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Thursday, October 22, 2015

A visit to Doctor Marani

22.10.2015 (Hvino News). In most countries, the set of most respected and prestigious professions is pretty much similar. Commonly, it includes doctors, lawyers, bankers. Georgia stands out of the usual pattern. Winemaker in Georgia seems to be much more prestigious profession than anywhere else on Earth.  I know several lawyers and at least two doctors who became prominent winemakers in Georgia. And there are also several professional engineers, artists and at least one sculptor, who gladly traded their hardly-earned professions for wine-making.

When I came to visit Telavi Wine Cellar, one of Georgia’s largest wine producers (under "Marani" brand), I had the feeling I was in a private Swiss medical clinic. Combination of beautiful mountain views, fresh air, and shining steel equipment helped to produce this first impression. In course of  conversation with Zurab Ramazashvili – the company’s head – he told me he is an experienced otolaryngologist (a doctor specializing in ear, nose, throat disorders). That’s when I started to see his business from a different viewpoint.

Founded in 1915, Telavi Wine Cellar is located just outside the city of Telavi  Map . Its elegantly restored historical building with a private rose garden and a small fountain is surrounded by vineyards, which seem endless. In fact, company’s vineyards occupy about 450 hectares in Kakheti, Georgia’s main winemaking region. Inside the office building, a wall at the meeting room is dedicated to awards won by the company, including the most renowned Decanter and Mundus Vini diplomas.

Ramaz Nikoladze's Tsolikouri chosen for Decanter’s 40th anniversary celebrations

22.10.2015 (Hvino News). To celebrate 40 years of Decanter, the famous British wine magazine asked its experts and contributors to chose their favorite wine of 2015. According to official website, the prestigious list includes a wine from Georgia: Tsolikouri Nakhshirgele 2013 from Imereti, produced by Nikoladzeebis Marani.

The Decanter's contributor who recommended this Georgian wine is Carla Capalbo, an award-winning American food and wine  writer/photographer based in Italy and London, who visited Georgia last month. She writes:
"I love wines that make you question the status quo. This beautiful, amber-coloured white is made – as many of Georgia’s best wines are – in qvevri (large traditional clay vessels buried in the ground). Ramaz Nikoladze produces it from 100-year-old Tsolikouri vines in the Imereti hills of central Georgia, with three months of stem-free skin contact. The wine’s exotic notes of spice, apricots and tea ride with exciting energy to a finely tannic, elegant finale and go just wonderfully with foo. Drink 2015-2017."
Ramaz Nikoladze's Tsolikouri and other chosen wines will become a part of Decanter’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Washington’s Georgian wine tasting: What you missed

by Kathy Sullivan

21.10.2015. On October 19th was the final Georgian wine tasting, ending in Washington [read more: United States marks October as Georgian wine month - HN] . About 60 wine enthusiasts attended the tasting and everyone appeared to have an enjoyable wine tasting with tasty appetizers. The day was chilly but sunny in the District of Columbia, as we found our way to Vidalia Restaurant close to Dupont Circle. It did not take long to walk several blocks. We walked past the White House as our house guest, Tamta from the National Wine Agency, wanted to see the White House since this was her first visit to Washington.

After several more blocks we arrived at Vidalia Restaurant. The facility is located on the lower level and is divided into several rooms. The rooms are decorated with a comfortable but sophisticated atmosphere.

The first part of the wine tasting was a seminar led by Lisa Granik MW, a Georgian wine enthusiast. Lisa described the Georgian wine industry and touched on its history and how grapevines were used to help spread Christianity across the land. Her presentation included mention of qvevris and terroir. She said, “Wine is so much a part of Georgian life.” Another comment was “Vines grow like ivy.” Lisa followed this up by guiding us through a tasting of several Georgian wines.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Possibly the best QPR wines in the world today?

