Georgian wine exports to China grew by 98% to 5.3 million bottles in 2016, the highest growth rate recorded by any country importing wine into the country, according to figures released by the Georgian Wine Association.
Currently ranked as the eastern European country’s third biggest export market, China could soon surpass Ukraine to become Georgia’s second biggest export market, as the two are poised to sign a Free Trade Agreement later this year that would scrap import tariffs on Georgian wines.
Russia remains Georgia’s biggest export market with 27.22 million bottles, followed by Ukraine’s 5.81 million bottles.
However the association believe that wine exports from Georgia to China could grow to exceed 10 million bottles by the end of 2017, which could mean that within five years China could become Georgia’s biggest export market.
In the past 12 months, Georgia exported 50 million bottles of wines worldwide to 53 countries, a 38% growth in volume compared with 2015.
The ancient country, credited as the cradle of wine, can trace its winemaking tradition to 8,000 years ago. Most of its wine production comes from Kakheti province (nearly 70% by volume), with many of the wines are still made in traditional fashion, fermented and stored in egg-shaped clay vessel known as qvevri.
The leading white grape variety planted in the country is Rkatsiteli, while main red grape is Saperavi.