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DAVID MDZINARISHVILI/REUTERS

Newsweek: Russian Imports of Georgian Wine Skyrocket After Ban is Lifted

Russia has more than doubled its imports of Georgian wine in the first two months of the year, only three years after lifting a ban on sales of the drink, Georgia’s National Wine Agency reports.

According to Georgia’s official statistics, wine exports to Russia have only gone from strength to strength since, as 2016 kicked off with a 154 percent increase in wine sales to Russia compared to the same period last year.

In the first two months of the year alone, 2.5 million bottles of red, white and sparkling Georgian wine made their way to Russia. This makes Russia the top importer of Georgian wine, buying more than all other countries in the top five—Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Poland and China—combined.

Georgia’s total wine exports for the start of the year are worth almost $11 million, which is over half of the country’s total $20 million alcohol export revenue.

Russia still has trade sanctions on a number of food products from European countries, in protest to their support for Ukraine. The destruction of smuggled European food products has caused a public outcry in Russia and remains a controversial issue.