18.10.2015. Today, I want to talk about wine and value. “Value” has an interesting meaning in the world of wine – may be as subjective as the concept of a “good wine” itself. To me, the value is not an absolute amount of money one paid for the bottle of wine – if you paid $3, but poured the bottle down the drain after half-finished first sip because it tasted terribly – was that still a “value”? Or was that a pure waste of money? By the same token, if the $20 bottle of wine gave you lots of pleasure in every tiniest drop (including the one you licked of the table), would that be a “good value”? Talking about the “value” of the wine, I prefer to use a proverbial term QPR, so happily adapted by the wine lovers – a Quality Price Ratio (this is what QPR stands for) conveys the “value” concept of wine a lot better than the sheer price itself.

“Knowing what I know now”, the region which I think consistently delivers the best QPR at the moment (!) is Georgia – not the state down south in the US, of course, but an independent country. I always loved Georgian wines, but what prompted this broad statement about QPR was a recent Georgian wine tasting I attended a week ago at Chelsea Market in New York. Wine after wine was delicious, and priced under $20 – that is a QPR I’m definitely happy about.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tbilisoba-2015: Biggest of all festival celebrations of Georgia begins

17.10.2015. The streets of Old Tbilisi are alive this weekend for a two-day event celebrating one of the country’s most colorful and spectacular festivals – Tbilisoba, the celebration of the diversity and history of Georgia's capital city.

One of the most enjoyable events of the festival will be Wine Parade, and exhibition/sale of traditional Georgian wine, followed by Tea and Honey Festival later today.Visitors will also have an opportunity to taste different dishes from international cuisines at the Culinary Festival at the Rike Park.

Tbilisi City Fest is an annual celebration, which is favored not only by citizens of Tbilisi and Georgia, but also is frequently visited by international guests and tourists, who specially plan their trip on those dates.

Below is an agenda of some of the most interesting activities that will take place in Tbilisi today and tomorrow, which locals and guests were advised not to miss.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Minister of Agriculture: We hope millions of bottles of Georgian wine will be exported to China

15.10.2015. We hope tens of millions of Georgian wine bottles will be exported to China very soon, - Minister of Agriculture Otar Danelia has told reporters at the Radisson hotel where a conference on  China-Georgia economic ties and trade is underway.

According to the minister, tens of reporters were in Georgia to promote Georgian wine in People’s Republic of China.

“We had many visitors. Several of them are still here including tens of reporters working to popularize Georgian wine in People’s Republic of China. About a billion and a half people saw videos about Georgian wine. The latter is becoming more and more popular. We hope tens of millions of Georgian wine bottles will be exported to China very soon,” Otar Danelia remarked.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

29 Georgian wines win at 2015's Decanter Asia Wine Awards

14.10.2015 (Hvino News). The 2015  Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA) results were officially announced. 29 Georgian wines have been awarded in this year's competition. Last year, only one Georgian wine was awarded (Shumi's Kindzmarauli Georgica) at DAWA.

Full list of Georgian winners follows below:

Gold (Regional Trophy)
Silver:
  • Askaneli Brothers,  Saperavi  2014  
  • Winery  Khareba, Mtsvane  2014
  • Winery  Khareba,  Saperavi Classical 2012
  • Shalvino, Black Eyes 2012
  • Shumi Winery, Kindzmarauli 2014 

400 tons of grapes processed in Racha

14.10.2015 (Hvino News). Georgia's National Wine Agency reported that vintage in Racha (West Georgia) is going as scheduled. As of October 13, 400 tons of grapes have been harvested and processed in the region of Racha-Lechkhumi, including 392 tons of Aleksandreuli and Mujuretuli varieties, which are used for production of well-known Khvanchkara semi-sweet red wine. Up to 900 local winegrowers provided their crops. The farmers' revenues reached GEL 2 million.

Like in Kakheti, the government kept promise so the Racha farmers didn’t face the problem with sales, as the state will process all the excess grapes which will not be purchased by private companies. Promises regarding prices also remain valid: the state will pay 5 GEL per 1 kg of conditioned mujuretuli and aleksandreuli, for non-conditioned with  a sugar content of less than 21 degrees – 3 GEL, while for the other grapes – 0,7 GEL.

Vintage is coming to an end in Kakheti (East Georgia), where 133 thousand tons of grapes have been  processed. Income of farmers exceeded GEL 90 million.

