According to legend, wine was first invented in Georgia in around 6,000 BC. Modern Georgia produces around 100 million bottles of wine annually. It would seem that Georgia’s burgeoning wine industry is eyeing up a new, more stable export market.
Traditionally Russia has been the largest wine market for Georgia, but this relationship has been volatile. Relations between the two countries worsened in 2006 with pro-Nato moves within Georgia prompting Russia to ban Georgian wine imports. The two countries then fought a brief war in 2008.
On the 27th of June this year Georgia and the European Union signed a free trade agreement allowing Georgian wine to be imported into the EU without incurring duty. Now it seems the Georgian government is set to invest in its wine industry by building a new winery to ramp up production. The facility at Keda in Adjara in Western Georgia is projected to have a processing capacity of 12,000 tonnes a year.
We recently posted about Russia increasing its investment in its own wine industry to break it’s dependence on foreign wine imports. This would have a big impact for the Georgian wine sector.
Georgia’s National Wine Agency reported that wine export volumes in 2013 were twice as high as in 2012 at almost 45 million bottles. 23 million of those bottles ended up in Russia after it lifted a ban on Georgian wine imports in June 2013. For the first nine months of this year total Georgian wine exports have already reached 43 million bottles.
With Georgia seeking to grow its wine exports the EU would now be a more attractive market, particularly with Russia seemingly looking to grow its own wine industry.
Full story in Decanter.