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Georgian Wine- the First, Symbolic Victim in Conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi

Published: August 8, 2012 | 2:57 pm
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At the Alaverdi monastery, a monk poses with modern wine tanks. (Janis Pipars / Anzenberger-Redux)


Don’t Miss the Khvanchkara!- under this headline Newsweek  published an article. The article described wine festival held in Mtskheta, also, Georgian hospitality.

“Georgian wine became the first, symbolic victim in the mid-decade conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi. In 2006 Russia declared the quality of Georgian wine to be unacceptably poor and banned all imports from the country. Russians who missed the earthy taste of a good Saperavi, the refreshing zing of a Tsinandali, or the velvety, raspberry notes of a choice Khvanchkara (Stalin’s personal favorite) had to smuggle in Georgian wine from Ukraine, Azerbaijan, or Belarus. Into the void, cheap Chilean merlot and sauvignon quickly filled the vacant shelves of Russian wine stores,” reads the publication.

According to the article published in Newsweek, in a response to the Russian embargo Georgian winemakers renovated their outdated methods declaring their products to be “freedom wine” and brought best Western equipment. “Their foresight has paid off handsomely: in 2011 wine-related tourism was up 39 percent from the year before,” says the publication.

Newsweek publication notes that Georgian winemakers thank Russia’s embargo for inspiring them to improve their methods. However, most say they’d be happy to return to the Russian market.

At the end of the article there’re quotes from a Georgian wine maker and the government official: “If Russians wait for two to three years before lifting the embargo, all our best wines will go to China, Canada, Europe, and the United States,” says Dmitry Lebanidze, the factory director at Kindzmarauli Marani. But unlike private producers, Georgian officials have no desire to return to the Russian market unless it undergoes big reforms. “Russia would be a step back,” says Bakur Kvezereli, the former minister of agriculture.




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