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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Konka on Manhattan: Georgian wine made of American grapes

21.02.2017. He started business at the age of 16 in the small wine bar in Tbilisi and reached the pages of New York Times later. Making Georgian wine in Manhattan and new Georgian-American project Konka Wine Club is a story of Erekle Khaziauri, who introduced Georgian wine to Americans and made them fall in love with it.

When did you come up with an idea to open wine club in Manhattan?

I arrived in New York in 2015. I met an engineer Matt Baldassano who tried to make wine in his yard. It was his hobby doing it with his friends. After I met him, we decided to make a Georgian-American project and make wine together. We decided to make wine with Georgian technologies and use American grapes. We brought special kinds of wine from California. Today, we are very good business partners.

How many people are members of East Village Wine Club? 

East Village Wine Club has 70 regular members and they are mostly Americans, but there are Georgians too. As for Georgian-American project, it is indeed successful. We have new VIP members, for example Diana Zhgenti [Consul General of Georgia in New York - HN].

Can Georgian wine compete with other American brands at the market?

I can talk about Georgian wine non-stop, however, I would emphasize on pitcher wine. There are a lot of factory-made wines imported to New York, but pitcher one has a special attention at the market and a lot of people like it. In few years, Georgian pitcher wine will be one of the most successful wines in the US.

Can you tell us about your future plans?

As for future plans, of course, it concerns Georgian wine and the popularization of its technology. It’s been two years since we are thinking about bringing pitcher in the club and make pitcher wine, but it is of course risky. We don’t want to make low quality pitcher wine. We want to do it in a professional way. The bar Konka will become a place where you can learn more about wine making technologies. In the future, we are going to enter other states too.

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Georgian wines at the Boston Wine Expo 2017

19.02.2017 (Hvino News). At the annual Boston Wine Fair 2017 on February 18-19 Georgia made an impressive presentation showing products from the following wine companies:
  • Artevani Wine/Interbalt Products
  • Bagrationi 1882
  • Besini 
  • Chateau Mukhrani
  • Danieli Winery
  • Georgian Wine House
  • Kakhuri Gvinis Marani
  • Kartuli Vazi
  • Qimerioni
  • Shilda
  • Shumi
  • Tbilvino
  • Tsereteli Wine and Spirits
  • Vaziani Company

Saturday, February 18, 2017

International Chamber of Commerce appoints representatives of wine and media sectors as commission heads

18.02.2017 (Hvino News). International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia  (ICC Georgia), one of most influential business associations in Georgia, has recently elected its commissions' chairpersons.

Hvino News is pleased to announce that Alexander Kaffka, founder of Hvino publications, was appointed as chairman of ICC's Commission on PR, Marketing & Media. Nutsa Abramishvili, CEO of Schuchmann Wines, will chair ICC's Commission on Agriculture & Wine Industry. Maya Sidamonidze, owner of Hotel Terrace and former head of Georgia's Department of Tourism and Resorts will chair ICC's Commission on Travel and Tourism.

"To chair ICC's Commission is not only a high honour - we consider it as a great opportunity to make a more meaningful contribution to country's development in the fields of marketing and mass media", - said Mr. Kaffka.

The full list of ICC's commissions and their heads can be found here.

ICC Georgia, established in 2002 as the Georgian chapter of the International Chamber of Commerce, unites over 350 corporate and youth members and 27 business associations. It is considered the largest and most vocal business association in the country. The International Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in the world that includes over 6.5 million businesses and chambers of commerce. ICC consults regularly at the global level with the G8, G20, the World Bank, WTO, and the United Nations.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Presentation of Georgian wine in Stockholm

16.02.2017 (Hvino News). A Georgian wine presentation and tasting event was organized in Stockholm with support of National Wine Agency, Swedish-Georgian Trade Board, Georgian Embassy in Sweden and Georgian wine companies.

The event was attended by the owners of the hotels and restaurants in Sweden, wine importers and media representatives.

At the presentation held in the Embassy of Georgia in Stockholm, premium wines of ten Georgian wine companies were represented: Bagrationi 1882, Askaneli Brothers, Maranuli, Teleda, Giuaani, Kindzmarauli Marani, Batono, BG Wine, Dugladze Wines and Spirits, Ikano.

