Wednesday, February 28, 2018

18 medals awarded to Georgian wines at MUNDUS VINI 2018 Spring Tasting

28.02.2018 (Hvino News). Record-breaking 18 Georgian wines have won top gold and silver awards at prestigious competition MUNDUS VINI International Wine Award 2018 in Germany:

The gold prizes were awarded to:

2013 Saperavi Premium (Best of Show Georgia) Winery Khareba
Alaverdi Tradition Dry Red Wine Badagoni
2013 Kakhetian Noble Badagoni
2015 Shilda Winery Napareuli Shilda Winery
2015 Saperavi Shilda Winery
2017 Vazis XIDI N°1 Saperavi Babutsa
2017 Vazis XIDI N°2 Saperavi Babutsa
2017 Vazis XIDI N°3 Saperavi Babutsa
2016 Zangaura Saperavi Georgian Wines

Monday, February 26, 2018

"The Financial": Georgia’s European perspective, or Badagoni taken away from owners?!

The Financial
26.02.2018. Since the “Georgian Dream” came into power in 2013, Georgia has significantly improved all social and economic parameters. According to the assessments of the World Economic Forum and other international organizations Georgia has been dynamically improving its competitiveness, protection of property rights and independence of the justice system. According to the Economic Freedom Rating of the Fraser Institute, Georgia is on the 5th place in the world.

Taking this into account, it is all the more surprising to witness the events that have taken place during the past weeks with regard to the leader of the Georgian wine industry – Badagoni, number one among the Georgian wine exporter companies.

On the 7th of February, Investigation Service of Ministry of Finance of Georgia, without any preliminary notification, brutally intruded into company Badagoni’s office. To many, this reminded the infamous practices widely used by the previous government.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Badagoni Brut voted "Best Sparkling" by Asian Wine Review

25.02.2018 (Hvino News) For the first time in the history of Georgian wine Badagoni Brut  was awarded with the 2018 Trophy "Best Sparkling" at the prestigious Asian Wine Review (AWR) International Wine Competition.

Badagoni's wine received a rating of 97, and is characterized as follows: "Good colour, refreshing nose, showing varietal characters and complexity, fine bubbles, floral and citrus, long saline finish with hints of minerality. Balanced, well-made, great effort".

The award ceremony will be held on March 10, 2018 in Hong Kong, where Mr. Giorgi Salakaia, the owner and CEO of Badagoni is invited to receive the award.

The Asian Wine Review is the world’s most trusted guide to Asian wine production, helping consumers worldwide in making better wine selections and helping wine producers obtain professional feedback.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

'Our Blood Is Wine' documentary to be released in USA (with video)

24.02.2018 (Hvino News). The documentary titled Our Blood Is Wine, premiered this month at the Berlin Film Festival, will be released in select US theaters starting March 9th.

Our Blood Is Wine is about families in Georgia who revive 8,000 year old winemaking traditions that were almost lost during the era of Soviet domination. Our Blood Is Wine is directed by American filmmaker Emily Railsback, making her feature debut after a few other short docs previously.

Filmmaker Emily Railsback and award-winning sommelier Jeremy Quinn provide intimate access to rural family life in Georgia as they explore the rebirth of  winemaking traditions. By using unobtrusive iPhone technology, Railsback brings the voices and ancestral legacies of modern Georgians directly to the viewer, revealing an intricate and resilient society that has survived regular foreign invasion and repeated attempts to erase Georgian culture. The revival of traditional winemaking is the central force driving this powerful, independent and autonomous nation to find its 21st century identity.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Vaziani Winery and Chigogidze Wines receive top awards in Tokyo

21.02.2018 (Hvino News). Georgian winemakers received top prizes at 20th awarding ceremony of the International competition “Japan Wine Challenge” which was held  in Tokyo.

Zurab Chigogidze received the awards won by his company Chigogidze Wines for its Saperavi 2015: the highest award – Platinum Medal - and Regional Trophy as the best red wine from Georgia. Read more at: Georgian wines get top awards at Japan's international wine competition

2 gold medals were awarded to Natia Metreveli, the head of Vaziani Company, for Makashivli Marani Mtsvane 2016 and Khikhvi 2016. Khikhvi 2016 also received a Regional Trophy as the best white wine from Georgia.

