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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New 2013!

Dear respected readers,

All the Hvino.com's team is sending our sincere greetings and best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year to you!

According to ancient Georgian tradition, the New Year tree chichilaki should be burned after the New Year. Together with its smoke, all troubles will be gone. As in 2012 we have luckily avoided the end of the world, let's now enter into a brave new world without grim predictions, and with all the positive energy!

2012 was an important year for us, as we launched two daily news services: Hvino News and Hvino Tour News. They are quite successful,  gaining more readership with every month. We will be happy to further develop our service in 2013, supporting international promotion of Georgian brands.

I am lucky to celebrate this New Year in the beautiful city of Tbilisi. From here I am sending congratulations  to over 120 countries of the world, where our readers live. Thank you for reading our news, and happy New Year! 

Alexander Kaffka
Publisher, Hvino.com

"The Korea Herald": Georgia proffers signature wines

Photo: The Korea Herald



by Philip Iglauer

31.12.2012. The Georgian Embassy in Seoul, Korea, hosted an event featuring the country’s wine and brandy for prospective Korean importers and the foreign diplomatic community in response to a growing demand here for quaffs from the Caucasus.

Georgian Ambassador to Korea Nikoloz Apkhazava also underscored the importance of his country’s wine to Georgian national identity during a tasting Thursday.

“It is difficult to describe the importance of wine to Georgians. It is so tied up with our national identity,” Apkhazava said. “When we think of wine, we think of our homeland.”

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Conference in Tbilisi: 20 Georgian companies getting ready to export to Russia

30.12.2012 (Hvino News) Center for Georgian-Russian Economic Cooperation reported that over 20 wine and mineral waters companies will discuss possibilities of export to Russia at a conference tomorrow, according to Georgian agency InterPressNews. The conference, to be held on December 31th in Tbilisi, will address procedures, requirements, legal fremework and other issues pertaining to export of Georgian wine and mineral water to Russian market.

The event starts at Tbilisi Marriott hotel at 12:00.

© Hvino News

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2013's Georgian Wine Guide presented in Tbilisi

30.12.2012 (Hvino News). Malkhaz Kharbedia presented the newest edition of his guide book on Georgian wine yesterday in Tbilisi. The reception was held at a book store and was attended by many wine business representatives, experts and aficionados, demonstrating high level of interest to the new book.

The 2013's Georgian Wine Guide is a comprehensive bi-lingual (English and Georgian) pocket-size volume, accompanied by map. Price tag: 10 GEL or approximately 5 EUR.

The author Mr. Kharbedia is president of Georgia's Wine Club, which sees its mission in development of Georgian wine traditions.

© Hvino News

Friday, December 28, 2012

Russian foreign ministry: Nothing prevents Georgian wine from returning

27.12.2012 (Hvino News) Russia sees no obstacles to the return of Georgian wine and mineral water to the Russian domestic market. As reported by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, this was announced by Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.

Moscow hopes for all best conditions for the trade and economic relations between Russia and Georgia when Georgian wine and "Borjomi" return to Russia, said Lukashevich. "Moreover, we have some other proposals to the "Borjomi" - new offers, including from major Russian companies. This is not bad when the economy is ahead of politics", he added.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Georgian sparkling water Nabeghlavi seeks to re-enter Russian market

26.12.2012 (Hvino News). Georgian sparkling water company Nabeghlavi has formally asked Russia for a certificate, in a bid to re-enter the neighboring country's market. However, the CEO of the company, former Agriculture Minister Mikhail Svimonishvili said that export of Georgian goods to the Russian market will not be possible this year.

Svimonishvili expressed hope that Russian sanitary service experts will arrive in Georgia in spring, and Nabeghlavi will be granted a relevant certificate.

Svimonishvili said that if the Russian market opens up for Georgian goods, Nabeghlavi will return to Russia, noting that sparkling water of this brand has already been on sale in the country in 2003-2005. Furthermore, Svimonishvili said, the chief Russian sanitarian has assigned to Nabeghlavi the status of high-quality mineral water and awarded the product a gold medal.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Georgia ready to receive Russian experts to examine Georgian wines

25.12.2012 (Hvino News). Georgia is ready to receive Russian experts to examine quality of Georgian wines, Georgian Minister of Agriculture David Kirvalidze told journalists on Tuesday. “If Russia accepts the invitation, Georgia is ready to receive Russian experts and offer all possible assistance,” he said.

According to the minister, later this week, officials from the Georgian ministry of agriculture plan to meet with wine makers to discuss procedures to facilitate the entry of Georgian wines on the Russian market. After this meeting, a delegation of wine makers, officials from Georgia’s Exports and Imports Agency and the Vine and Wine Department will be formed. “We will try to organize a meeting between our delegation and representatives of the Russian side to look into details and a possible date for lifting Russia’s ban on Georgian wine imports,” he said.

Earlier, Mr. Kirvalidze said: "Examination on site is accepted practice worldwide and means more guarantees. In addition, we think on a regular basis (quarterly or monthly)  to officially provide the Russian side with a list of legitimate exports from Georgia as for the wine, spirits and mineral waters... If we will be back [to Russia], it will be a dignified return".

