Dugladze Wine Company, exporting in particular Saperavi and Khvanchkara wine brands, will be the first Georgian company that will return to the Russian market after an embargo imposed in 2006, the head of the Georgian National Wine Agency, Levan Davitashvili, told the Izvestia daily on Wednesday.
“The Russian Federal Customs Service has accepted the application of that company” which means exports may begin within the next two weeks, Davitashvili said without concealing his joy. This is the precedent that other Georgian companies seeking to return to the Russian market have been waiting for, he said.
“Dugladze Wine Company was set up in 2004, and was quite actively supplying wines to the Russian market before the embargo was imposed - almost 200,000 bottles a year,” he said. Now the company exports seven wine brands - Saperavi, Khvanchkara, Kindzmarauli, Tsinandali and others - to the United States and Europe. An average export price is four to five dollars per bottle.
“In time we expect to export to Russia our sparkling wines and cognacs,” Dugladze’s manager Manana Akhvlediani told the Izvestia daily. However, the price of a bottle of wine grows almost threefold as compared with the purchase price when the wine gets to supermarkets, the head of Prodexpo’s international wine-tasting commission, Alexei Zaitsev, says. “Original Georgian wines will cost 600 to 700 roubles,” he forecasts. “The prices are a bit too high. However, they will be in demand, although it won’t be stunning, mainly for nostalgic reasons. These are the wines that our people know, especially semi-sweet wines,” he added.
“Original Georgian wines are very expensive, as during Gorbachev’s campaign almost all vineyards were cut down, that is why Georgian grapes are rare. And it is rather labor-intensive to cultivate grape vines on rocks, it is difficult to supply water there. That is why wines will be costly, but they are still popular,” Zaitsev said.
Expert from Georgian Business & Political Insight Irakly Lekvinadze believes that the Georgian companies intending to win back the Russian market must be aware of risks. There is a very big competition on the Russian market, he said.