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Sakartvelo Wined Up2011-09-06 21:00
2005 was the record year for wine exports from Georgia with ¾ of this volume shipped to Russia. Local winemakers earned over USD 80 bn that year. After Moscow put a cork on wine imports to Russia, the earnings of Georgia's agrarians shrank considerably. The hope to return to the Russian market is here again. Yet, it looks like the record of 6 years ago will remain unsurpassed with Mikheil Saakashvili standing in the way of winemakers proposing to turn to the US market.
Last weekend the Georgian president inspected local wineries presenting his vision of the strategy to develop Georgian winemaking industry to his compatriots and foreign analysts. As usual, his ideas have nothing to do with reality. Yet, he started well.
"Grapes, vineyards and wine mean much more than just a sector of agriculture. This is our pride. To me this is wider than agriculture. We must work a lot to popularize our wines", - the head of the Georgian state remarked. Yet, this was the end of his reasonable thinking. It was the last thing that corresponds to the real state of things. Examining the Ajarian Wine House, now under construction in Keda, Saakashvili praised wines produced in those parts for high quality and then switched over to complete nonsense.
"Curiously enough, after Russia placed Georgian wines under embargo, the exports have grown considerably", - the leader of the Transcaucasian republic stated. How is it connected with the fact that Georgian farmers earned less than USD 40 mln last year and twice as much in 2005? Most probably, local winemakers had to offer ridiculously low prices for their products to survive with the Russian market inaccessible. But the demagogue from Tbilisi continued speaking.
"Fortunately, Georgian companies have overcome the Russian market syndrome selling their products on other markets, - he said. - We have stable exports to Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and we must be more active in Baltia and in Poland. So I think there is practically no dependence on the Russian market". It is evident to anyone who has some knowledge of economy: markets of Ukraine and Kazakhstan are a drop in the sea as compared to Russia. Even if Baltic states and Poland are included. Apparently, this glaring incommensurability was obvious to the president too, so he called on Georgian wine makers to orient themselves on the US market which is much larger than Russian. It makes no sense to argue with him. Even here the head of the Georgian state does not know what he speaks about.