© Hvino News

Monday, December 24, 2012

In a Swedish castle in Georgia

Ampheloograhical collect of Georgiaby Magnus Reuterdahl

24.12.2012. It would be easy to put a header as Georgia on my mind, as it truly has been, and it’s such a great song but instead I’ll hold my horses and start to put words to a few of my thoughts… but then again the Georgia trip was filled with music, so let's continue in that tradition.

About a month ago I was in Georgia, along with a number of other wine lovers on one of the EWBC post trips in search of the cradle of wine and new experiences.

That Georgia makes wine may not come as a surprise to everyone, but that Georgia makes superb wines and still make wine in much the same way as in antiquity is perhaps more surprising. In Georgia they make wine in two ways, in part in much the same way as we do wine in Europe and the New World and then they also make wines in amphorae (qvevri) called qvevri wines. The technique dates back several thousand years back in time.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Vinoterra – tasty wine from a qvevri

by Tim Lemke

23.12.2012. In my previous post about Georgian wine I promised that my next post would highlight some Georgian wines that I know are available in the US — and available at very reasonable prices.  I’m not only going to fulfill that promise, but I’m going to do so while sharing with you the wines that impressed me the most on my visit to Georgia.

Schuchmann Wines is located in the village of Kisiskhevi, which is in the Telavi region of Kakheti province in Georgia.  We arrived at the winery just before sunset, after a long bus ride on some bumpy roads.  We were rather tired when we arrived, but glad to take a break from riding in the bus.  The building looks almost like a hunting or skiing lodge and with a fog settling in at dusk, it was somewhat eerie.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

President Putin praised Georgian wine and will "look into" the problem of Georgian wine import

20.12.2012 (Hvino News) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin spent 4.5 hours talking to reporters during live televised news conference on Thursday.

Regarding relations with Georgia, Mr. Putin said: “We see positive signals – so far very modest, but anyway positive signals coming from Georgia’s new leadership. Not only we see that a special representative of the Georgian government for relations with Russia has been appointed, but we also welcome it.”

Putin mentioned high quality of Georgian wine. "Yes, it is a tasty wine, Georgia has a special culture of wine  making, different from West European one". A Georgian journalist asked Putin how soon it would be possible to return Georgian products back on the Russian market especially taking into consideration that Russia was already WTO member.

Georgia's envoy warns about Russian market risks

20.12.2012 (Hvino News) Zurab Abashidze, Georgia's Special Representative for Relations with Russia, said at recent press conference, that "There is a danger that Russian market will be closed and businesses should decide themselves whether it is worth getting back there or not".

According to Mr. Abashidze, the government cannot give political guarantees to businessmen in this regard.

"I know that wine-makers and businessmen associations addressed Russia’s Chief Sanitarian, confirming readiness for resuming export of wines and mineral waters, though we are now expecting more concrete and detailed replies to letters sent to Moscow", Zurab Abashidze said. According to him, restoration of trade and economic relations is not a matter of Russia’s free will. ‘This is Russia’s obligation, undertaken by the country as a member of the World Trade Organization’, Abashidze said.

© Hvino News

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sarajishvili to sign contract with Russian importer

19.12.2012. Brandy and wine producer Sarajishvili is going to sign contract with one of Russian companies regarding export of its products to Russia. According to the founder of the company Elguja Bubuteishvili, he will inform of the exact date and term of the contract in a few days. ‘This is one of famous Russian companies that will export our products to Russia’, Bubuteishvili said. According to him, Russian specialists have already visited the company several times. ‘Many people arrived for evaluation purposes. They like Georgian brandy and they say they want to export Georgian wine and brandy to Russian market’, -Bubuteishvili said. Supplies may start  in March 2013.

Source

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

National Public Radio on Georgian wine and food

18.12.2012 (Hvino News) America's NPR (National Public Radio) published yesterday an article on Georgian wine and food. Parts of the essay by NPR's Moscow correspondent Corey Flintoff "Wine And Food May Rekindle Love Lost Between Russia And Georgia" follow below:
It's a big day in the religious and culinary calendar of the Republic of Georgia. Georgian Catholics observe Dec. 17 as St. Barbara's Day, in honor of an early Christian martyr. And they typically mark the occasion by eating a type of stuffed bread called lobiani, baked with a filling of boiled beans with coriander and onions. <...>
As a side effect of the bitter conflict between Russia and Georgia, imports of Georgian wine and mineral water are banned in Russia. Georgian restaurants in Moscow make do with imports from France, Chile and Australia, but Georgian food lovers will tell you it's not the same. Since October, when elections brought a new regime to power in Georgia, hopes have been raised that the wine ban might be lifted as a gesture of good will. Since most of Georgia's wine had been imported to Russia before the war, it may be a real economic gesture as well. 

"Decanter" on Georgian wine

17.12.2012 (Hvino News). Leading British wine magazine Decanter published today an article on Georgian wine. The article by David Furer is entitled "Hopes stir for Russia-Georgia export ban thaw". Parts of article follow below:
Two developments the past week have stirred hopes for Georgia's wine producers, who have been banned from exporting to Russia for more than six years. Russia banned imports of Georgian wine in 2006 after its military conflict with the former Soviet state, citing poor quality as the reason, while Georgia – which until had exported 89% of all its wine to Russia – denounced the ban as politically motivated, and illegal. Now, following Georgia's recent government elections, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov last week said, ‘When they tell us Georgia wants to further improve relations, we are ready to discuss resuming imports of Georgian agricultural products as well.’ <...>

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Georgian wine will help Japanese to live through December 21th

15.12.2012 (Hvino News) In Tokyo, Japan, a Georgian wine tasting is planned for December 21 - the "end of the world day", according to the Mayas. What better way to live through the notorious day, than "by drinking these unique natural wines and meeting and socializing with interesting people?" - ask the event's organizers.

