Georgia’s wine exports to China registered the highest growth rate among all countries in the first 11 months of the year, the strongest sign yet that the eastern European country’s push into one of the world’s biggest wine markets is paying off.
According to the latest figures released by Georgia’s National Wine Agency under the Ministry of Agriculture, wine exports to China grew by 128% to about 4.89 million bottles, making China the country’s third largest export destination following Russia (about 24.9 million bottles) and Ukraine (about 5.18 million bottles).
Georgia has spent US$500,000 to “tell the stories of its wines in China”, wrote China Daily, and a centre on Georgian wines was set up in Beijing in 2015 to promote its wines and wine culture.
Its exports to China are expected to get another boost as the two countries are poised to sign a free trade agreement that will remove the 48.5% import tariff on wines to zero starting from second half of 2017, the country’s agriculture minister said earlier this year.
In the past few years, Georgia has grown to be one of the top 10 wine exporting countries to China, said Debra Meiburg MW earlier this week in Hong Kong at a SPIT workshop on blind tasting. Most of the wines exported to the country are reds, mainly Saperavi, and some inexpensive sparkling wines, she added.
From January to November, in total, Georgia exported 45.6 million bottles of wines worth about US$104 million, representing an increase of 40% in volume and 17% increase in value over the same period last year.