In 2016, with private sector initiative and Swedish-Georgian Trade Board support, Georgia-Sweden representation “Georgian Wine for Scandinavian Countries” - GeoWine for Nordic - was created, which aims to consolidate Georgian wine companies on Scandinavian market.

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Berlin Wine Trophy 2017: An interesting competition for Georgian wines as well


hvino world news

Welcome to Hvino World News - our new column focusing on important events and news from international wine world scene which may be useful and relevant to Georgian wine industry. We are delighted to introduce Ute SEITZ, wine author and wine tourism advisor (Tbilisi) as author of our new column. Today's column is about Berlin Wine Trophy.

16.02.2017 (Hvino News). The 21st Berlin Wine Trophy was held on February 2-5. 171 wine specialists from all over the world (30 nations) judged about 6,000 wines at this event. Berthold Seitz, Dipl.-Ing. Viticulture and Oenology, currently working as an adviser at the National Wine Agency of Georgia, was one of them. To be appointed as a judge at the Berlin Wine Trophy, a profession in wine industry (oenologist, wine merchant, sommelier) and several years of tasting experience and an invitation from the organizer German Wine Marketing (DWM) are required.

Berlin Wine Trophy associated with the Asia Wine Trophy in Daejoen, South Corea, and the Portugal Wine Trophy in Anadia, Portugal, are together the biggest and most important wine competitions worldwide. This offers very interesting opportunities for the wines which enter the competitions. A wine which enters the competition in Germany or Portugal can also enter the Asian Wine Trophy at no additional costs.

The Berlin Wine Trophy is held twice a year – winter edition in February and summer edition in July. Berthold Seitz and his wife Ute were the first judges representing Georgia since the start of the competition under OIV patronage in 2004.

Wines are judged under strict regulations and the supervision of the OIV (International Organization of Vine and Wine), UIOE (International Oenology Organization) and VinoFed (World Federation of Major International Wine and Spirits Competitions). The event is a networking platform for international wine trade and wine experts, from university professors to sommeliers.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sakura 2017: Japanese female wine experts award 13 Georgian wines

13.02.2017 (Hvino News). “SAKURA” Japan Women’s Wine Awards 2017 became known.

Wines were selected after five days of tasting in Japan.An international wine competition judged exclusivel y by Japanese female wine specialists awarded 13 Georgian wines with Double Gold, Gold and Silver medals.

Out of the 13 Georgian wines awarded, one received a Double Gold medal, 7 were awarded Gold medals and 5 earned Silver medals. Compared to last year's results, Georgia shows progress at Sakura Wine Awards. In 2016, Georgia earned nine medals, including one Double Gold medal, four Gold medals and four earned Silver medals.

Here are the winning Georgian wines:

Double Gold
  • Vaziani Company Saperavi 2015

Saturday, February 11, 2017

"The Australian": Georgian winemakers

by James Halliday

11.02.2017. When I received an invitation to join six Georgian winemakers over lunch at Melbourne’s Lee Ho Fook restaurant, I changed my diary in a flash. Georgia is one of the leading contenders for the birthplace of wine, its vinous history dating back more than 8000 years.

Wine became part of Egyptian culture 5000 years ago, when a Pharaoh’s tomb was stocked with 4500 litres of it. Amphorae were vintage dated by year of Pharaoh’s rule and by vigneron. In Greece, wine was part of life from the earliest times, the vine domesticated in the late Neolithic and widely cultivated by the early Bronze Age.

In both Georgia and Greece, wine occupied a central role in life. Wine was so important to ancient Greeks that they worshipped it in the form of the god Dionysus. Winemaking in both countries remained largely unchanged until the last decades of the 20th century. They then went in opposite directions. In 1985 the first oenology course was created in Athens and with lightning speed graduates appeared, some promptly heading to France. Wine quality soared.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Photo contest winner gets prize wine with exclusive label

09.02.2017 (Hvino News). Last month Hvino News reported about Marafoto photo contest, launched by Telavi Wine Cellar company. The results of the contest were announced this week.

