, has kindly agreed to answer Hvino's questions.

You have just returned from the Forum in Georgia. Can you summarize your impressions for our readers? 

The topics (qvevri wines and education/extension in viticulture) were highly relevant to the sector. Thus, the forum was attended by representatives from all steps of the wine value chain. As the lectures were given by a mix of national and international experts, the symposium gave a very interesting overview on different views and approaches how to foster Georgian wine.

Georgian wine promoted internationally

05.02.2015. Georgian wine continues its journey in Europe and USA. After being exhibited at two exhibitions in the cities Angers and Saumur in France (read more here), Georgian wine will once again go on display at another two exhibitions. One will be held in Rome and is called Vini Naturali, which is about exhibiting the natural wines and the second one is Boston Wine Expo 2015. Later Sweden will host Georgian wine-testing event in Gothenburg, according to Georgian Wine Club Marani.

Vini Naturali exhibition will open take part on February 14-15. Together with 82 other countries Georgian wine-making companies will also represent natural wines at the exhibition. Out of 82 countries there will be exhibited more than 2 000 sorts of wine of more than 200 wine producers. Along with the exhibition there will be held the seminars which will determine what kind of chocolate or cheese is better with wine.

In total 12 Georgian companies, which produce kvevri wine will be shown at the exhibition. Among them are Archil Guniava’s Cellar, Gotsadze Family Cellar, Iago’s Cellar, Jakeli, Our Wine and others. These companies will show different kind of wine at the exhibition. The organizers say that there is huge interest towards Georgian wine from their side. It is planned to discuss the kvevri wine-making technologies during the exhibition.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Vinotel: Wine and hotel

04.02.2015. If we say that Georgia is the cradle of wine-making, from the beginning, it should mean the considerable attempt of enlarging the wine education and promoting among consumers to obtain the right approach to the wine culture. All this will be very helpful proper to display the Georgian culture and traditions to a foreign guest.

On January 30th the list of high class wine locations was enriched with an interesting place, the Hotel Vinotel, which is located in the center of Tbilisi, at #4 Elene Akhvlediani Street. The hotel location as well as its functional design is a part of a vivid concept and a kind of guarantee for the successful business project. While having an insight into the vision of idea authors and founders, it becomes clear that this business, is rather sophisticated and firm will of popularizing the Georgian wine and the Georgian culture in general.

There is almost everything in the hotel that might give to a foreign tourist a good perspective of the authentic Tbilisi. The concept of the project aims to blend the 19th century Tbilisi spirit with the natural winemaking and slow food philosophy. Antique and handmade furniture, walls and ceiling decorated by hand try the best in creating a very comfy and natural environment.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Georgian wine export - stats and major tendencies

03.02.2015. In terms of Georgian wine export, 2014 was a genuinely special year for the last 10 years. Conferring of intangible cultural heritage to qvevri winemaking, and canceling of the Russian embargo on the Georgian wine, had important influence as on quantity, as well as on visibility of the product.

According to the data provided by the National Wine Agency, income received from the sales of wines exported from Georgia in 2014 increased by 30% comparing with the incomes of 2013, and it was about 184,927,801 USD. Sales of wine brandy increased by 15%, unlike chacha, which fell down with 24%.

Monday, February 2, 2015

When will the wine museum be opened?

02.02.2015 (Hvino News). A year has passed since the idea of the  creation of the Wine Museum was announced (read more here: Prime Minister Garibashvili initiates wine museum), but the details of the project are still unknown.

The new director of the National Wine Agency George Samanishvili said that the "work on the project is ongoing and there is nothing new  in this regard", radio Kommersant reported.

According to Mr. Samanishvili, several ministers are involved in the process. When is the process to be completed, remains unknown.

As reported,  the Museum will be built on the Turtle Lake area adjacent to the Ethnographic Museum.

Last August the then head of the National Wine Agency Levan Davitashvili mentioned that work on the project would be completed by the end of 2014 and construction works would start in 2015.

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Minimum Retail Prices of wine in Russia not to affect Georgian products

02.02.2015. Minimum Retail Prices (MRPs) introduced by the government of the Russian Federation for imported and home-produced wine will not pose any danger to Georgian wine export.