Georgian Natural Clay Jar Wine Tasting will take place Friday, December 21 at 6:30 PM, location: Shinagawa Bay Crest Tower, Konan 3-9-33, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0075.

The guests will be offered "organic wines with only naturally occurring sulphites, giving a clean product rich in polyphenols and antioxidants with great health benefits. While the wines are rich, viscous, delicious and satisfying with normal levels of alcohol people are able to drink more of these wines than other wines with none of the ill effects associated with alcohol drinking such as upset stomach, hangover etc. You will also be able to taste some really delicious authentic Georgian food which matches the taste of the wines perfectly".

© Hvino News

Friday, December 14, 2012

Onishchenko: Georgian wines will not return to Russia in 2012

14.12.2012 (Hvino News) Russia's chief sanitary doctor Gennady  Onishchenko said that the documents necessary to resume the shipments have been received from almost 30 Georgian companies, but the shipments would not be resumed in 2012. "It's obvious. There is too little time left."

"We are ready to meet with Georgian producers here, but we definitely need to look at the production on the site. If we are satisfied, we will offer to register new products. If all goes well, deliveries will start, and we will be controlling the batches," said Russia's chief sanitary doctor.

© Hvino News

Askaneli Brothers and Tbilvino comment on 2012's results

14.12.2012. Georgian businesses continue to sum up 2012's results. Wine company Askaneli Brothers announces the current year was successful. The company’s founder said that wine sales doubled compared to last year, while the financial growth is almost 100%. Irakli Chkhaidze notes that this year the products were exported to the United States and China. According to him, if last year in total 650 thousand bottles of wine were sold, this year the company sold one million 200 thousand bottles. The company carries out exports to 13 countries.

Tbilvino informs that the 2012 year turned out to be quite successful for their company. According to the company’s director Giorgi Margvelashvili, Tbilvino opened a new grape processing plant in Kakheti with the support of the International Finance Corporation (see also: Tbilvino’s new grape primary processing plant opened in Kakheti region). A 12% sales increase compared to last year was also observed. Margvelashvili adds that Tbilvino entered several new markets, and Georgian wine is exported to South Korea, Moldova and Armenia. In his words, the company was the first who implemented Georgian wine export to Canada.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

More than 20 Georgian winemakers ask Russia to resume import

13.12.2012 (Hvino News) More than 20 Georgian producers of wine and mineral water have asked Russia's Federal Consumer Rights and Healthcare Supervisory Service to execute quality inspections to resume supplies to Russian market, according to statement from the Russian agency made on Thursday. The authority said that eight applications out of 20 that were signed in previous years. On Monday, the agency’s director, Gennady Onishchenko, said that his quality inspections would occur at Georgian plants and imports could be resumed.

At the same, head of Georgian Wine Association Tina Kezeli in a recent interview to Deutsche Welle said that Georgian winemakers "are not going to be obsessed with the Russian market"  because of recent years' negative experience. "We will look at future cooperation with caution", - said Kezeli. According to her, Georgian wine is gaining ground in other important markets, and it would be wrong to abandon them and focus solely on Russia. According to her, so far it is not clear whether a group of Russian experts will arrive to Georgia in late December to assess the quality of Georgian wine.

© Hvino News

Wine companies plan for New Year special offers

13.12.2012. Georgian wine companies assess the year of 2012 and are getting ready for the New Year holiday. Winemakers speak about 20-30% growth in sales.

Badagoni assessed 2012 year as successful and notes that 25-30% increase in sales was observed this year compared to last. Company's director says that Badagoni prepares a gift basket, however, the packing cost is not clear yet. The company can’t name the percentage increase in sales in the New Year period, however, says that like last year, a big consumer activity is expected.

Telavi Wine Cellar' (Marani) also successfully assesses 2012 year. According to management, the company has already received orders for Christmas gift baskets. The company’s management add that increased by 20% compared to last year. The company doesn't rule out 30% growth in sales in the New Year period as well.

Source

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Georgian winemakers react on recent comments by Ambassador to China

12.12.2012 (Hvino News). Chinese market is profitable for Georgian wine and demand for this product is increasing there - Dmitry Lebanidze, General Director of Kindzmarauli Marani said  in response to comments made by Georgia’s Ambassador to China.