The winner Giorgi Chekurishvili was awarded with a unique "Grand Prix": bottles of wine labeled elegantly with reprints of winning photograph.

The Marafoto contest was held in the Facebook social network, who voted by "likes" for the best photo. The voting attracted over 30,000 Facebook users.

The company said the photo contest will become regular, while the themes of photos will vary.

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"Wine Thieves" steal new ways to market Georgian wines

09.02.2017 (Hvino News). Wines under brand Wine Thieves showed up on the shelves just months ago but already gained considerable attention thanks to questionable label designs.

The label for saperavi with nude female figure is based on design by British artist Owen Gent.

“When we created this label, society was quite irritated. The author of "nude" label is a famous British artist who collaborated with Vogue and other famous magazines. We purchased the right to use his design", - said the founder of the company, Avtandil Kobakhidze.

Our name is “Wine Thieves” but we are not real thieves. We bring to the market natural wines from different family cellars”- commented Mr. Kobakhidze. Currently Wine Thieves offer 4 types of wine: Saperavi, Tsolikauri, Rkatsiteli and Chinuri.

This year, the company is planning to add more kinds of wine. Their labels will be "funny too", according to the company's head.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Georgian qvevri wine gains success in France

08.02.2017 (Hvino News). With National Wine Agency's support, Georgian qvevri wine presentations and tastings were held in the cities of France.  French wine professionals had the opportunity to discover and taste wines of six Georgian natural wine producers: Nikoladze Cellar, Antadze Cellar, Pheasant's Tears, Okro's Wines, Iago's Wine, Kortavebi Wine Cellar.

Qvevri wine was introduced at the tastings organized  in Toulouse and Lyon. For the sixth time Georgian wine companies participated in the traditional fairs in Angers (Les Penitentes) and Somuri (La Dive Bouteille).

Head of NWA Giorgi Samanishvili said: «Qvevri wine is exported by Georgia to every direction, though it is specially approved in the traditional wine consumer countries such as France, Italy etc. Despite of the fact, that qvevri wine part in total wine export is not big, this is outstanding wine and known to everybody, who knows Georgian viticulture and wine-making culture and history. Qvevri wine is  a kind of a business card for us to make Georgian wine more famous. Introduction of  wine in France means popularisation of Georgian qvevri wine on every important market worldwide».

As a participant of the fair, Georgian wine-maker Iago Bitarishvili noted, that  interest towards qvevri wine was traditionally great this year. Georgian wine-makers state, that in the previous years participation in the fairs mentioned above has brought considerable importers.

«Interest towards qvevri wine this year was even greater, especially at the tastings in Toulouse and Lyon. In this south part of France, qvevri wine is successfully sold and these tastings will promote further growth of publicity of our  wine. Also, great interest was expressed towards qvevri wines at the fairs - Les Penitentes and La Dive Bouteille. In this period, wine producers, importers, writers gather here; also, new contracts were signed» - he mentioned.

36 thousand bottles of Georgian wine were exported to France in 2016; as of January 2017, already 13 thousand bottles were exported, according to NWA.

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Tbilvino’s Qvevris Rkatsiteli – big isn’t necessarily bad

by Simon Woolf

08.02.2017. (Almost) every week, I select an orange wine (a white wine made with extended skin contact) that grabbed my attention.

Experienced wine lovers tend to look down on large producers – and by large, I mean wineries knocking out more than a million bottles a year. This isn’t without reason – generally, with such massive quantities, a different set of criteria apply – consistency, of both vintage and brand are of more concern than terroir or vintage variation. When it comes to winemaking, large producers tend to be more risk averse, more interested in reliability. Predictability is supposedly what the “average consumer” desires. Well, it is certainly what the “average buyer” desires. Which may or may not be the same thing.

