WHEN IT COMES TO WINE, COULD GEORGIA’S GAIN BE ARMENIA’S LOSS?
April 18 2013
April 18, 2013 – 4:46pm, by Yigal Schleifer
As Georgian wine continues on the path towards what looks like its
return to the Russian market, Armenian wine producers are expressing
concern that Georgia’s gain may come at their expense. Reports the
Return of Georgian wines to the Russian market following embargo
suspension may cut growth of export of Armenian wines to Russia, Avag
Haroutiunyan, Head of the Union of Armenian Winemakers, told ArmInfo.
A threefold growth of export of Armenian wines to Russia was planned
for the coming five years. Wine export from Armenia grew 60% in 2012 to
1.185 million liters versus 744,000 liters in 2011, with nearly 75% of
sales being in Russia. A few years ago, export totaled 500,000 liters,
Haroutiunyan said. Before the embargo on Georgian wines in Russia,
50-55 million bottles of Georgian wine were sold in that country
annually, despite the fact that the production capacity of Georgian
wineries is some 15-20 million bottles. This shows that counterfeit
production was manufactured either in Georgia or in Russia. Georgian
wineries have raised significant investments in modernization over
the last years and have greatly improved the quality of wines.
“Now, they will offer the best products in the Russia market. Georgian
wines are now of higher quality than the Armenian ones, but the prices
will be similar. Armenia will have to raise additional investments in
modernization of wineries to sustain competition,” Haroutiunyan said.
Armenia if best know, of course, for its cognac, but its wine industry
has been taking steps in recent years to improve its quality and
broaden its international appeal. In that sense, perhaps being
forced out of the comfort zone of appealing to Russian tastes and
into creating wines with a more international appeal might be a good
thing for Armenian vintners.
This would not be the first time that steps taken by the Georgian wine
industry have raised concern in Armenia. As previously reported on this
blog, Georgia’s successful effort to get the European Union to grant it
the sole right to market its wine in Europe with the tagline “Georgia –
The Cradle of Wine” was met with howls from Armenian winemakers, who,
naturally, believe their country is the true cradle of wine.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress