NWA Head: Georgian Wine Is Establishing Its Place in the Premium Segment

Georgian wine prices are on the up by the year, which means that Georgian wine is slowly establishing its place in the premium segment, claimed Levan Mekhuzla, Chairman of the National Wine Agency (NWA), in his interview with the Georgian National Public Broadcaster on Wednesday.

Mekhuzla noted that Georgian wine export in 2019 amounted to 94 million bottles, which is a record high indicator in the history of independent Georgia.

“In 2020, that figure is likely to reach 100 million bottles. Compared to 2018, wine exports increased by 8% last year, bringing revenue of up to $240 million into the country. The rise in the price of wine is even higher, 16-17%,” he noted.

He went on to positively assess 2019 and state his belief that wine exports are already on the verge of a year-on-year increase. According to him, the figure of 94 million bottles itself is a record-breaking figure in the history of independent Georgia, and is a very positive trend.

“We think we have reached the point where very high percentages of growth are not expected and will remain within the range of about 5-10%. We need to exceed export of 100 million bottles in 2020, and another important factor is that the eight-percent increase observed at the end of 2019 is followed by a 16-17% increase in price. This means that the average price is rising and Georgian wine is slowly approaching and taking its place in the premium segment, which is our target market,” he explained.

Mekhuzla said the increase in the price was caused by the increase in demand for Georgian wine on the international market, which in turn is the result of years of deliberate awareness- raising work. In addition, he said the demand is increasing in markets where consumers are solvent and the quality of Georgian wine for the importer is not in doubt. The demand for Qvevri wine – a wine made in a special Georgian clay vessel- is also increasing, being Georgia's unique offering on the global market.

Yet, the NWA Head said Georgia, despite already being in the top five in the world, cannot compete with the leading countries that sell billions of bottles.

“The limit on the export potential of Georgian wines is estimated to be 150-200 million bottles, and it would be good if the field focused on developing family-owned wines and cooperatives that will help small-scale grape growers tackle their problems,” he said, adding that one of the solutions is promoting small family-type cellars which work well in many countries and which have a stable quality and unique wines.

Mekhuzla also said that the special Georgian amber wine will be granted the status of Special Technology Wine in 2020 or the latest 2021.

“We are quite ahead in this [status application] process. The International Organization of Vine and Wine meets twice a year to discuss certain issues. It can take a few years to get a resolution. We are moving ahead and we expect this year or next to see them reach an agreement,” he said.

The NWA Head also announced that this year a stable carbon isotope analysis of wine will be introduced in Georgia, which is one of the main methods for determining the origin of grape products globally.

“In general, wine-making is a sector that is constantly developing worldwide. We strive to establish in Georgia all the innovations and methods of analysis that are developed in leading institutions and used in the leading countries. The study of stable carbon isotopes is one of the main achievements nowadays and tells us whether the product is of grape origin or not," he explained.

To note, last month the Ministry of Agriculture stated that Georgia earned $220 million from wine exports, which is an increase of 20% compared to the same period of 2018. The ministry also said that the average price of one Georgian wine bottle is $6.8 in the United States, $6.7 in Japan, $5.8 in Great Britain and $5 in Poland.

By Tea Mariamidze

Image source: sfchronicle.com

09 January 2020 17:48