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Sakartvelo’s wine rivers shrink into creeks2009-03-27 15:53
Supporters of Alliance for Georgia listened to the concerns of Kakhetian peasants. Winemakers are worried: will they be able to sell last year's products before the new crop is ripe? But the Ministry of Agriculture turns a blind eye on the problem. Opposition hopes to help winegrowers by bringing Georgian alcohol back on the Russian market.
"Development of winegrowing in the country is impossible without access to the Russian market, - David Gamkrelidze, one of Alliance for Georgia leaders recently stated at the meeting with Telavi villagers (Kakhetia region, Eastern Georgia). "The authorities lie saying the loss of Russian market had no effect on Georgian economy and that the alternative markets in Europe and America where Georgian wine is sold were found. It is because of the loss of Russian market that authorities make people cut out vineyards and pay for that". - The politician emphasized according to «Business-Georgia».
Mass destruction of vineyards has aroused indignation of Patriarch Ilia II who suggested that the state become an exporter of wine produced by peasants. The government is trying to solve this problem by popularization of wines at various international exhibitions. There is an agreement with Turkey that a special exposition of Georgian wines will take place in Antalya on March 29.
Tbilisi makes a high stake on Turkish market. Early in March Georgian president advised to winemakers not to panic but set sights on exports to the neighboring country. Its holiday resorts are full of Russian and Ukrainian holiday makers who consume the sunny drink with great pleasure. Recently it became known that as a result of negotiations with the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture by 2010 the Turkish side had agreed to increase Georgia's export quota stipulated in the free-trade agreement. Now Georgians can export 400 thousand bottles per annum but the real supplies are smaller.
In Ukraine consumption of Georgian wines has dropped because of the crisis. Telavi Wine Cellar reported on being forced to decrease wine exports to the country by 10%. Last year the company shipped around 600 thousand bottles of wine there as Kommersant radio informs. On the whole the exports of Georgian wines to Ukraine amount to 4-5 million bottles per year. This is more than to any other world country.
Georgia's overall wine exports in 2008 amounted to 12 mln 192 thousand bottles according to the Ministry of Agriculture.