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Georgia in US Dispute over Stalin’s Favorite Wine

Published: March 6, 2011 | 2:38 pm
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Georgia is trying to win back the trademark for Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s favourite brand of red wine in the United States, officials said on Friday.

Georgia’s patent office said that it was in negotiations with US-based company Dozortsev and Sons, which it said currently has the exclusive right to sell the semi-sweet Georgian wine called Khvanchkara in the United States.

“A monopoly for Georgian wines’ trademarks in one private company’s hands may damage the interests of our winemakers,” the head of the patent office, Irakli Gvaladze, told AFP.

Georgian-born Soviet leader Stalin liked Khvanchkara so much that he served it to US president Franklin Roosevelt and British prime minister Winston Churchill at a crucial World War II summit in Yalta in 1945, according to Dozortsev and Sons’ website.

Gvaladze said that Khvanchkara had “unique qualities of taste” and was only produced in limited quantities in one remote region of the ex-Soviet republic.

Georgia claims to be the birthplace of wine, citing archaeological finds which suggest that viniculture may have begun in the country as early as 8,000 years ago, before it reached western Europe.

But the country lost its biggest export market when Russia imposed a ban on Georgian wine in 2006 amid political tensions that erupted into war two years later.

The Russian ban severely damaged the industry but there were signs of an upturn in 2010, with increased exports to ex-Communist states like Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus, where Georgia’s wines still retain brand awareness from the Soviet era.

Source: AFP

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