Ambassador Mamuka Gamkrelidze said it would be better if the wine makers contacted the Embassy in advance for consultation. The Ambassador  said that the wine makers participate in the exhibitions held in the cities, where the market is already full. "When you participate in Hong Kong and Shanghai exhibitions, this is wrong, the calculations must be done in the provinces, where more than a billion people live in order to sell  our wine here that will be much more profitable," – Gamkrelidze noted. For details, see: Ambassador criticizes Georgian winemakers' strategy in China

Dmitry Lebanidze said to Commersant that they take their products to Chinese provinces, and in near future Kindzmarauli Marani wines will occupy a considerable share in the market of Shanghai. The company exports 15-17% or 100 thousand bottles to China. The company plans to grow its share in China and to increase the current rate up to 300 thousand bottles.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Russia's Onishchenko to start negotiations on Georgian wine and mineral water imports

10.12.2012 (Hvino News) Russian news agency Interfax reported today that Gennady Onishchenko, head of Federal Consumer Rights and Healthcare Supervisory Service  is ready to meet with Georgian businessmen in Moscow to discuss the resumption of Georgian wine and mineral water imports.

"We are studying documents and will send them invitations soon," Onishchenko said at press conference on Monday. Georgian business associations and businessmen have applied to the Russian federal service for their return to the Russian market, Onishchenko said. Federal service inspections of the Georgian plants are the mandatory condition, he said. "There are such plans. But an agreement is a different question. There are no specific agreements so far," Onishchenko said.

Levan Davitashvili, Georgian National Wine Agency's head  said on December 9 that the return to the Russian market was strategic although the country had found buyers in other states.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Discovering magical wines in Georgia

By Tim Lemke

10.12.2012. In the last few years I’ve been fortunate enough to visit a number of different wine regions and I always look forward to discovering new wines in new places.  When I recently had the opportunity to explore wines in the country of Georgia, I jumped at the chance.

It’s interesting to see how places compare to our preconceived notions.  And the same is true about tasting new wines.  We often have an expectation of the wine, but the reality doesn’t always match those expectations.

The Place and the People

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when going to Georgia.  To me, Georgia was a very distant and remote country.  I knew that they had been occupied by the Bolsheviks and as recently as 2008 had been attacked by Russia.  I expected to see a war torn, beaten-down country filled with people who were tired and bitter.  I was wrong.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Russian Minister: Moscow to resume agricultural imports from Georgia

09.12.2012. (Hvino News) Moscow is ready to resume agricultural imports from Georgia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday.

“When they tell us Georgia wants to further improve relations, we are ready to discuss resuming imports of Georgian agricultural products as well,” he said. Russia banned imports of Georgian wines and two popular brands of mineral water in 2006 citing the poor quality of the products, a move widely condemned in Georgia as politically motivated.

The Russian foreign minister said a meeting of Russia’s and Georgia’s representatives would take place in the near future. ‘We’ll respond to the proposal by [Georgia’s Special Envoy for Relations with Russia Zurab] Abashidze and will hold contacts with him in the near future,” Lavrov said. Russian foreign minister also stated that Russia is ready to discuss restoring regular air link with Georgia.

© Hvino News

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ambassador criticizes Georgian winemakers' strategy in China

08.12.2012 (Hvino News). Georgia’s Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to China calls on Georgian wine-makers for more active approach.

As Ambassador Mamuka Gamkrelidze told Georgian radio Commersant, he had already applied to Georgian winemakers with initiative to set up the Association of Georgian Wine in China. However Gamkrelidze noted that Georgian winemakers are passive.

The Ambassador  says that the wine makers participate in the exhibitions held in the cities, where the market is already full. "When you participate in Hong Kong and Shanghai exhibitions, this is wrong, the calculations must be done in the provinces, where more than a billion people live in order to sell  our wine here that will be much more profitable," – Gamkrelidze noted. According to him, it would be better if the wine makers contact the Embassy in advance for consultation.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Britain's "The Telegraph" on Tbilisi and Georgian wine

07.12.2012. (HTN - Hvino Tour News) The Telegraph, Britain's leading newspaper, has published yesterday an illustrated article on Tbilisi in its Travel Section.

Besides Tbilisi's touristic attractions, the article lists useful information like airline routes to Tbilisi, suggested hotels and restaurants with prices. It also pays attention to wine culture of Georgia - "a country that considers eating as important as breathing, and whose wine industry is now a major global player".

Parts of article "Tbilisi, Georgia: a cultural city guide" by Claire Allfree follow below.
Georgian wine is an integral part of Tbilisi’s penchant for hedonism, and one of the best places to try it is also one of the first to be established <...>

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Teliani Valley’s Shota Kobelia video interview

06.12.2012 (Hvino News). Yesterday GIPA (Georgian Institute Of Public Affairs) published a video interview of Teliani Valley’s director Shota Kobelia. The interview is a piece of GIPA's short film about Georgian wine, and has subtitles in English language.



Source

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ukraine's wine and spirits shows to open in Odessa in February

05.12.2012 (Hvino News). In February 2013 the Ukraine's leading industry trade shows XIII International exhibition "Wine and Winemaking" and XIII International exhibition of Spirits "High Degree" will be held in Odessa. These trade shows, which already have become traditional for the alcohol industry of Ukraine, will take place on February 7 – 9 at Odessa’s Sea Terminal exhibition center.

Hvino News is pleased to be the media sponsor of "Wine and Winemaking" and "High Degree" 2013, and to inform interested companies about these high profile business events.

The main focus of professional exhibitions "Wine and Winemaking" and "High Degree" will be on new European trends in design and packaging of alcohol products, retail marketing, and wine tourism.

