The future for Georgia

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Georgia may be playing catch up with the modern technology of many countries but has an enviably strong wine and hospitality culture, national belief in its wines, a wide range of high-quality indigenous grape varieties, a unique tradition of fermenting a small percentage of its wines in qvevri, and no shortage of historically established terroirs. Georgia’s wines, especially the semi-sweet reds, have always been in great demand in Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union, notwithstanding the politically motivated Russian ban on imports of Georgian wine between 2006 and 2013. The embargo forced exporters to improve quality and to look further afield to more demanding markets such as western Europe, the US, Japan, China, and Hong Kong. Although annual per capita consumption is around 15–20 l (4?5 gal), exports are crucial since much of the domestic demand is satisfied by home winemaking. According to a 2011 report by the Georgian Wine Association (GWA) and other stakeholders, half of the 150,000–200,000 tons of grapes harvested annually in Georgia are used for ‘family wine’. Imported wines represent just 1% of the total domestic market.