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In 2019, Georgia exported nearly 94 million bottles (0.75 litres) of wine to 53 countries which is 9% more as compared to 2018’s data and is the record-breaking figure in the history of independent Georgia. The value of exported wine reached USD 240 million which is 17% more as compared to the same figure of 2018.

Export increased to Georgia’s strategic wine markets: Poland – 17% (4,114,972 bottles), China – 2% (7,089,259 bottles), USA – 48% (678,148 bottles) and the UK – 60% (168,307 bottles). There were 58,384,540 bottles of wine exported to Russia in 2019 which constitutes a 9% growth as compared to the previous year. Russian-exported wine constituted 62.1% of Georgia’s total wine exports.

According to the data of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, 23,742 tonnes of wine were exported from Georgia with total monetary value of USD 73,249,000 in January-May 2020. In the same period of the previous year, Georgia sold 26,189 tonnes of wine with a total monetary value of USD 82,613,000. Therefore, Georgia’s wine exports in the reporting period dropped by 11.3% as compared to the same period of the previous year.

Table 1: Georgian Wine Exports, Volume and Export Revenue

Year

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2019 January-May

2020 January-May

Bottles (Million -0.75 Litres)

23

46

59

36

50

76

86

94

26.2

23.7

Value (USD Million)

65

128

185

96

87

170

203

240

83

73

Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia

In the first five months of 2020, the majority of Georgian wine was exported to Russia – 14,620 tonnes with a total value of USD 43,413 million. Apart from Russia, top export destinations for Georgian wine were as follows: Ukraine – USD 7.991 million (2,923 tonnes), China – 5.014 million (1,294 tonnes), Poland – USD 4.040 million (1,462 tonnes), Belarus – 2.192 million (693 tonnes), etc.

Graph 1: Georgian Wine Exports to the Russian Market in 2013-2020, Million Bottles (0.75 Litres) and USD Million

Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia

As illustrated by the graph, Russia’s share in total Georgian wine exports has been growing since 2015.

Although the export geography for Georgian wine is expanding annually and wine is entering new export markets, the Russian market still remains the top export market for the Georgian wines. Therefore, any growth or decline in Georgian wine export usually depends on the Russian factor. As we know, Russia banned the import of Georgian agricultural products (including wine) in 2006 pursuant to a decree of Russia’s Chief Sanitary Inspector, Gennady Onischenko, under the pretext of low quality. The aforementioned Russian embargo resulted in a significant drop in Georgia’s wine exports. In 2016, Georgia’s wine exports were USD 41 million whilst in the next year that figure almost halved and decreased to USD 29 million. Exports of Georgian wine and brandy to Russia resumed in June 2013. In 2013-2014, a significant growth in Georgia’s wine exports was stipulated precisely after the lifting of the ban on Georgian wine exports to Russia (in 2013 – USD 128 million and in 2014 – USD 185 million. See FactCheck’s article here). In 2015, a drop in Georgia’s wine exports was again stipulated by the Russian factor. Instability in Russia and Ukraine in that year heavily affected Georgia’s wine exports and resulted in a 39% drop in exports (USD 96 million). Events unfolding after 20 June 2019 (Russia’s threat to impose sanctions on Georgian products) demonstrated once again that Russia is an unreliable trade partner which often uses trade relations with Georgia for political purposes. Therefore, in order to raise awareness on Georgian wines and further popularise them, more effective steps are needed to make sure we are less dependent on unstable markets as such Russia.