2018 Grape Harvest Prep Meeting Held in Telavi

Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, Giorgi Khanishvili, met last week with the municipal heads of the Kakheti region to discuss organizational issues relating to the 2018 grape harvest called, in Georgian, rtveli.

The meeting, held in Telavi, was attended by First Deputy Chairman of the Agrarian Issues Committee of the Parliament of Georgia Gela Samkharauli, State Representative-Governor of Kakheti Irakli Kadagishvili, and Acting Chairman of the National Wine Agency Andro Aslanishvili, along with representatives from information-consulting services firms and local municipalities.

Khanishvili outlined the activities necessary for successfully organizing the harvesters and programs related to the development of the wine and agriculture sectors.

“It is vital for the State to conduct the harvest successfully. In previous years, the harvesting process has required external financial support. As a result of good state policies in the viticulture and winemaking sectors, there is no necessity for this anymore, and business has returned to the right place – the entrepreneur and the farmer agree on prices. Increased exports, diversification of export markets, increased awareness of Georgian wine – these trends are reflected in the economic policy of the country, which provides the basis for a harvest without state subsidies, which is the right business model,” Khanishvili told the meeting’s attendees.

Khanishvili emphasized the importance of producing high quality wine in Georgia to maintain international popularity and increase export numbers. The harvesting process has a significant impact on the quality of a wine, he explained.

Aslanishvili of the National Wine Agency announced the Harvest Headquarters will begin operating around the end of August and is ready to start registering farms and companies that wish to participate in the collective harvest. “The purpose of the coordination headquarters will be to promote the organization of the harvest and to ensure accountability and traceability, which is a precondition for high quality production,” he said.

Samkharauli, from Parliament’s Agrarian Issues Committee, pointed out that parallel to the growth in wine exports, the number of tourists in Georgia is increasing by the year. With tourism comes an increased demand for wine consumption in the domestic market, which is another precondition for a successful harvest and for grape growers and winemakers to be able to operate in the free market without government support. Kadagishvili, Governor of Kakheti, boasted that the land area of new vineyards is increasing annually and indicates that the wine industry is sustainable and continuing to expand.

Due to the current state of the wine industry, its growth and successes, the 2018 harvest will be reflective of full market price conditions and will be the first in the last 10 years without government subsidies for grape growers.

In the first half of 2018, 45.4 million bottles of wine were exported from Georgia, bringing in $107,8 million in revenue – a 19% increase from the same period in 2017. The wine was exported to 50 countries worldwide, at the top of the list Russia, Ukraine, China, Kazakhstan and Poland.

By Samantha Guthrie

20 August 2018 16:07