Her Highness Princess Takamado greeted the winners, among them were representatives of Georgian wine companies.The official  sponsor of the evening was Vaziani Winery.

Georgian wine was also showcased in the cities of Tokyo and Osaka last week. In total over 100 wine varieties from 35 Georgian companies were represented at wine events in both Japanese cities. About 750 wine professionals attended the Georgian wine events in Tokyo and Osaka.

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The First Saperavi World Prize: RESULTS

Monday, February 19, 2018

22 year-old Anano Vekua is first Georgian winemaker in South Africa

19.02.2018. ”Recently, Agricultural University of Georgia student Anano Vekua became the first Georgian winemaker girl in South Africa,”- On.ge reports.

”I’ve always liked the idea of producing wine. My sister recommended me to attend Agrarian University’s presentation, where I realized I felt extremely free.  wine making-viticulture sounded very interesting, where I could use my favorite science direction - chemistry. I decided to take a risk and prove producing wine is not just for men.

As for South Africa, there is a project, organized by The Embassy of Georgia in South Africa, Consulate of South Africa, the National Wine Agency and the South African-Georgian Chamber of Commerce, within this employees are exchanged between wine companies.

“The Georgian Winery Corporation” has given me the opportunity to participate in this project and become the first Georgian woman winemaker in South Africa, the second largest factory in the country, called Robertson. The company produces all types of wine, mainly French varieties. For example, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon …They don’t use Georgian types yet, although we’ve discussed with main winemakers there, and they need our characteristic grapes. If they want to use Georgian varieties, it will be a long, but important and wonderful story.

I will stay in South Africa for two months. Here’s a vintage now and I take a part in every process. They include me in various operations daily, sometimes I help with filtration, starting fermentation and control or wine processing.

The First Saperavi World Prize: RESULTS

Friday, February 16, 2018

Saperavi World Prize 2017 announces results, awards Grand Prizes

The Gold, Silver, and Bronze “Azarpeshas” – the grand prizes of Saperavi World Prize 2017 (“SapPrize”) international wine contest – were presented to Ambassadors and diplomatic representatives of the winner countries at a special award ceremony on February 15.

The Grand Prize winners are: Saperavi winemakers from Australia - Grand Gold, USA - Grand Silver; Kazakhstan - Grand Bronze. Wines of best-known Georgian variety from all over the world were judged in Georgia for the first time at SapPrize contest organized by us - the wine news publisher Hvino News.

16.02.2018 (Hvino News) Saperavi World Prize Award Ceremony was held at IArt Gallery in Tbilisi. Officials, diplomats, businesspeople, wine experts, and journalists attended the VIP event. The organizer of SapPrize is wine news resource Hvino News, published daily since 2012 in two languages, with a total traffic of nearly two million page views. SapPrize is a joint project of Hvino.com and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

The Grand Gold Prize was awarded to Cirami Estate 2015 Saperavi from Australia. "The Gold Azarpesha" was presented to David Kereselidze, Director of Department of Asia, Africa, Australia and Pacific Rim of Georgian Foreign Ministry. The foreign Ministry will deliver the precious prize to Georgian Embassy in Australia, which will present it to the winner in Canberra.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Official January's data: Wine export growing

09.02.2018 (Hvino News). According to official data, in January 2018 Georgia exported 5.12 mn bottles of wine to 24 countries, that is 18% higher than last year. In total 11.4 mn USD worth of wine was exported, that is 31% higher than last year.

Export growth is remarkable in the following countries: Japan 95% (26892), Kazakhstan - 108% (220776), Hong Kong - 100% (15486), Latvia - 90% (116226), Ukraine – 55% (624030), Russia - 24% (3534780), Poland - 13% (177018), Israel - 12% (19680), Czech Republic - 445% (6654), Netherlands - 39% (2248).

Top five importers are: Russia (3534780), Ukraine (624030), China (250238), Kazakhstan (220776) and Poland (177018).