That said, if a major winery puts its might behind a concept, it can work very well. Tbilvino is based in east Georgia’s Kakheti – the country’s most important wine region. A product of the modern age, Tbilvino was conceived in a post-communist world – their first commercial vintage was 1999. They’re pretty successful, producing around 3 million bottles a year, most of which are sold to Russia, other ex-Soviet countries and China – well established markets for Georgian wine.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Jeff Berlin of Oakland’s "A Côté" on selling glass after glass of Georgian wine

Interviewed by Tara Q. Thomas

06.02.2017. Soon after opening A Côté in Oakland 15 years ago, Jeff Berlin began accumulating accolades for a wine list that pushed the envelope, featuring wines from obscure grapes and forgotten wine regions, with stories about each that made them accessible and compelling. Since then, the restaurant has become a beacon for anyone interested in discovering the world’s lesser-known wine treasures, whether it’s sumoll from Spain’s Penedes or skin-contact amber wines from Georgia.

Seventy percent of your wine sales are by-the-glass. Why is that number so high?

I wouldn’t want to throw our bar staff under the bus—they are terrific—but we’re just a wine machine: every single table, every night, we have people tasting through multiple glasses of wine. It’s like a juggernaut that keeps rolling. The by-the-glass sales really help; we sell more by the glass than bottle, by far. It’s simply more consonant with the style of our food—we serve it family-style, and tons of plates come out to each table. A parade of flavors equals a parade of glasses. We’ve expanded the quantity of wines we offer by the glass, too, because we sell so much of it—we don’t have to be concerned with having bottles sit, unused. So it’s also the kid-in-the-candy-store effect—they sit down, see 60 wines available to taste; it just draws them in.

How do you manage to sell such incredibly obscure wines?

There’s the customer who just says, ‘I don’t know any of this; screw it. Just surprise me.’ But now I also have people come in and say, ‘I came here because I heard you have wine from former Soviet states—I want to try Georgian wine,’ or Hungarian wine, or whatever. Or they are even more focused: I heard you have a wine from Khakheti and I’d like to try that, or ‘I heard you have wine from western Georgia—I’ve only had them from eastern Georgia.’ It’s mind-blowing. And I’m like: Yes, let’s do it!

How is Georgia doing on the wine list?

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Official: Wine and spirits exports data of January 2017

05.02.2017 (Hvino News). According to National Wine Agency's data of January 2017, approximately 4 322 733  bottles (0.75l) of wine have been exported Georgia to 26 countries worldwide, that is 184% higher then the similar data of the last year.In the period under review 8.8 million USD worth of wine have been exported, that is 141% higher than the similar data of 2016.

“Increase of export is notable on markets of countries of European Union, China, USA and other  traditional markets. 2016th year has been successful for Georgian wine export.  The growth compared to 2015 amounted 40%. It's notable, that Georgian wine export began actively the very beginning of the year, and we are hoping, that the tendency of the export increase will be maintained in all directions as a result of  to the marketing activities planned in the wine sector”,  noted the head of National Wine Agency, Giorgi Samanishvili.

The first five of exporter countries is the fallowing: Russia (2 861 471), Ukraine (402 858), China  (372 440), Poland (156 302) and Kazakhstan (106 284).

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Participate in Vinitaly with Hvino, Winerist and DRINKS+!

28.01.2017 (Hvino News). We invite you to Vinitaly (Verona, Italy) on April 10 to participate in presentation & tasting event "Drinks+ Choice: Heritage Wines As New Objects on the Wine Roads of Europe”. This event is joint project of D+ Communication Media Group (Kiev), Hvino.com (Tbilisi), Winerist.com (London).

Audience
Leading industry experts: buyers, distributors, restaurateurs, wine critics, bloggers from Europe, America and Asia are invited to the event. Coverage of the presentation will be provided by both local and international media. All participants will be provided with tasting lists and information materials in English and/or Italian. Service of the tasting is provided by the qualified specialists of National Association of Sommeliers (Italy).
Tasting provider (D+ Communication media group) is inviting attendees, with report of invitations provided to the participating producers.

Advantages
DRINKS+ is honored to provide a presentation at Vinitaly for the 4th time in a row. Participation in this kind of top level venue is a statement of the company as the global market participant, giving way to international cooperation, sales in different parts of the world, and receiving a positive assessment from international wine experts, spread through reputable global and national media, as well as official and personal social accounts.
PR-publications in all D+ Communication Media Group media are included.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Marani launches Marafoto photo contest for Facebook users

24.01.2017 (Hvino News). Marafoto is the name of new wine photo contest, launched on January 23 by Telavi Wine Cellar company (also known under brand name Marani) in Facebook social network.

