Vintage 2019 – Preparations and Plans of National Wine Agency
In his interview with the TV program Business Partner for Channel 1, Levan Mekhuzla, head of the National Wine Agency, has talked about preparations and plans for the 2019 vintage.
The 2019 vintage will not be subsidized. The growing demand for wine brought success in 2018, and we expect this year to bring more success, Levan Mekhuzla noted.
“The 2018 vintage has shown that the country picked a record volumes of grapes – 230,000 tons, and state subsidization was fully ruled out. The growing demand for wine increased the demand for grapes. Export growth, progress in the tourism business, the development of domestic consumption, gradually developing wine culture – all of these aspects have increased the demand for wine”, Levan Mekhuzla said.
Regarding the reasons behind wine export growth, Mekhuzla explains that the National Wine Agency has determined strategic wine markets, where the reputation of Georgian wine has improved. These markets are: the USA, Japan, Poland, the Baltic Countries, Great Britain, China.
As to the 2019 vintage, nobody knows in advance whether this year we will have a record harvest, but we predict we will harvest 150-200 thousand tons of grapes, Mekhuzla noted.
The 2019 vintage will be exceptional, because grapes for wines with protected indicators of origin will be picked in registered only four registered regions– Kindzmarauli, Akhasheni, Kvareli and Mukuzani. Cadastre is a precondition for the sustainable development of a wine industry, Mekhuzla said.
“This is one of the most important novelties of the 2019 vintage. In general, the cadastre is a precondition for long-term sustainable development of the field, because the country ensures the tracking of wine origin during the full cycle of production – from the vineyard to the bottle. The cadastre is the ground for all these components. In general, tracking is a component of safety and this is a very important aspect for wines with protected indicators of origin,” Mekhuzla said.
Sales of grapes due to registered microzones will protect wines from adulteration, the wine agency head noted.
“Namely, winegrowers from Sagarejo will not be able to sell their grapes as Saperavi from the Kindzmarauli microzone”, he said.
The cadastral registration process is continuous, and this process will cover the whole territory of Georgia, stage by stage. Consequently, along with the expansion of registered vineyards, the obligation for sales of grapes due to cadastre will apply to all microzones, stage by stage, as Levan Mekhuzla pointed out.
In response to the question of whether Georgian farmers and winegrowers are ready to find their niche in the premium segment of the international market in terms of quality and prices, Mekhuzla explained that today, Georgia is recorded among the top five countries in the world by exports prices. This is very important aspect.
“Today, we are side by side with Italy. I always note that this is not sufficient. We should make more progress and catch up with, for example, New Zealand and Austria, even France. I always tell winemaking companies, winegrowers, that the government by itself cannot cope with all these problems. The government can only ensure compliance with legislation. Farmers should, first of all show willingness to ensure quality standards”, Mekhuzla pointed out.