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The First Unsubsidized Vintage in years: Better-than-expected

This is the first unsubsidized vintage under the ruling of Georgian Dream. In 2017 Government ensured partly subsidization for brandy grape varieties in Kakheti Region and grape varieties for Khvanchkara wines in Racha Region, while this year the state budget has allocated no penny in this direction.

Like the previous years, National Wine Agency is supervising the vintage coordination issues. The vintage will be finished in several days in Kakheti Region. More than 200 000 tons of grapes have been already processed. As a result, winegrowers’ incomes in Kakheti and Racha-Lechkhumi Regions constituted about 300 million GEL.

According to National Wine Agency, as of September 24, about 142 000 tons of grapes were processed in Kakheti Region and farmers’ incomes exceeded 204 million GEL.

According to Andro Aslanishvili, deputy head of National Wine Agency and head of the vintage coordination center, the main part of the harvest has been already sold and 214 winemaking companies have processed 142 000 tons of grapes in Kakheti Region.

15 000 winegrowers have sold grapes to winemaking companies and their total incomes made up 204.2 million GEL. It may be said that the 2018 vintage was successful in  Kakheti Region. The vintage still continues in the region and in several days the process will start in Racha Region too, Andro Aslanishvili noted.

The major volume of grapes in Kakheti Region was processed in Gurjaani municipality – 41.3 thousand tons; Kvareli District – 40 000 tons, Telavi – 31 000 tons, Sighnaghi – 12 000 tons, Sagarejo – 5 000 tons, Dedoplistskaro – 4.7 thousand tons, Akhmeta – 4.2 thousand tons and Lagodekhi – 3.8 thousand tons.

In total volume of processed grapes, Saperavi was 66.5 thousand tons, Rkatsiteli – 56.8 thousand tons, Kakhuri Mtsvane (Kakhetian green) 2.7 thousand tons and many other varieties.

The vintage coordination center that opened in Telavi on August 20, has registered 250 winemaking companies as of September 24.

The vintage is underway in Racha region too. According to the National Wine Agency, as of October 3, 1080 tons of Mujuretuli and Aleksandrouli grapes were picked and sold in the region. According to Andro Aslanishvili, head of the vintage coordination center, the vintage process continues without obstacles.

‘This year we have the best harvest of Aleksandrouli and Mujuretuli grapes. Both quality and volume have increased. Over the past years new vineyards were planted and this year we expect the harvest in Racha Region to double compared to previous years. Today, there are 15 winemaking companies in Ambrolauri municipality. The company buys grapes from local farmers at 5 locations. The vintage coordination center has registered 33 winemaking companies that are buying grapes form local population, Andro Aslanishvili noted.

The vintage coordination center opened in Ambrolauri on September 25. To protect the accuracy of varieties, ampelography specialists are also participating in the vintage process. According to preliminary indicators, this year more than 1500 tons of Mujuretuli and Aleksandrouli will be picked in Racha Region.

The Caucasus Business Week (CBW) has inquired how the vintage proceeds without government subsidies.

Giorgi Ghvardzelashvili, founder of Ghvardzelashvilis Marani winemaking company states that this year the vintage proceeds without obstacles. The farmer explains that the winemaking sector would have been developed more if the Government had ceased the sector subsidization long ago.

‘We were waiting when and how the Authorities would allocate subsidies.  I personally objected to subsidies and I believed the market would regulate the price and quality itself. And this consideration turned out true.  Everybody who have sold grapes are vey content. The market has regulated the prices”, Ghvardzelashvili noted.

This year the price of one kilogram of Saperavi grape was 2.5 GEL in Kakheti Region and the price of Rkatsiteli was 70-80 Tetri, he said.

Lasha Revazishvili, head of LLC Berika says that the 2018 vintage has showed that the winemaking sector is able to conduct the vintage without the state subsidies perfectly and valuably.

Zurab Ramazashvili, one of the founders of Telavi Wine Cellar winemaking company, says that the vintage turned out more successful without subsidies than expected.

“This process was to proceed without government interference from the very beginning. Without subsidization the 2018 vintage was unprecedently successful”, Zurab Ramazashvili said.