According to Reinoud Nuijten, CBI programme manager for Eastern Europe, wine producers in Georgia are earning themselves a higher profile on the European wine market because they offer something different. “The taste of Georgian wine is unique and exuberant and it showcases Georgia’s rich history and tradition,” he says. However, although clearly promising, Georgia is still a relatively undiscovered wine region for European buyers, he informs.
Wine is Georgia’s export product with the highest potential and makes a huge contribution to Georgia’s overall GDP by helping to reduce unemployment, adds Nuijten. “High-quality wine requires a good production infrastructure, including bottles, corks and label manufacturing, as well as good roads. Wine production, in other words, stimulates economic development.”
Consumer awareness is a big hurdle for Georgian wineries, adds CBI wine expert Theo Jansen. “Georgian wines have yet to establish themselves in the European mindset. Twenty years ago Georgia had a reputation for delivering excellent sweet wines, but that reputation is also its greatest handicap. Buyers don’t realise that Georgia’s wine offering has long since diversified.”
Jansen recently helped video producer Huub Ruijgrok make a CBI-commissioned film about the Georgian wine sector. While in Georgia Ruijgrok was struck by the hospitality of the Georgian people, who have an incredible passion for food and tradition. Jansen insists that tradition is a great marketing tool that Georgia can use to gain a foothold on the European market. “Farmers from Eastern Europe were the first to have vineyards and they perfected winemaking techniques. Tradition fuels consumers’ curiosity and will make them at least want to try Georgian wines,” says Jansen.
But Georgia is a relatively small country, cautions Nuijten. If every Georgian winery were to pursue its own strategy they wouldn’t be able to compete with other major wine exporting countries. That’s why CBI is urging Georgian SMEs and the public sector to consolidate their efforts to enter the European market. “In trade fairs, B2B events and wine tastings, we are encouraging SMEs to represent Georgia as a whole, because this will make market penetration a lot easier.”
Evidently, CBI’s approach of persuading Georgian wineries to join forces is paying off. Georgian wine exports are growing at such a rapid pace that it would surprise Nuijten if CBI was still active in the sector after 2016. “The Georgian wine sector has really matured since we first started there. Looking ahead, more exposure and further quality improvements are our main priorities for the coming few years.” See the film for yourself.> Read the full article