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Head of Badagoni rejected accusations

08.02.2018 (Hvino News) Two plants of Badagoni wine company suspended operation on February 7, after the investigators from the Ministry of Finance showed up at the company headquarters in the morning.

Officers of Investigation Service of Finance Ministry are studying financial documentation in the framework of a criminal case involving the misappropriation of the company's shares. A criminal case was launched upon the application of Vladimer Janjghava, a former shareholder, who demands return of his shares.

At a press conference George Salakaia, the current owner of Badagoni, asked the Prime Minister to interfere in the process. "I categorically appeal to the government of Georgia, and the Prime Minister: Mr. George, you know my attitude to my country. I am the father of seven children. You know my attitude to this industry, I very ask you to interfere in this matter today. I say sincerely, in front of all television cameras: I and my colleagues will not concede Badagoni to the end of our lives", said Mr. Salakaia.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Georgian qvevri producers at natural wine shows in France

06.02.2018 (Hvino News). Georgian qvevri wine producers participated in the exhibitions of natural wines in France: "Les Penitentes" in Angers and "La Dive Boutteille" in Saumur.

“Les Penitentes " and " La Dive Boutteille " were attended by hundreds of winemakers from different parts of the world.

"La Dive Boutteille" is the largest and most popular natural wine exhibition in France, hosted by famous French winemakers. The exhibition attracts wine importers and professionals from different countries specializing in natural wines. In "Les Penitentes" traditionally participate the world's most famous "natural" wine producers. This year the Georgian stand was visited by  famous expert Isabelle Legeron MW.

Monday, February 5, 2018

British Channel 5 airs show on Georgian wine (with video)

05.02.2018. Georgian wine has captured the attention of British commercial television network Channel 5 and its programme, "The Wine Show”.

The show, which debuted in 2016, recently aired an episode that exhibited the rich history of Georgian wine, vine and winemaking traditions.

"Georgia seems to have the most solid evidence - at the moment! 8000 year old pips have been carbon dated from a wine cask and since then, the Georgians have been making wine the same unique way in an unbroken line”, the episode says about Georgian wine.

The crew of ‘The Wine Show’ visited Georgia’s wine-making region of Kakheti, where they visited a Kakhetian farmer’s wine cellar. There, the farmer introduced them to the old Georgian traditional winemaking method using the qvevri.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Head of Telavi Wine Cellar announced company's priorities

30.01.2018 (Hvino News). Zurab Ramazashvili, the head of Telavi Wine Cellar company, has shared some of his company's business directions in a recent interview to Georgian news site Business Media.

Company will grow vineyards on 35 hectares in the micro-zone of Napareuli in Kakheti. “This is a historically well-known micro-zone where we receive a very good quality wine, white and red. We will do this with new technologies and new knowledge...We want to use innovative ideas considering specific soil and climate conditions,”- Zurab Ramazashvili said.

The company owns 330 hectares of vineyards in Kakheti, 300 of them with automatic irrigation systems. “This is an electronic system that often determines the quantity of water that the vineyard needs and then informs about it, after which operator will decide how much water to supply. This is especially important during climatic changes “, – said Zurab Ramazashvili.

Telavi Wine Cellar also plans to develop the wine tourism direction. Zurab Ramazashvili said that special infrastructure will be arranged in Kvareli, where tourists will be able to taste wines and relax. Interesting tourism routes will be developed  for them.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Georgia to produce first wine with Braille label

28.01.2018 (Hvino News). For the first time in history, Georgia will produce wine with Braille label on it. Village of Future [a non-governmental organization  - HN] is the initiator of the project, while company Navazelli will produce the wine.

History of such labeled wine comes from French winemaker Michel Chapoutier, In 1993, when Chapoutier was only 29 and had been the main winemaker in the family business for only three years, he turned on the television to watch his friend and musician Gilbert Montagnin on the screen. Gilbert, who is blind, was talking about the experience of buying wine and was explaining on the program that he never felt comfortable going into a wine shop alone because he didn’t know which wines he was picking up. Therefore, in order for him to take part in the simple pleasure of buying wine, he’d have to always be accompanied by a friend who was able to describe the wines he was choosing.