Shalva Khetsuriani, president of the Georgian Sommelier Association, said that the minimum rates adopted in Russia will not create problems for Georgian wine because many foreign wines are much cheaper than wines produced in Georgia. "Our country does not produce wine of such a low value which is produced by the Spanish, Germans, French, etc. Their wine may cost 1 euro. Our product’s price is much higher, "- explains Khetsuriani.

As reported, after three years of struggle Russia's Federal Service for Alcohol Market Regulation has been given a permission to set minimum retail prices of wine.

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As number of Georgian wine producers reaches 100, Hvino to update information on winemakers

02.02.2015. Hvino.com has been keeping our own information data base on Georgia's wine industry since launch. Recently our list of Georgian wine producers has reached 100 companies. This is an amazing figure for a small country, confirming the unique product diversity of the Georgian wine market.

At the same time, Hvino's readers - from Georgia and the rest of the world - are frequently asking for more precise information about Georgian wine producers, and especially about the newer brands, which keep on emerging.  While several dozens of largest companies sell their wines through popular retail chains and present them at regular wine fairs, other names are less known, and their product information is hard to find. International users cannot find the information in the internet, or the winemaker's websites are under construction. Are all the 100 wine producers active?

This is why Hvino decided to offer more detailed information to our readers. Our list of Georgian wine producers will be extended, including the fresh statistical data on wine production, export, and other information on wine manufacturers for 2014.

We are now asking all the Georgian wine producers to provide their updates. Please, contact us via e-mail, our facebook, or simply by commenting below. Just tell us your production volume for 2014 in liters or bottles. Optionally, you may also add your export data and other details, which also will be included in our table.

All the updates will be immediately published. If we are unable to receive any updates from certain companies, after several reminders such companies will be marked in our list as "sleeping".

We wish to thank in advance all the Georgian wine producers for their cooperation, and hope to offer the renewed and extended data to our readers as soon as possible.

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Potential benefits and risks of the Chinese market for Georgian wine

02.02.2015. During the first ten months of 2014 China imported 301 million litres of wine, worth USD 1.2 billion. The volume is six times more than the total export of Georgian wine during the whole of 2014.With over 900,000 litres China is the sixth largest export market for Georgian wine. The instability of partners is the main problem that Georgian wine producers face in the world’s most populated country. The economic slump of Russia has once again raised a question of market diversification for Georgian winemakers. Leading Georgian wine producers that have reduced dependence on the Russian market to a minimum are betting on Asian markets and testing the potential of India and South Korea.

Georgian wine export amounted to 45,931,023 litres, worth USD 180,721,000,during 2014, up from 35,905,939, worth USD 127,850,900, from the previous year. With 28,578,859 litres Russia became the first export market for Georgian wine, making up over 40%. In 2014 it was one year since the seven-year Russian embargo was lifted. With 6.3 million litres Ukraine is the second largest importer of Georgian wine. The export dropped from 9.9 million litres from 2013. Ukraine is followed by Kazakhstan, which imported 4.09 million litres. Belarus is the fourth market, amounting to 1.8 million. It is followed by Poland - 1.2 million, and China - 866,826 million litres, worth USD 4,664,900.

The Russian economic recession raised fears of expected losses for Georgian winemakers as there are some companies whose total export to Russia amounts to around 80-90%. The significant economic growth of Asian markets has turned out to have good potential for Georgian wine companies trying to reduce their dependence on Russia. However, total replacement of the Russian market remains unrealistic for at least the next decade.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Have a look at Georgian Superman – SuPraman

01.02.2015. A funny cartoon has gone viral in Georgian web space – Meet Supraman, a Georgian version of famous superhero from DC Comics. Like his American counterpart, Supraman also has a sole weakness – not kryptonite though just as deadly – a hangover. It is unknown whether Supraman can fly, though he has demonstrated the ability of silly walking at its finest.

The design is by Tbilisi-based artist Diana Tevanian.

[Compare it with Hvino's own character "Hvino-Man", designed last spring to mark Hvino's anniversary - HN]

Source (edited)

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