The exhibitions in 2012 were attended by more than 90 manufacturing companies of wines and spirits, equipment and materials for the viticulture and wine producing. The main purpose of these exhibitions is to create a positive image of Ukrainian alcohol industry and to improve the culture of drinking of wine production and strong alcohol.

"By Invitation": review of saperavi from Winery Nika

By Simon Narracott

05.12.2012. In 2008 Nika manufactured its first production after harvesting in 2006; it was small amount of 3,200 bottles of saperavi.

This pours a deep dark red, almost black, with the strong aroma of dark fruit and heavy spices. This is a full-bodied, but smooth-tannin wine that really gives you a sense of its history and where it has come from. It is quite unlike anything you might get from France or the New World wines. A real depth of flavour leaves you with a lingering dry meal of a wine.

According to Georgian tradition, all the grapes are hand picked, and the wine is made and aged in kvevri (ceramic vessels) with spontaneous fermentation technology. The wine stays in kvevri about two years; after that it is bottled unfiltered.

The bottle is different in that the label wraps around and the pattern meets in a continuous flow. This reflects the repeating of life in the grapes, and as us as drinkers.

This is an interesting wine, probably never going to be in your top 10 but it is a wine you need to taste to get a real feel for the country. It does work perfectly if being taken alongside real Georgian cuisine.

Source

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Levan Davitashvili is new chief of National Wine Agency of Georgia

04.12.2012 (Hvino News). Levan Davitashvili has been appointed as new head of National Wine Agency of Georgia. The appointment was announced today at press conference at Ministry of Agriculture. The new chief of NWA was presented by first deputy minister David Shervashidze.

According to official press release, Minister of Agriculture David Kirvalidze met with the newly appointed Levan Davitashvili today and discussed main work directions of the agency, issues of competitiveness and quality of Georgian wine, and prospects of new markets development.

Mr. Davitashvili, 34, previously worked in private sector as marketing director at Schuchmann Wines and executive director at Intermanagement LLC. He was also Chairman of the Board of Georgian Wine Association. He is graduate of Tbilisi University and CESMA Business School in Madrid.

The National Wine Agency (formerly known as "Samtrest") is a state institution within Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia. Its mission is to "assist the development of wine sector of Georgia through establishment of quality control mechanism and organizing promotional activities to increase international awareness about the uniqueness of Georgian wine".

© Hvino News

Monday, December 3, 2012

"Chateau Mukhrani" to invest 8 million EUR in tourism

03.12.2012.  Prince Ivane Mukhranbatoni-Bagrationi’s castle, with its gardens, stable, antique cellars, Georgian and European restaurants, exhibition halls, wedding house, luxe suites, amphitheater  and much more will open to tourists by August 2013.

Today the Bagrationi Estate in Mukhrani, located 35 km from Tbilisi, is already hosting visitors with its offers of exclusive wine tasting, lunch or dinner with a range of tasty Georgian dishes, horse riding, churchkhela-making, traditional Georgian bread-baking and chacha distillation.

Bagrationi estate in Mukhrani was a  center for the Georgian cultural elite in the 19th century. Ivane Mukhranbatoni, a well educated and talented landlord was famed for his winemaking. Even in the 19th century Mukhrani wines were very popular in Georgia as well as abroad.

Schuchmann Wines to enter Russia and continue investing in Georgia

 Photo: Financial
03.12.2012.  “I love Georgia. As I have my business here I am also a believer in thinking that international business activities and foreign capital inflow is a positive challenge for the Georgian economy,” said Burkhard Schuchmann, German investor in Georgia.

Burkhard Schuchmann, a German investor in Georgia, who signed his contract on 11 August, 2008, is intensively promoting Georgian wine as well as wine tourism locally and abroad. “I’m a Vice Chairman of the board of Patentes Talgo SA, Madrid, and Chief Executive Officer of Alternative Rail Investment AG, Frankfurt. I have quite extensive experience in the railway sector. But I decided to start a totally different business and in another country when I retired,” Schuchmann said.

Teliani Valley: The best wine is the next I make

Marc Dworkin. Photo: Financial
03.12.2012. Georgian traditional winemaking meets modern French know-how in a bottle under the brand name Teliani Valley. “Winemaking is a constant process of searching. A good winemaker always fusses, looks for different tastes and in addition, stays true to centuries-old Georgian traditions,” Marc Dworkin and Simon Megutvnishvili, winemakers at the leading Georgian wine company Teliani Valley.

“Georgia is unique, with a unique combination of climate-soil-varietal that doesn’t exist in any other part of the world and never will do,” Dworkin said. The Financial interviewed Marc Dworkin and Simon Megutvnishvili today. Composer, painter, archaeologist, journalist, hunter are those professions to which winemakers are compared. “A true winemaker is akin to Marco Polo”, Megutvnishvili said.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Georgian wines in Australia

02.12.2012. We found an interesting post by blogger Raffaele Mastrovincenzo about Georgian wines found in Melbourne, Australia. Parts from his article follow.

Lately I have been living in Melbourne -  an amazing town, full of nice small places to eat and drink. I have noticed in the bench of wine bars and in wine lists there is attention to "natural wines" or, in my way, artisan wines.