After Chapoutier adopted the Braille, so did many other winemakers, making it much easier for those without sight to choose and enjoy a bottle of wine.

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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Georgian wine development strategy presented by German expert

27.01.2018 (Hvino News). National Wine Agency recently presented the Georgian wine development strategy, which was developed in cooperation with the German government. Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) promotes private sector and vocational system  development in wine, tourism and construction in Georgia.

The wine strategy document was prepared with the support of Berthold Seitz, the expert of Center for International Migration and Development (CIM) of the German Development Agency (GIZ). Mr. Seitz worked as advisor at NWA in 2016-2017.

Berthold Seitz presented the Georgian wine development strategy at a joint event of  GIZ and  NWA "Private Sector Development and Vocational Education Program in the South Caucasus". The event was attended by German Embassy representatives, international donor organizations, state agencies and private companies.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Schuchmann Wines: Georgian wine competes with Moldovan wine in China

24.01.2018. Below is the interview with Executive Director of Schuchmann Wines Nutsa Abramishvili.

The year 2017 was very productive for Georgian winemaking. Has  the industry manage to move forward in search of new markets?

An entry into the Chinese market can be considered the most significant breakthrough in 2017  as  China is a large, stable and fast-growing country, and in the long term this market may become an alternative to Russia.

Now our main competitor in China is Moldova. Georgia can’t compete with  larger producers such as Europe and South America  as the cost price of their products is lower because of large turnover. While  our resources are limited due to the number of vineyards and  Georgian wine has to find its place in the market at the expense of high quality.

The main achievement of 2017 was an increased recognition of Georgian wine not only in China but also in many other countries.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Counterfeit "Georgian" wines banned from sales in Ukraine, producer fined

23.01.2018 (Hvino News) Counterfeit Georgian wine was removed from sales in Ukraine  and the offender was fined by the Ukrainian Antimonopoly Service.

In 2016, the National Wine Agency received information that Ukrainian companies illegally  imitated Georgian wines  and  used  Georgian protected appellation  wine names. NWA appealed to Ukrainian Antimonopoly Committee, which launched an investigation against Ukrainian company Kamyanka Global Wine LLC. In 2017 Antimonopoly Committee recognized the actions of the Ukrainian company as a violation of the Ukrainian law and imposed a penalty of around 240 000 US dollars.  Kamyanka Global Wine was also banned for selling  "Georgian" wine imitations.

NWA stressed that that was first precedent in Ukraine of making decision in favor of the Georgian public institution made by the Antimonopoly Committee.

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Wine agency to launch measures to improve quality control

18.01.2018 (Hvino News) The Georgian National Wine Agency (NWA) is to launch electronic certification system to enable online application submission, effective after February 1, 2018.

At a recent meeting of NWA officials with winemakers at Tbilisi's Biltmore hotel, several other innovations were discussed, including draft amendments to the "Grape Origin Alcoholic Drink and Grape Origin Spirit Certification Rules" were discussed. All innovations are aimed at improved product quality control.

Chairman of the NWA Giorgi Samanishvili said: "With implementation of electronic system, certification procedures will be simplified, the entrepreneurs will not have to come to the agency. They can fill out the declaration online and come to the agency to pick ready certificates".

At the meeting of NWA officials with winemakers, participants also discussed issues related to amendments to the Law on Vine and Wine. Starting January 1 all categories of export wines are subjected to mandatory tasting (until now, this only concerned controlled appellation wines).

"The government and private sector agree that low-quality wines should not be produced in Georgia”, Mr. Samanishvili noted.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Badagoni is the leader of Georgian wine exporters

15.01.2018 (Hvino News). Georgia in 2017 exported a record number of wine over past 30 years – 76,7 million bottles to 53 countries (read more here). With 2017's sales reaching 7 million bottles, Badagoni wine company appears to be the leader among 250 Georgian wine exporter companies, and is one of the major contributors to huge growth of Georgian wine export.

Badagoni was established in 2006 and today owns the winery equipped with the most advanced technologies in whole Eastern Europe. Badagoni experienced a dramatic growth over past several years, and today exports wines to about 30 countries. Badagoni has 35% sales growth in 2017; the largest importers are Russia, China, Ukraine and the European countries.