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The wonders of the world’s oldest wine

Photo: Landon Nordeman
by Michael Cecire

14.10.2015. “America’s New Hot Wine,” blared a Washington Post headline. “Older and Wiser,” counsels the venerable Financial Times. “The next big food and wine destination,” offers Mashable, the beating heart of the web 2.0 zeitgeist. For Georgia and its ancient winemaking tradition, the plaudits have recently come thick and fast.

And for good reason: Georgian wine is generally superb. The country boasts an embarrassing bounty of unique native grape varietals, and ancient methods that continue to confound and delight the winemaking world. And in Georgian wine, geopolitically aware connoisseurs are offered a fine pairing for their onglet a l'échalote (for me, I recommend the dark, fierce depth of the saperavi varietal) that doubles as a kind of repudiation of Russian militarism, while giving nods to a steadfast and dependable Western friend.

But Georgia’s wine is about far more than rich tastes or a convenient reflection of a simmering contemporary conflict. Georgia’s relationship with wine is deeply, nearly indescribably old and admixed into the very core of its culture. And it’s that ancient heritage and long history that imbue it with geopolitical significance even today.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Georgian wine export opportunities increase in Japan

13.10.2015. Georgian wine is gaining popularity and making an impression in Japan. Georgian National Wine Agency reported Japan was among the top ten export markets where Georgia exported its wine in 2014.

Meanwhile as for this year, between January and July the amount of Georgian wine exported to Japan increased by 10 percent. In these seven months Georgia exported 90,194 bottles of wine to Japan.

Georgia’s Ambassador to Japan Levan Tsintsadze thought the increasing number of Georgian wine tasting events, seminars and exhibitions played a key role in raising awareness of Georgian wine among Japanese consumers.

"Georgia regularly participates in various large-scale exhibitions such as Foodex Japan [read more:
6 Georgian wine producers take part in Foodex Japan exhibition - HN] and Wine and Gourmet [read more: Georgia debuts at Wine and Gourmet Japan exhibition - HN], which are considered as some of the best methods for invading Asian market,” Tsintsadze told local news agency Newspress.

In recent times Georgian wine was recognised among the best in the world at wine competitions held in Japan. Georgian wine won Diamond, Double Golden and Silver awards at the Sakura Japan Women Wine Awards and a Golden award at the Japan Wine Challenge.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Over 120 thousand tons of grapes processed in Kakheti

12.10.2015 (Hvino News). According to the National Wine Agency, 120 thousand tons of grapes have been processed since the start of the harvest in Kakheti region. Revenues from the sale of the crop reached GEL 81 million.

At the moment, 62 thousand tons of Rkatsiteli were processed, 41.2 thousand tons of Saperavi, 2.8 thousand tons of Kakhetian green and 12.3 thousand tons of other grapes.

In Kakheti the grape processing by municipalities is as follows: Gurjaani - 39.7 thousand tons, Telavi - 27,8 thousand tons, Kvareli - 21.4 thousand tons, Sagarejo - 8,4 thousand tons, Signagi - 7,8 thousand tons, Lagodekhi - 7,8 thousand tons, Akhmeta - 4,2 thousand tons, and Dedoplistskaro - 2,2 thousand tons.

Racha-Lechkhumi will join in the vintage soon.

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Georgia diversifies its wine export markets, reveal experts

11.10.2015. Georgia is diversifying its export markets and exporting more wine to strategically important markets such as China, France and the United States.

Latest data from the Georgian National Wine Agency noted more than 24 million bottles of wine worth $66.8 million USD was exported to 41 countries in the first nine months of the year. This was a decrease year-on-year however several strategic markets had increased their imports of Georgian wine by 90 percent or more.

The Agency said China was one of the most strategically important markets for Georgia, where wine exports had increased by 90 percent. Between January-September 2015 Georgia exported more than 1.5 million bottles of wine to China.

The taste of Georgian wine was also being enjoyed all over the European Union. The Netherlands imported 146 percent more wine this year than in 2014, while Poland imported more than one million bottles.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Georgia in Lonely Planet's "Ten world’s most intriguing wine regions"

09.10.2015. (Hvino News). Travel guides publishing house Lonely Planet included Georgia in its recently published list "Ten of the world’s most intriguing wine regions".  Lonely Planet’s new book Wine Trails plots a course through 52 of the world’s greatest wine regions, with weekend-long itineraries in each designed by expert writers, including wine buyers and sommeliers.

