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How to deal with grapes

Friday, September 12
The grape harvest has begun in Georgia and the problems are already here. How do we handle storage and marketing issues?

As is known the loss of the Russian market put the Georgian wine business in a very difficult position and the acquiring of new markets has been a very difficult and slow process. However in 2005 Georgia harvested 250 thousand tonnes of grapes, in 2006 163 thousand tonnes and in 2007 227 thousand tonnes. This year up to 200 thousand tonnes are expected.

The Government says that special subsidies will support farmers. So far this money has been paid to wine producers but these have their own vineyards and thus give preference to them, ignoring small farmers who therefore have grave problems. Some months ago however President Saakashvili promised that money will be directed to the farmers themselves, quoting a figure of 15-20 million GEL to be set aside for this purpose. However today only GEL 8 million is available.

It is probable that once again the Government will oblige businessmen to buy grapes directly from the farmers. Although an interference in the market, of the sort which conflicts with this Government’s policies, the step would be understandable in the current circumstances.

So eat more grapes this season, make your own wine, and support the Georgian economy!