According to organizers, Marafoto is "a Facebook photo contest consisting of several levels, like in a sports event. Everyone can vote for their favorite photos by likes at bit.do/Marafoto. The winners are top photos with maximum number of likes. On next level, only photos from previous level are competing. Each level lasts for 1 week. The winner receives Grand Prix". Grand Prix seems to be a mystery  prize, as it is not revealed.

After just one day since launch, the Marafoto's photo album has got 11 photos. Everyone can vote for the best photos by "liking" them.

To participate in Marafoto, the photograph must have a Marani product with a readable label.

The contest is open to everybody - the  only requirement is that participants must like Marani’s page in Facebook.

To submit your photo to the Marafoto contest, just email it to  marani.marafoto@gmail.com.

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Prime Minister visits family-run inn Chateau Dio

24.01.2017. Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili visited last week the Chateau Dio family-run inn, a recipient of a 10,000 GEL grant under the Produce in Georgia program, in the village of Dzirageuli, Ambrolauri District.

The inn is owned by the Dio partnership that uses said grant amount to develop a family-run winemaking business.

As the founders of the partnership revealed to the Prime Minister, the received amount was spent to purchase equipment necessary to enhance the enterprise’s production output. The Dio partnership plans to export its wines in the future.

The Prime Minister wished them success and pointed out the Government’s unconditional commitment to ensuring the revival of viticulture and viniculture and the development of production. According to Giorgi Kvirikashvili, equally important is the development of small, family-run inns, especially since the Ambrolauri Airport launched on same day, which poised to increase the tourist flow and boost employment and economic development in the region.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Georgian Wine Association presents Georgian wine tourism guide

by Nino Gugunishvili

23.01.2017. The Georgian Wine Association presented a new wine tourism guide at their head office on Friday.

The new guide is the first book published in the English language in Georgia to feature over 120 wineries across all regions of the country.

It has a listing of 40 wine bars and shops, nearly 200 recommended restaurants, and 200 hotels. The book has QR codes which can be scanned through the Smart Phone App to easily find out more about the selected venue. After scanning the QR code, locations appear as pinned on Google Maps. For those who have never used a QR scanning code, the guide explains how it works and how to use it.

The book covers all regions in Georgia with precise and detailed information on what to see, where to stay, where to taste wine and where to dine out. In addition to the brief history of the country, the new guide provides useful information for tourists on how to enter Georgia, and brings useful tips to help visitors get around more easily, with a list of tourism information centers also included.

Ukraine becomes second in imports of Georgian wine in 2016

23.01.2017. Ukraine in 2016 imported around 5.8 million bottles of Georgian wine, and this was over 70 percent more than in 2015.

Georgian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikheil Ukleba said at a meeting of the Tourism Press Club of Ukraine that thanks to this figure Ukraine was second in imports of Georgian wine after Russia being ahead of China in 2016.

In general, imports of goods from Georgia to Ukraine totaled $72 million in 2016, and this was 24 percent more than in 2015, Ukleba said.

“Exports of goods from Ukraine unfortunately slightly fell,” the ambassador said. Ukleba said that growth of imports of citrus fruit by Ukraine from Georgia was seen.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Heineken gets Georgia boost with new brewery for licensed production

by Keith Nuthall

17.01.2017. Global Beer Georgia has secured a near-US$20m loan to build a brewery in the country that will produce Heineken brands under licence.

The company, which is owned by Georgian wine producer Teliani Valley, confirmed late last week that it has qualified for an EUR18.6m (US$19.7m) syndicated loan arranged by the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development. The funds will go towards a facility that will produce the Heineken and Amstel brands for the Georgian market.

The brewery, which will also make Czech beer brand Krušovice and locally-developed Georgian beers, will be located in Tsilkani, north of the capital Tbilisi.

The EBRD will lend EUR6.2m from its own accounts, while EUR6.2m will be sourced from Dutch development bank FMO. The remaining EUR6.2m comes from German development bank DEG. The project goal, said an EBRD note, was to "satisfy the demands of the growing market in Georgia".