In my excursion I had the chance to try lots of nice stuff. One of that is a Georgian wine, lately imported to Australia. Georgia is the country where the wine is born, in-fact the wine born eight thousand years ago, and perhaps the first wine produced was in a region overlooking the Black sea, which the Greeks called Colchis -  what we call today Georgia. Caucasian republic is an extraordinary reserve with dozen of species and  different varieties of wines.Georgia boasts an ancient culture of wine.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Two Georgian wines win in Vancouver

01.12.2012 (Hvino News). "And two wines from Georgia. Yes, Georgia", - reads the official release about the winners of Vancouver magazine’s International Wine Competition 2013, published today.

For the first time two Georgian wines have received top awards of Vancouver magazine’s contest, which is the largest judging of international and domestic wines in Western Canada.

The Georgian winners are Wine Man Mukuzani 2007 in nomination "Best Medium Red Wines", and Marani Mtsvane 2011 in nomination "Best Bargain Wines". Marani Mtsvane was also included in Vancouver Sun's “Wine picks of the week”, characterized as “a steal at this price”.

"We work hard to select a range of wines that allow you to taste many styles and prices. So in the spirit of the ever-broadening wine world, we hope you enjoy the Mtsvane and  Saperavi wines as much as more familiar standards" - said the organizers of Canada's wine contest.

© Hvino News

Tbilvino and Teliani have not yet applied for permit to Russian market

01.12.2012 (Hvino News) Some of the largest Georgian wine companies say they have not yet applied for Russia's certification request. Tbilvino's  director Giorgi Margvelashvili  said that they are waiting for  the agreement of official structures  and only then will  apply to the Russian side.

Teliani Valley has neither applied to the Russian side. The company's CEO explained that everyone talks   about the opening of the Russian market, but in reality none of the wine companies knows how to approach the Russian side. Shota Khobelia notes the company is waiting for inspection, and  if there is an opportunity it will apply to the Russian side for certification, reported Commersant.

At the same time, wine company Badagoni has already started certification process in Russia and expects the issue to be resolved in the spring (see: Badagoni entering Russia).

© Hvino News

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wine export: encouraging news

29.11.2012 (Hvino News). Good news came from GeoStat - the statistical department of Georgia - concerning wine export increase.

According to "External Trade Tendencies of Georgia in January-October 2012" $50 million in wine of fresh grapes was exported from Georgia in January – October, 2012. During same period of previous year, Georgia sold worth $42 million. Share of wine in total major commodity export also grew from 2.4% to 2.6%.

The tendency is encouraging especially in the view of probable Georgia's return to Russian wine market.

© Hvino News

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Travel Weekly": Georgia rises

Photo: Travel Weekly / Godwin 
28.11.2012 (HTN - Hvino Tour News). Today the leading US national newspaper of travel industry Travel Weekly published a fundamental article on Georgian tourism and wine tradition. Several excerpts from the article "Georgia rises" by Nadine Godwin follow:

When I passed through immigration at Georgia’s Tbilisi Airport, an agent quickly stamped my passport, then handed me a box.

Never before had I received a gift at an immigration checkpoint. The small bottle of red wine came with a message that said in part: “We warmly welcome you to Georgia, the country that gave wine to the world.” All arriving foreign-passport holders were gifted at entry in Tbilisi, a gesture that left no doubt about the country’s desire to please foreign visitors.

Georgia already is realizing some of its potential for wine tourism, with vintners in Kakheti, the country’s top winemaking region, offering tours and tastings. Georgia claims to be the place where winemaking was born around 8,000 years ago, though some scholars credit other locations in the general vicinity.

New Georgian economic minister counts on trade with Russia

By Margarita Antidze

28.11.2012. Georgia's new economic minister says his country, beset by high unemployment and low per capita output, wants double-digit growth rates in two or three years through the injection of pro-business policies.

It is also striving to restore trade tries with neighbouring Russia, severed after a 2008 conflict, Georgy Kvirikashvili told Reuters in an interview on Monday. If Georgia were to mend economic ties with Russia, it might be able to rebuild bilateral trade, which has slumped to just 5 percent of total trade after peaking at 20 percent in 2006. That was before a Kremlin crackdown on imports of Georgian wine and mineral water.

Growth would come from Georgia's measures to boost midsize businesses, dismantle state monopolies, develop the stock exchange and attract foreign investors, Kvirikashvili said. But not yet. He forecast growth of 7 percent both this year and in 2013.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

DNA research: wine roots found in Turkey

27.11.2012 (Hvino News). While Georgia, Armenia and Iran all played a role in ancient winemaking, preliminary evidence seems to place the very first domestication of the wild Eurasian grape Vitis vinifera in southeastern Anatolia (Turkey) sometime between 5,000 and 8,500 BC.

These research findings were presented at EWBC wine conference in Izmir this month, and published by AFP today.

Today Turkey is home to archaeological sites as well as vineyards of ancient grape varieties like Bogazkere and Okuzgozu, which drew the curiosity of the Swiss botanist and grape DNA researcher Jose Vouillamoz, for the clues they may offer to the origin of European wine.

Together with the biomolecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern, Vouillamoz has spent nearly a decade studying the world's cultivated and wild vines.

