Georgian Wine craves for the sector promotion
30 September, 2010
Georgian Wine craves for the sector promotion

Association ‘Georgian Wine’ that is focused on the promotion of wine industry at local and foreign markets alike was set up. Georgian state is supposed to donate some financial support to the wine-oriented association.

Association of Georgian wineries dubbed as Georgian Wine has been created at last. There were few futile attempts before to establish a working body incorporating wine companies and oriented on promotion of Georgian wine industry at large but to no avail – none of them turned

out effective and were revoked. Tina Kezeli, Chairperson of the recently founded Georgian Wines association pledges this one will be really working body and effective.


“All the previous attempts turned out futile for they were not oriented on development and promotion of Georgian wine industry as such, each of them was focused on tackling a separate problem of Georgian wine sector. For Example Association of Georgian Wineries (AGW) was created in 2006 after imposing Russian embargo on Georgia wines and was focused to get back at Russian market. That’s the reason none of them turned out effective,” Kezeli explained to Georgian Journal.  
Indeed as Levan Koberidze, Chairman of AGW, broke out with Georgian Journal, working process of his association is somewhat stumbled and it does not function in fact.
Kezeli believes Georgian Wine unlike its predecessors will be focused on development and promotion of the entire Georgian wine sector and will be effective.

“Our association is seriously motivated to be focused on entire Georgian wine sector development, we will be representing the wine sector at large and be focused on tackling problems of each winery and cellar, each wine plant and petty business related with the wine sector,” Kezeli elaborated adding that Georgia has not such an experience of promoting concretely wine sector while other wine-producer countries like Australia and Hungary do.
Therefore to shape out itself into a truly effective body Georgian Wine is adopting experience of Australia and Hungary and has already started working with their wine associations.
“We will be focused on branding, marketing, exhibitions, everything that can promote Georgian wine sector,” Kezeli stresses adding that wine is the most significant industry to Georgia as to an ancient wine-making country [that is acknowledged to be a cradle of wine by the way], that wine is identified with Georgia’s country branding and the state has to cooperate with Georgian Wine very seriously so as to develop the sector ultimately and hit international markets.
Georgian Wine incorporates 21 member companies at the moment; however the number is supposed to be enhanced by the end of the year and none of wineries will be waived irrespective their size. To enable petty industries to join the association Georgian Wine plans to define membership payment per liter of sales. This mechanism unlike fixed membership fee can prevent discrimination of smaller wineries with smaller volumes of sales not to be “taxed” similarly to bigger companies with bigger sales.

Kezeli stresses that governments of wine-producer countries put huge money in wine associations and thinks that this practice should be duplicated in Georgia. Based on comments of Vasil Managadze, Chairman of State Department of Vine and Wine [Samtrest] at the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia (MOA), reported by Pirveli news agency on September 14, 2010, Georgian government plans to invest GEL 600 thousand in Georgian Wine association as a membership payment that will be spent on popularization of Georgian wine. The US market will be priority market Managadze stressed adding that Georgian wine will hit American market starting 2011.

Kezeli waived the information saying that state neither paid anything as a member of Georgian Wine, and nor promised to do so. MOA did not provide Georgian Journal with timely comments under the pretext that the vintage is in full swing and Managadze is absolutely unavailable for comments.
Kezeli doubts that the information of paying membership payment of GEL 600 thousand by state is confusion and stems from the state’s earlier initiative to finance the project of hitting US and Canadian market. The two-year pilot project was supposed to be launched starting this September and was focused to promote Georgian wine export to American market under unified umbrella and attach stickers with the inscription Wines of Georgia on each bottle of wine export to America.  The governmental understanding is that promotion of Georgian wine brands under the unified umbrella will insure Georgian product of counterfeit and raise awareness of Georgian brands at the oversea markets. As Managadze told Georgian Journal in July of 2010, Georgian government was to earmark USD 500 thousand out of the state budget on this purpose this year and Georgian Wines was scrutinizing details of the program.  However, the state and wine companies could not achieve an agreement on financing the program ultimately and the program is delayed.

Initially the state was to finance 90% of the American market export program, and the remainder was up to companies to finance, but just before the contract signing day government proposed wine companies to finance the program on the 50-50% proportion and each company had to pay USD 50 thousand instantly that was just impossible.
Kezeli says American market is important but it is not a sole focus point for Georgian Wine, the association will be focused on promotion Georgian wine generally at all international markets. A web-site including full information on Georgian wines will be created soon and provide the outer world with due and updated information on Georgian wines.

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