"We’ve picked out 10 of the most intriguing regions to show why tasting wine in the place it was made can be a revelation", - reads the article posted by Lonely Planet. Georgia's Kakheti region is listed between Mendoza (Argentina) and Niagara (Canada):
Kakheti, Georgia
The Georgian wine experience is like no other. The story of wine here is so old, so real, that it can make what we know of ancient Greece and Rome seem like recent history. Georgia is widely recognised as the land where man first learned to tame the wild grapevine, around 6000BC. In most of the country, winemaking technology has changed little since then. Grapes are still harvested by hand, and foot-pressed in the hollowed-out trunks of ancient trees. The juice flows into underground clay amphoras, where it ferments and matures without additives or manipulation.

State-owned Gruzvinprom winery auctioned for 31 million

09.10.2015. (Hvino News). State-owned winery Gruzvinprom, located in Gurjaani (Eastern Georgia), was sold at auction for 31.105.000 GEL (about 13 million US$).

100% of the company was offered for privatization in September. Auction ended on October 7. The starting bid for Gruzvinprom amounted to 11 million GEL.

The buyer is not currently known. The new owner must pay the full amount to the state until 2018.

Gruzvinprom possesses land plot of 46.906 square meters in Gurjaani, at 1, Kostava Street, with 26 buildings. View location:  Map  .

The buyer is obliged within 2 years to invest no less than 1 million GEL into reconstruction of the plant towards production of alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. The buyer is expected from 2016 to 2019 to process annually at least 3000 tons of grapes.

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United States marks October as Georgian wine month

09.10.2015. (Hvino News). October has been declared as Georgian wine month in the US. This month Georgia’s National Wine Agency is sponsoring a variety of events in the USA. Branching out from last year’s inaugural tasting in New York, this year’s tour also includes San Francisco and Washington, DC.

Attendees of "Georgian Wine Month" will have the opportunity to taste an array of Georgia’s indigenous grapes, and to compare these varieties produced in both modern and traditional (“qvevri”) production styles. Wines from all of Georgia’s leading producers, both big and small, will be poured, including several wineries making their debut appearance. Each tasting will be preceded by a limited-seating seminar and tutored tasting on Georgian wine & wine culture.

List of participating producers includes:

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Folk fest wine pick: Pheasant’s Tears wine blends traditional elements of Georgian culture

08.10.2015. Artist Jonathan Wurdeman talks in long, precise sentences that can stretch to 10 minutes — passionate, focused and full of details. He wants everyone to understand the intertwining elements of Georgian culture — music, food and wine.

It all started with a CD called “Georgian Folk Music Today.” Wurdeman found it while flipping through albums at Plan 9 Records when he was a teenager. He fell in love with the polyphonic folk music.

While attending the Surikov Institute of Art in Moscow, first as an undergraduate and then as a graduate student, Wurdeman finally was able to visit Georgia, the country on the Baltic Sea [oops, shall we correct this? - HN]. His hosts welcomed him with a feast, lots of poetic toasts with local wine and music performed by the very same musicians on the album he bought so long ago. “I knew then that my connection with Georgia would not be a simple one,” he says.

He moved to the country after graduating and thought he’d focus on music and painting. But the wine grabbed hold of his imagination in a way that he didn’t anticipate.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Georgian and Moldovan wines: discovering the old tradition anew

07.10.2015. France may be Europe’s largest wine producer, but it is Georgia where wine was born. It is said that wine production started about 7,000 or even 8,000 years ago and archeological remains found in the area suggest that as early as 4000 BC grape juice was placed in underground clay jars or qvevri to ferment during the winter. Last August, 43 ancient qvevries dated back to the 11-13th centuries were discovered by archaeologists at Khikhani Fortress, Adjara, Western Georgia.