Georgia and Russia: no place for competition in wine production

27.11.2012. Not only Georgian now-banned wine and mineral water, but also citrus return to the Russian market very soon, Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili said the other day. In Russia this news was taken rather coldly. As it turned out, there is no real competition between Georgian and Russian producers. "The ban on the import of Moldovan wine has played a major role in the development of Russian wineries, and the ban of Georgia's wine had no effect", said the expert Eugene Kritsky.

"Georgia was represented in the Russian market very modestly", the head of Horticulture and Viticulture Department of Agriculture Ministry of Krasnodar region Eugene Kritsky said. Both wine and citrus are being shipped out in small amounts. "Kindzmarauli" and "Khvanchkara" are being produced in Abkhazia and Abkhazia is accessable. So I see no big problem here".

According to Kritsky, lack of Georgian goods in the market has not become an incitement to strengthen the position of domestic producers. "The ban on the import of Moldovan wine has played a major role in the development of Russian wineries, and the ban on Georgia's goods had no impact", he said.

Monday, November 26, 2012

From Georgia with love

Photo:  Spaswinefood
26.11.2012. Sharon Parsons, an American journalist,  has published today a detailed account of recent tour of wine bloggers to Georgia, in the framework of EWBC conference in Turkey (read more here). Here are excerpts from Parsons' blog post:

Georgia, one of the oldest producing wine regions in the world, is rich in tradition. However, it is not every day that you get an opportunity to experience the rich wine and food traditions of a unique wine producing country, like Georgia.  During a recent EWBC post-conference trip to Georgia Spaswinefood had the opportunity to experience first hand the wonderful Georgian hospitality centered around wine making and cuisine.

Our first stop in Tbilisi was the Georgian National Museum where we toured the museum. One of the  visit for me was seeing a display of historical qvevris. Throughout our visit to Georgia we saw how qvevris are used in today's wine production.

Badagoni entering Russia

Giorgi Salakaia.  Photo: Financial
26.11.2012. Badagoni, one of the leading wine producing companies in Georgia, is preparing to enter the Russian market, which will probably be opened to Georgian wine producers by spring 2013, according to Giorgi Salakaia, General Director of Badagoni. Professor Donato Lanati, who helped the company to develop, said that the wine products with which Badagoni will compete with existing brands in Russia, are produced with traditional Georgian technology.

Badagoni, which was opened in 2006, quickly became known to the public due to a financial raid on it following the visit of President Saakashvili to the factory. Just a short period on from its opening financial police entered the factory and confiscated a huge amount of wine claiming reasons of its supposedly inferior quality. The company managed to garner huge popularity is spite of this fact thanks to Enosis, the globally prominent laboratory. The company subsequently reported 80 percent growth on the local market.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Georgian wine in Strasbourg - "Capital of Christmas"

25.11.2012 (Hvino News) This year Georgia is the "Guest of Honour" at Strasbourg Christmas Market, which opened on November 24 in France. Founded in 1570, Strasbourg Christmas Market is the world's most famous one thanks to its size and location in the capital of Europe. Georgia's Minister of Culture Guram Odisharia and First Deputy Minister Alexander Margishvili attended the opening  ceremony.

Georgian wine is presented in the "Georgian Village", which is set up at Place Gutenberg, in the city centre. All the regions of Georgia are represented, as well as Georgian products, traditional dishes and clothing. Georgian Christmas Village will be open from 24th November to 23rd December.

The organizer of the "Georgian Village" is Georgian Product Ltd.

Friday, November 23, 2012

"Washington Post" mentions Georgian wine export

23.11.2012 (Hvino News) In the latest issue Washington Post has published article "Georgia’s new prime minister raises heat on outgoing president, vows to assert full control". Here is an excerpt:

Ivanishvili’s coalition unseated Mikhail Saakashvili’s party in an embarrassing defeat in last month’s parliamentary election. New constitutional reforms pushed by Saakashvili before his party lost the election will reduce the presidency to a largely symbolic role, but Ivanishvili has been relentless in his efforts to keep the embattled president sidelined even before the reform takes effect next October <...>

Ivanishvili also voiced hope for a quick restoration of Georgian exports to Russia. Georgian producers of wine, mineral water, vegetables and fruits had strongly depended on the Russian market and have suffered badly since their exports were cut amid a buildup of tensions in the run-up to the war.

Happy Giorgoba (St. George Day) to everyone from Hvino News! It's a public holiday in Georgia.

© Hvino News

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Badagoni tasting was held in Tbilisi

Photo: Badagoni
21.11.2012 (Hvino News) Today Badagoni held professional tasting of premium products at  "Radisson Blu Iveria" hotel in Tbilisi.

The event was guided by company’s partner - famous oenologist, head leading wine laboratory “Enosis” (Italy), professor of Torino Agrarian University, member of OIV Dr. Donato Lanati.  Dr. Lanati introduced new products of Badagoni - Chacha Classic and Chacha Original.

Among the invited guests were winemakers, sommeliers, restaurateurs, hotel chains' representatives. They tasted Khvanchkara, Saperavi Rosé and white Kakhetian Noble wine, which is Badagoni's exclusive brand. Importing countries' representatives from Ukraine, Russia, Italy and other countries have arrived in Tbilisi to attend the tasting.

