BUSINESS
Vintage 2013 Takes off
05 September, 2013
Preparation works for harvesting grapes are completed and Vintage - 2013 has already taken its start early this September. This year vine growers are supposed to face less problems, as the government pledges, since it will focus on ensuring competition on the market.
As the preparation works for Vintage - 2013 were through by August 30, fair Shalva Pipia, Minister of Agriculture of Georgia along with his Deputy Davit Shervashidze and Head of Wine Agency Levan Davitashvili visited Gurjaani, one
of the major vine growing districts of Georgia, to check the situation on site and get the first-hand information from the members of coordinating headquarters that were set up in order to ensure smooth harvesting process. This unit will work around the clock to this end. According to the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia (MOA), there is a big interest on the part of the wine producing industry to participate in the vintage, as about 80 wine companies express readiness to accept grapes from vine growers. The authorities expect the industry to process more than half of the harvested grape this year. MOF does not disclose its harvest forecast at the moment but assures that the figure will be high. The government pledges to aid the Georgian viniculture and wine producing sphere and protect interests of farmers by ensuring fair market competition. It is true that vine growers faced problems of selling their harvest each year after the Russian market closed in 2006 to Georgian wine and agriculture product. The grape price plummeted since the existing wine producing industry had insufficient capacity to process the entire harvest. Besides, they were working mainly using the grapes harvested in their own vineyards and by underpaid private vine growers. As a result, part of harvested grapes perished and some farmers cut down vineyards in desperation. To discharge the situation, the previous Authorities employed different marketing tools to help vine growers sell their produce; it led to excessive state interference at the market and created imparity among the market players as the harvest of big farmers were privileged at collection units and wine producing companies. In addition, the state was cracking down on not only wine producing companies but on other non-profile businesses to purchase grapes at vintage periods. This year, the new administration promises to make no difference between the big and petty farmers and curb the state interference at the market. Moreover, the state will subsidize the price of three key exporting grape sorts paying 40 tetri per kilogram of Rkatsiteli and Kakhuri Mtsvane and 25 tetri for Saperavi. However, this time the state will subsidize wine producing plants and not directly vine growers, as it was requested. Moreover, the state offers preferential 15-month agro-credits to wine producing companies at 12% of interest while the state will cover 9% of this rate. To prevent long queues at grape collecting units that results in downgrading of the grape quality during long hours of wait and frustration of vine growers, this year local authorities are implementing registration of vine growers who are willing to wholesale their harvest.
“By identifying how many people want to wholesale their harvest, we will prevent the queues,” - Davitashvili said. The administration believes that the enhanced export market map and reopened Russian market unfolds greater marketing prospects to Georgian wine and grape producers. Based on the data of July 2013, wine export increased by 43% compared to the similar period of the past year. And over 5.5 million bottles were exported to Russia since this June to date.
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