Georgia Steps up Efforts to Increase Wine Exports To Asia

Georgian wine has recently begun to make an impact in the Asian market and has featured at various exhibitions in China, as Georgia’s Agriculture Ministry steps up its efforts to promote the country’s wine and winemaking culture.

Georgian wine was represented at the China Food and Drinks Fair in Chendu in March this year – a sign that the demand for Georgian wine is on the rise in the Asian country. 

Following the opening of a winemaking house in Beijing’s Nutrition and Alcohol Research Institute earlier in July, Georgian wine exports to China are expected to increase three-fold to 500’000 bottles.

“In China the interest towards Georgian wine is very high,” said chairman of Georgia’s National Wine Agency, Giorgi Samanishvili. He further commented that, after negotiations with Chinese importers, the number of Georgian wine importers will increase.

While Georgian wine is already well-known in China, it is virtually unknown in Hong Kong and the rest of Asia, which gave rise to a recent tasting and paired dinner session to introduce the wine to the Hong Kong market.

In July, around 150 wine lovers and traders gathered in Hullet House to taste 40 different wines from several different wineries, including Tbilvino, Château Mukhrani, Telavi Wine Cellar and Winery Khareba. To highlight the wines’ propensity to go with the Chinese cuisine, eight flights of wines were offered with multiple dishes of Cantonese food so guests could evaluate the best pairings for themselves.

While the general consensus was positive, citing the diversity of wine styles made with exotic, uniquely Georgian varieties, such as Mstvane, Krakhuna and Saperavi, It also emphasized Georgia’s use of ancient Qveri clay vessels to produce amber-hued ‘natural wines’, some still remained skeptical that Hong Kong was ready for new arrivals.

“In recent times Georgia has worked hard to diversify exports of Georgian wine and increase the exports to “strategically important markets” like China, Eastern Europe and Canada,” said Georgia’s National Wine Agency.

In total, from January-April, Georgia exported 7’978’749 bottles of wine, valued at $23 million USD to 26 countries across the world. Canada recorded the largest percentage increase (250%) in terms of volume of Georgian wine imported in the first part of this year.

Georgia’s effort to penetrate the Asian wine market resulted in an 87% increase in its exports of wine to China between January and April. Georgian wine sales in Japan have also increased by 9% so far this year, the Wine Agency claimed. 

31 July 2015 14:10