Company news

Monday, November 19, 2012

Agriculture Minister: Everyone will feel positive effect from Georgian products' comeback to Russia

Photo: Ministry of Agriculture   
19.11.2012 (Hvino News) If Georgian products come back to the Russian market, the positive results will be felt by everyone, said David Kirvalidze, Minister of Agriculture of Georgia,  in his interview published today by Georgian weekly Kviris Palitra.

"The Russian market will open gradually ... I know that companies wanted to export their products to Russia, but were forced to say they did not. Factors such as a new prime minister, change of government, and our repeated statements regarding desire to return to Russian market, have opened up new opportunities,"- said the Minister.

Speaking about the prospects of Georgian wine exports to Russia,  Mr. Kirvalidze stressed that the wine is of  high quality, and "it is impossible that Georgian wine, which is exported to EU, does not comply with Russia's standards." "The quality of Georgian wine has strongly improved ... The government will strictly control its quality", - concluded the minister.

© Hvino News

Postage stamp with Miss Georgian Wine issued in USA

19.11. 2012 (Hvino News) The US Postal Service has approved postage stamp with the image of Miss Georgian Wine 2012.

Earlier Hvino News has announced that the award for the winner of Miss Georgian Wine 2012 Photo Contest would be an unusual and unique object. This stamp with image of Sopho Kherkheulidze is the promised surprise for the winner.

At the same time, this is official postage usable in the USA. It will also become a philately collector’s item.

“We are glad to issue this unusual prize for Miss Georgian Wine 2012. The stamp also promotes Georgia worldwide – which is the main objective of Hvino News and other projects of Hvino.com. We have already started to accept photos for 2013 Contest, and we hope our next year’s prize will be a national Georgian stamp. We would welcome Georgian Postal Service to partner in Miss Georgian Wine,” – said Alexander Kaffka, publisher of Hvino News.

“We have heard questions why this stamp bears winning image, but not the contest’s logo or official title. According to strict rules of US Postal Service the word “wine” is considered as advocating drinking, so we had to avoid it in our design to be accepted by American authorities. That’s another reason why we want to issue our next prize stamp in Georgia, where wine is a piece of national culture” – he adds.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Financial Times" on Georgian wine

Photo FT / Marc McCrum
17.11. 2012 (Hvino News). British newspaper "Financial Times" in its yesterday's edition published a large article on tourism in Georgia.

In accordance with FT's copyright requirements, we repost only a small article's fragment.

...Two days later, we were at the southeastern edge of the country, to spend our last days in Kakheti, the sunny district famed for its wines, not least because Georgia is the birthplace of viticulture. Containing skin and stem as well as fruit, Georgian wine has an earthier taste than most European wines but it soon grew on me.

“I think you have seen enough churches,” Soso laughed, as we opted to spend the afternoon sampling vintages in the lovely “English garden” of the manor house once owned by Alexander Chavchavadze, godson of Catherine the Great.

We spent the night in Signaghi, a hilltop town so pretty it bordered on twee. With its cobbled streets, red-tiled roofs and touristy signs, this was Mestia as it will be. Our landlady had Georgian wine in bottles, but Soso insisted that we try the local stuff, which came in a two-litre plastic container siphoned from a vat. Cloudy, fruity and slightly bitter, it was more like scrumpy than wine...

Full text of article by Mark McCrum entitled "Higher purpose" can be found on FT's website.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ok, Russia lets Georgian wine in, what’s next?

by Alexander Kaffka

17.11.2012 (Hvino News). The long-awaited return of banned Georgian wine and mineral water to huge Russian market seems to approach. Last week was full of high-level signals coming from both sides, which communicate positive message to eager market players as well as thirsty consumers.

Relations between Georgia and Russia are still at nearly lowest possible level. Let’s say they are a tiny bit above the lowest level. What has been once a total vacuum for citizens of two countries – absence of diplomatic relations, ban on visa issuance, lack of direct transportation means – became slightly better with introduction of direct airline service and one-sided visa-free regime for entry to Georgia. But this is not a breathable atmosphere, because entry to Russia is still practically closed to most Georgians including businesspeople.

Recent political change in Georgia gave hope of fresh air to the breathless contacts between two nations. Comeback of Georgian wine and Borjomi – country’s “signature products” - to Russia will seemingly be the first tangible dividend of that kind.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tbilivino and Schuchmann Wines comment on Russian market pespective

16.11.2012 (Hvino News). Georgian wine industry leaders made comments in connection with recent signals from Tbilisi and Moscow regarding possible lifting of the ban on Georgian wines and mineral water in Russia.

Giorgi Margvelashvili, director of Tbilvino, stated they have been waiting for recovery of export to Russian market for a long time. He said to radio Commersant that products of Georgian wine companies fully comply with quality standards.

Levan Davitashvili, commercial director of Schuchmann Wines said that if it is an open and free return to the Russian market, it can be only welcomed.

In recent weeks, other Georgian wine companies have also made statements in favour of Russian market. For example, Levan Mildiani, owner of Midiani wine company, said in a Russian television programme: "We are prepared to ship our wine to Russia even tomorrow" (read more here).

Russian Chief Sanitary Inspector Gennady Onishchenko said that 8 Georgian companies are likely to get permits to export wines to Russia. Russia banned imports of Georgian wine in 2006. 

© Hvino News