In 2015, the World Bank spent over $1 million to enhance Georgia’s ancient Qvevri wine-making methods by establishing a Qvevri House in the eastern part of the country. That ancient traditional winemaking method was also added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists [read more: World Bank to enhance Georgia’s unique qvevri wine-making method]. Today, there are over 500 species of grape in Georgia, a greater diversity than anywhere else in the world, with around 40 of these grape varieties being used in commercial wine production.

“Georgia’s wine choice is so wide it offers virtually everything a modern wine lover needs: unique grape varieties; modern-style classics; organic and bio-wines; trendy “orange” wines,” says Dr. Alexander Kaffka, Managing Director of Hvino.com, an English-language news portal about the Georgian wine industry.

Georgian wine: Plan for the worst, hope for the best

by Irakli Kochlamazashvili, Ia Katsia and Chase Johnson

07.10.2015. The Georgian wine industry had a couple of very good years in 2013 and 2014, following the opening of the Russian market. Exports skyrocketed, prices of grapes followed suit. For all the talk about diversification, within just two years, Russia’s share in the total exports of Georgian wine shot up from 0 to almost 68%.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Vogue magazine lists Georgian Iago's Chinuri as number one orange wine

06.10.2015. (Hvino News). American Vogue magazine in its October's issue mentions the Georgian winemaker Iago Bitarishvili. His wine Iago's Chinuri is listed at the top of Vogue's list of orange wines. 

The article, entitled "Forget Red, White, and Rosé—Orange Wine Is What You Should Be Sipping This Fall", is written by Carson Demmond. Vogue's article reads: 
It’s a tradition that is still very much alive in Eastern Europe, like in Georgia, where Lepeltier recently traveled to study up on the technique, and has slowly but surely migrated west and even into the New World, with several prominent wineries in California now practicing skin-fermentation. Here are seven skin-fermented wines to try this fall:
2013 Iago’s Wine Chinuri, Kartli, Republic of Georgia; $19 
Iago Bitarishvili founded his winery in 2003 to realize his dream of making wine in the traditional homespun way of his region. So he crushes his organically grown chinuri grapes in a large, hollowed-out log and empties the resulting juice and skins into earthenware vessels called qvevri, which then remain buried in the ground for six months. It may sound like alchemy, but the result is a fascinating mouthful: pear, autumn honey, buckwheat, and eastern spices, with the structure of a red wine built for aging. Try it with hard cheeses and charcuterie or more substantial vegetarian fare like bitter greens and eggplant.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Georgian winemaker in Milan

05.10.2015 (Hvino News) Georgian winemaker Ramaz Nikoladze is participating in Terra Madre Youth – We Feed The Planet, which, from October 3 to 6 in Milan (Italy), is bringing together all young people involved in the food chain: thousands of farmers, fishers, students, chefs, cheesemakers and activists from around the world.

Italy's La Repubblica writes:
Straddling Europe and Asia, Georgia was one of the first places where the grapevine was domesticated. A historic wine-producing country, it is home not only to dozens of native varieties, but also a fascinating way of preserving wine.
In the village of Nakhshirgele, Ramaz Nikoladze, driven by hope and passion, makes a very special wine from the grapes of his small vineyard. Like his father before him, he produces wine in amphorae, using a vinification technique typical of the country. On his hectare and a half of land, Ramaz, now in his forties, grows two native grape varieties, tsiska and tsolikauri.
Watching him work with his amphorae, called qvevri in the local language, is indeed like watching a kind of magic. The large jars, over a hundred years old, are almost completely buried in the shade of trees, which helps keep the wine’s temperature always around 14°C in the summer, and prevents them from freezing during the winter. For the first month the wine ferments on its lees without the addition of yeasts, and then remains in the amphorae for aging. Having seen how all this takes place so naturally, outdoors, with minimal human intervention, it seems incredible that the end result is so excellent.

Prime Minister and cabinet members, their children pick grapes as Georgia celebrates Wine Day

05.10.2015. Georgia’s Prime Minister and other members of the Cabinet together with their children have participated in grape harvesting in the country’s leading wine-producing region.

PM Garibashvili, his two sons, Vice PM and Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze, his son and other officials with their families went to the Kakheti region to pick grapes together with local farmers as Georgia celebrated the National Wine Day today.

