The messenger logo

Questions surface over Georgian wine export to Russia

By Keti Arjevanidze
Monday, February 11
“There is an impression that during the negotiations I was more Georgian than the Georgians themselves,” Genadi Onishenko, head of the Russian State Consumer Protection Agency said in his recent televised interview with the Russian media about Georgian wine’s return to the Russian market.

The RosPotrebNadzor head blames Georgian side in violating the dates of the preparatory work for the wine supply. The Russian side has not yet received the list of wine companies that Russian experts want to inspect the sanitary conditions before taking the next step in promoting wine export to Russia.

The head of RosPotrebNadzor said that the Georgian side’s position is not yet clear, “now when we negotiated about everything they do not perform their obligation, it may be explained as an attempt to deliver this or that information to the acting or expired president,” said Onishenko.

According to his estimation, the first meeting was held normally, while the next step should be the local inspection of Georgian wine companies. According to the preliminary plan, three groups of Russian analysts are scheduled to visit Georgia, but Onishenko thinks the Georgian side is hindering the process.

Onishenko continued that on February 4, the Russian side gave the Georgian delegation a list of around 30 companies which from 2008 were conducting negotiations with Russia about Georgian product’s return to the Russian market.

The Head of the Georgian Wine National Agency, Levan Davitashvili, said in a reply to Onishenko’s statement that after their return from Russia they arranged a meeting with the wine producing companies. He said some of the companies in the list provided by the Russian side were very old and did not even exist.

He said they are intensively rechecking the list to clarify the situation with the wine companies. He said the Agency has collated the list and on Monday the Russian side will have the finally formulated list on their desk.

As soon the Georgian delegation returned to Georgia from Russia they announced the results of negotiations to Georgian wine producers. Davit Abzianidze, Sarajishvili’s Quality Director, reported that Russia is in a favorable position.

Georgian wine producing companies welcome Georgian wine’s return to the Russian market because the popularity and knowledge about Georgian wine in their neighbor country is quite vast. Dimitri Lebanidze, the Director at the Kindzmaraulis Marani wine company, said that Georgian wine has not been on the Russian market for 6 years, thus the expectations from Russian consumers is very high.

Georgian Agriculture Minister Davit Kirvalidze is sure that if Georgian wine satisfies the demands of the EU countries, the US and Japan, it will meet the Russian market’s demands as well.

“It seems they are in a hurry,” said Kirvalidze about Onishenko’s accusations and added that after the delegation’s return, little time has passed and in the very near future the list will be sent.

Currently more than 60 wine companies and mineral water producing companies expressed a wish to be inspected. After a week RosPotrebNadzor specialists will visit Georgia.