"Badagoni company's philosophy is about creating the best Georgian wines from only Georgian grape varieties, while respecting old, unique Georgian traditions and using the most advanced technologies and scientific knowledge existing in the world's wine industry today", - said Giorgi Salakaia, the company's owner. "Our major success factors are high and stable quality of production and competitive prices", - he added in a comment for Hvino News.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

"Saveur": Meet the Georgian winemaker who sleeps in his cellar and makes wine the old-school way

by Ilkka Sirén

11.01.2018. Winemaking has been an essential part of Georgian way of life for thousands of years—and it hasn't changed much during that time.

“Here, drink this,” says Georges Aladashvili, the winemaker of Ruispiri Biodynamic Vineyard. He hands me what I take to be a glass of wine, but what I realize is some kind of liquor after a big sip. I struggle a bit, but declining to drink is not an option. “It will make the work more fun,” he says.

I’m in Georgia, a country known for its generous and boozy hospitality. It is October and almost the end of harvest time here. We are in Kakheti, the most productive wine region of the country. The scenery is dominated by the snow-capped Caucasus Mountains and vineyards. It seems the nutrient-poor soils of Kakheti are ideal for growing grapes, and have been for thousands of years.

It took two hours and a handful of near-death experiences with Aladashvili, who studied winemaking in Switzerland. to get to the vineyard in Telavi, a small sub-region of Kakheti. Coming out of the car, I notice big holes in the ground and begin to consider the probability of my head being chopped off with a blunt shovel. “We are going to put some new amphoraes here,” he says, and we proceed to a small shed next to one of his vineyards for some chamomile tea and cake.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Georgia-China FTA came into force

08.01.2018 (Hvino News). Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Georgia and China has come into force on January 1, 2018, making Georgia the first country in the region to have such a deal with China.

According to official Chinese source, "After the agreement has gone into effect, in terms of the trade in goods, Georgia will impose zero tariffs on 96.5% of China's products immediately, covering 99.6% of the total imports from China; China will impose zero tariff on 93.9% of Georgia’s products, covering 93.8% of China's total imports from Georgia, of which 90.9% (taking up 42.7% of imports) will have zero tariffs immediately and the remaining 3% (taking up 51.1% of imports) will gradually have zero tariff within 5 years. In terms of trade in services, both sides will further open their markets to each other on the basis of their WTO commitments. In addition, both sides have reached broad consensuses in many fields such as environment and trade, competition, intellectual property, investment and e-commerce. China-Georgia FTA will further improve the liberalization and facilitation of bilateral trade, and will build a more open, transparent and stable trading environment for enterprises, providing more quality and cheap products and services for people from both countries. By taking the opportunity of the effect taking of the agreement, China and Georgia will comprehensively improve both sides’ practical cooperation level, thus firmly promoting the Belt and Road construction and achieve common prosperity."

Saturday, January 6, 2018

With Supra, a Washington lawyer revives memories of Georgian feasts

by Tom Sietsema

06.01.2018. The waiters at Supra, home to khinkali and chanakhi — soup dumplings and braised lamb stew, respectively — want to put newcomers at ease; the cooking of Georgia, as in the republic, is relatively recent in Washington. Consequently, greetings by the staff include a brief flavor profile. “We use a lot of garlic, cilantro and walnuts,” servers invariably tell patrons who tag themselves as first-timers.

Supra, which translates from Georgian as “feast,” is the debut restaurant from Washington lawyer Jonathan Nelms, who traces his interest in Georgia to teenage friendships with exchange students from the region and subsequent trips abroad.

During a three-year stay in Moscow, he and his wife and coowner, Laura, found Georgian restaurants to be among the most popular among expats and locals alike. Nelms paints bountiful Georgia as “the California of the former Soviet Union.”

Georgian wine exports hit 30 year high

by Natalie Wang

06.01.2018. Georgia’s wine exports in 2017 reached their highest level for 30 years, with 76.7 million bottles of wine worth about US$170 million shipped to 53 countries, the Georgian National Wine Agency has announced.