Forbes features Georgia in its "Top Underrated Wine Regions To Visit"

17.01.2017 (Hvino News).  Leading American business magazine  Forbes in its lifestyle section recently published article The Top 12 Underrated Wine Regions To Visit In 2017: A Month-By-Month Guide.

"After spending most of my year in vineyards around the world, I compiled this month-to-month guide identifying the new frontiers of enotourism", - author Lauren Mowery writes in her preface.

The Top 12 Underrated Wine Regions To Visit In 2017 features Georgia's Kakheti region as follows:
Kakheti, Georgia. Within wine circles and, increasingly, mainstream travel media, the word on Georgia as a vinous destination has spread. Yet few have actually made the trek to this country bordering Armenia and Turkey. Translation: villages remain authentically charming, the countryside still a peaceful refuge and the unique winemaking traditions endure intact. Kakheti, nestled at the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, is the main region, known for fermenting wine underground in terra-cotta jars called qvevri. A delicious food culture sweetens the incentive to visit.

Monday, January 16, 2017

95% of Georgian wine companies are involved in export diversification

16.01.2017. "95% of Georgian wine-making companies not only agree on the need to diversify exports, but also are directly involved in the process," - the head of the National Wine Agency Giorgi Samanishvili says.

According to him, marketing activities carried out by the Agency and aimed at popularization of Georgian wine in different countries are agreed with the business community.

"In general, a lot of countries in the world focus on one separate market. But in our situation we deal with economic factors and are actively working on the diversification of markets. Marketing campaign is financed by the state, but the ideas are coming from the private sector. Currently in all international shows our wine is presented under the «Georgian wine» brand that facilitates the popularization of Georgian wine, "- Giorgi Samanishvili notes.

In his words, marketing strategy also focuses on the development of small regional wineries.

Perspectives of Georgian wine export to Belarus

16.01.2017 (Hvino News).  The head of National Wine Agency Giorgi Samanishvili had a meeting with the ambassador of Belarus Mikhail Miatlikov, attended also by chairman of National Intellectual Property Center Sakpatenti Nikoloz Gogiladze, and representatives of Ministry of Agriculture. The participants discussed the perspectives of increasing export of Georgian wine to Belarus and possibilities of implementing marketing events.

The meeting venue was at National Museum of Wine.  The meeting participants visited a marani (traditional wine cellar) and had a chance to taste Georgian wines.

Belarus is a traditional market for Georgian wine. It occupied 6th place among the biggest importers in 2016. In 2016, 1 174 362 bottles of wine were exported to Belarus which was 30% more compared to 2015.

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

NATO's Representative for Caucasus receives Georgian chacha as New Year present

15.01.2017 (Hvino News). James Appathurai, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy and Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia,  was recently presented with a bottle of Georgian chacha (grappa) produced by Telavi Wine Cellar. The present was given to him as a New Year present by Georgian journalist Ketevan Kardava, who met Appathurai in Brussels for an interview.

A month ago, during Georgian Foreign Minister’s visit to NATO Ministerial, Mr. Appathurai welcomed the Georgian delegation with question “Where is the chacha?”

Mr. Appathurai has visited Georgia on numerous occasions and is known for his interest to Georgian culture.

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Chinese company to buy 5 million bottles of wine from Shilda

15.01.2017 (Hvino News). A contract for five million bottles of wine was signed on January 11 between Georgian producer Shilda and Chinese importer Shanghai Tianzifang Trading.

Shilda company was founded by London-based Georgian businessman and former politician Mikheil Chkartishvili and his daughter Natia.

Company calls this deal as unprecedented, as it amounts to nearly the entire quantity of wine exported from Georgia to China in 2016. The company representatives noted growing interest among Chinese consumers to Georgian wine.

The Georgian ambassador to the Peoples’ Republic of China Mr. David Aptsiauri and a representative of the Georgian-Chinese Friendship Association attended the signing procedure.

Read more about Shilda in: Natia Chkhartishvili shares Shilda's ambitious expansion plans.

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