"Since our team is in power more than four hectares of new vineyards have been created in our country,” the PM said.

"This is because farmers are more motivated as the Government subsidises grapes.”

"Farmers can sell their harvest with 100 percent profit.”

Garibashvili also said in Kakheti farmers received about 300 million GEL as they sold grapes during the past three years.

October 4 is the Georgian Wine Day. The country honours its national drink with various celebrations in different regions.


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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Hvino Mapping project launched on Georgian Wine Day!

04.10.2015. Greetings to all friends of Georgian wine! To mark the Georgian Wine Day, today Hvino is starting our Georgian wine mapping project.

Hvino Map  is an experimental project, where users are mapping the important wine places of Georgia. Hvino Map is already fully usable. It will be updated every week, becoming richer and more comprehensive with time.  It can be used on any desktop or mobile devices, both Apple and Android. Direct link to map is here.

You are welcome to add a new object, such as winery, cellar, wine shop, hotel or other place useful for visitors. Users also may update and correct locations if necessary. If you want to edit the map, see instructions in the bottom. Also please report us about all problems or bugs, so we will fix them.

View current Hvino Map below...



How to edit Hvino Map:

To simplify editing and avoid errors, we use separate Google map for user's submissions. To add your object, use the map below and follow instructions:

Telavino 2015 wine festival launched

04.10.2017 (Hvino News). Kakheti, a region in the eastern part of Georgia, hosts the 2015 Wine Festival on October 4th.

Today also the Day of Georgian Wine is being celebrated throughout the country, established at an initiative of the country’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili in 2014.

Telavino takes place in the Kakhetian capital Telavi and is supported by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia and the Georgian National Tourism Administration. The firrst Telavino festival took place last year (see Telavino 2014)

Different wines produced by a variety of wineries – larger companies as well as independent wine makers – will be presented to its visitors, alongside a wide selection of traditional Georgian cuisine.

Visitors can enjoy traditional arts and crafts, such as ceramics, textiles, Georgian dance and folk music. The festival is organized by the Kakheti Wine Guild and the National Wine Agency of Georgia.

Program:
1:00 P.M. - 1:30 P.M. – Opening ceremony
1:30 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. – Wine tasting, art sale, traditional dishes, art exhibition
2:00 P.M. – Live music and dance (Traditional Georgian dance and folk music)
5:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M. – Closing ceremony

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Are you ready for National Wine Day?

01.10.2015. Georgian National Wine Day will see events in eight cities, including capital Tbilisi and Georgia’s eastern winemaking region Kakheti, mark national wine culture.

The festivities will commence at Rose Revolution Square (near Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel) with the opening of the Centre for Georgian Wine, which includes a dedicated museum for Georgian traditional winemaking tools and items.

The occasion will also see winemakers welcome guests to sample traditional Georgian wine, and exhibition of paintings, photographs, traditional items and wine products.

The highlight of the capital city’s festival will be a celebratory march featuring hundreds of volunteers through the Square and nearby area.

Tourists arriving on late flights at Tbilisi International Airport on October 3 will be welcomed with souvenirs related to the celebration at passport control, while restaurants and hotels participating in Georgian National Wine Day will have special corners and gifts for visitors.

23 million bottles of wine exported in 2015

01.10.2015. By September 28, Georgia had exported 23.3 million bottles of wine so far in 2015.

3.5 million bottles were exported in September, according to the Agriculture Ministry; the highest monthly rate in 2015.

The export of wine has tripled, compared to the beginning of the year.

Agriculture Minister Otar Danelia said Tuesday at a briefing that the top export countries are Russia with 12.1 million bottles, Kazakhstan 3.4 million bottles, Ukraine 1.9 million, China 1.4 million and Poland 1.1 million.

Since January, the wine has been more strictly examined, Danelia said. 343 samples have been inspected in Tbilisi and other areas of Georgia. There were 17 suspicious cases that were sent for further analysis.

He outlined that the government has spent more than 10 million laris on marketing Georgian wine and stressed that it would be better if wine producers could be more active in this way themselves. “In the beginning, a fifth of this was spent on marketing. I think even the current amount is not enough, because we have new market opportunities,” he added.