Export values increased by 49%, while the volume of exports increased by 54%, China’s state news agency Xinhua reported, citing the agency’s figures.

The top three drivers of growth were Russia, the Ukraine and China, responsible for 47.8 million bottles, 8.5 million bottles and 7.6 million bottles, respectively.

Georgia’s Free Trade Agreement with China came into effect on 1 January this year, and unlike other FTA agreements, such as the one China signed with Australia for instance, tariffs on Georgian wines have been scrapped immediately as opposed to a gradual reduction over several years.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Prime Minister assessed Georgia’s wine exports to China

21.12.2017. The Prime Minister considers Georgian wine export to China as “incredible dynamics and outcome”. Giorgi Kvirikashvili talked about the development of free trade network during the presentation of the government program in the parliament.  He said that diversification process of trade markets is steady and the EU market is already the number one trade partner for Georgia.

The Prime Minister predicted export growth to China with launch of the Free Trade Agreement. “Today we can say that 7 million bottles of wine are sold on the Chinese market. This is an incredible dynamic and we have not expected such result. I hope that Georgian wine will become more competitive after 47% of taxes will be removed for Chinese market”, - Kvirikashvili said.

Giorgi Kvirikashvili also talked about popularization of Georgian wine and noted that “our wine should become one of the premium products on the international market with the correct presentation of the history of Georgia, as the oldest winemaker”.

The Prime Minister talked about the protection of local businesses on the background of the expansion of free trade network, saying that protection mechanism is envisaged in all agreements.

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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Saperavi Word Prize 2017 tasting was held in Tbilisi

PRESS RELEASE      (Official photos: Hvino's Album; ICC's Album)

Saperavi Word Prize 2017 tasting was held in Tbilisi
Wines of best known Georgian variety from all over the world are judged in Georgia for the first time
Saperavi Wine Prize 2017 tasting was held on December 15th in Tbilisi, on the premises of  International Chamber of Commerce (ICC Georgia).
Saperavi World Prize 2017 is the new international wine contest in Georgia, which brings together the wines from winemakers from around the world who use the Saperavi variety.  Saperavi is a grape variety native to Georgia, which is becoming increasingly popular with winemakers around the world. 
Saperavi World Prize  (“SapPrize”) is conceived to become not only a wine contest of Saperavi wines produced in all continents, but a meeting point of international winemakers and Georgian tradition-keepers, backed by eight millennia-old winemaking history of Georgia – the cradle of wine. Official website of SapPrize is sapprize.hvino.com.
Entry in SapPrize is free – there is no participation fee. The slogan of the contest is “Made globally, awarded in Georgia: Best Saperavi wines produced abroad”, because in 2017 SapPrize is open to winemakers from abroad (outside Georgia) who produce wines from Saperavi variety.
SapPrize will be an annual event. Permanent location of SapPrize is Tbilisi, Georgia.

Small and large wineries from several continents have submitted wine samples to SapPrize. Wines came from Australia (14 wines), United States (4 wines), Azerbaijan (3 samples), Kazakhstan (2 samples), Russia (2 samples) and one wine each from Armenia and New Zealand.

The Jury included:
  • Mr. Andro Barnovi (Georgia), Georgian Federation of Artisan Wine
  • H.E. Lukas Beglinger (Switzerland), Swiss Ambassador to Georgia
  • H.E. William Lahue (USA), Head of the NATO Liaison Office in Georgia
  • Mr. Paul Rodzianko (USA), JSC Cradle of Wine
  • Ms. Ute Seitz (Germany), wine expert
  • Mr. Berthold Seitz (Germany), wine expert
  • Mr. Kakha Tchotiasvili (Georgia), Tchotiashvili Family Vineyards

Saperavi World Prize will award unique and precious prizes, hand-made by leading Georgian jewelers from Zenaari company – official partner of SapPrize. The gold, silver, and bronze prizes will be miniature copies of “azarpesha” - ancient Georgian wine vessels, usually made of silver or gold. These richly decorated objects, which are now rare antique collectibles, where chosen by SapPrize organizers to underline special role of wine in Georgia’s history and culture.
The winners of Saperavi World Prize will be announced at a special ceremony, the date of which will be specified later.