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President admitting wine fault2010-06-22 13:00
Tbilisi's official authorities thank Russia for blocking sales of Georgian wines. Today at the World Congress of Vine and Wine in the capital of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili honestly confessed that ban on alcohol imports to Russia made winemakers improve the quality of their products. So the Russian Agency for Health and Consumer Rights (Rospotrebnadzor) was right stopping the poisonous flow.
At the opening ceremony of XXXIII World Congress of Vine and Wine in Tbilisi Mikheil Saakashvili emphasized that consequences of Russian wine embargo were overcome due to stricter production control.
"The embargo ensured better quality of Georgian wines and boosted new brands", - the news agencies quote the president.
It was worthwhile to ban imports of low-quality alcohol from Georgia to Russia in order to hear this confession and have a chance to buy truly divine drinks in sunny Sakartvelo one day.
But four years ago the order by Gennady Onishenko, Russia's chief sanitary doctor, was taken in Georgia as a political order. The ban was imposed after Tbilisi's threats to withdraw from the signed bilateral protocol over Russia's accession to WTO.
The official reason for discontent of the sanitary authority were pesticides and heavy metals found in wines. Borjomi mineral water was also declared "a persona non grata" because of counterfeit lots flooding the Russian market.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and other politicians accused the Kremlin of blackmail. "Georgian wine has been a traditional drink in Russia for centuries, Georgia is a winemaking country and stopping wine imports is not a separate technical issue - it is a serious political issue not only for us but also for our partners", - the head of the state rebelled.
But defense minister Irakli Okruashvili slipped it out that "most winemakers in Georgia applied dishonest methods to win the Russian market and were selling wines that could not be sold in Europe since in Russia, I am sorry to say this, even fecal masses can be sold".
The minister's mot juste became a definition for Georgian wine. Afterwards he tried to explain that he wasn't speaking about products of his compatriots trying only to show low pretensions of Russian consumers. But a word spoken is past recalling and the phrase was taken up by all media in CIS.
The loss of a wide familiar Russian market brought about tough times to Georgian winemakers. Wine was literally wasted since there was no chance to sell it anywhere. Peasants were paid by the government for the slash of vineyards.