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Wine Materials Exports Prohibition Perspectives

Government of Georgia is developing a bill on forbidding wine materials exports under the pretext of preventing Georgian wines falsification on foreign markets. Government has also submitted specific facts of adulteration.

Namely, Sakpatenti continues exploring the issue of halted sales of 800 bottles of Kindzmarauli wine on Russian market. Georgian wines are mostly falsified in Baltic Countries and Russia, the winemaking company managers noted.

The Caucasus Business Week (CBW) has examined in which countries Georgian wine materials exports will be banned and what factors have preconditioned this initiative.

Otar Danelia, head of the parliament’s agrarian committee, says that Government continues working on wine materials exports issues and the due bill is being developed by National Wine Agency.

«I know there is a certain initiative around this issue. Supposedly, National Wine Agency is working on the issue. Our committee is not working on this bill. We have information that falsification risks grow on exports markets. For the purpose of protection of our brands and maintenance of quality of our wines, I believe it will be a positive decision to adopt this bill. National Wine Agency should also submit due arguments», Danelia noted.

Georgian wine materials are exported to several countries. National Wine Agency has examined these aspects comprehensively and analysis has been prepared on the ground of the mentioned materials. This initiative is also based on the mentioned analysis.

Giorgi Samanishvili, head of National Wine Agency, says that wine materials exports prohibition is only an initiative and refrained from making detailed comments. The agency is working on hundreds of ideas and only final results matter. “We are not working on the bill. The bill is being developed by Government. The working process will clarify what and how will be banned”, Samanishvili said.

Tapped wines are exported to several countries, but it is difficult to control how many bottles are manufactured. If the bill is approved, falsification risks will be reduced, Samanishvili added.

How frequently are Georgian wines falsified? Nikoloz Gogilidze, director of National Intellectual Property Center, noted that currently 800 bottles of Kindzmarauli have been seized in Russia and the office is performing appropriate procedures. Georgian wines indications of origin are frequently falsified in Russia and Baltic countries, he noted.

“Falsification always happens, but we permanently carry out registration procedures in countries, which are not members of international agreements and where international agreements do not provide protection guarantees. Azerbaijan and China are not members of any international agreement and therefore, we are entitled to control all products in these countries, including Chacha and Sulguni cheese”, Gogilidze said.

Our company has not suffered from falsification problems. The Authorities should set strict control over exports products, including on wine materials, to reduce Georgian wines adulteration cases on exports markets, Nutsa Abramishvili, director general for Schuchmann Wines Georgia winemaking company, noted.

«Our company has not suffered from falsification cases on any exports markets. Recently, the Government was talking about a wine tracking program with the aim to shape a scheme of lots. Under the program, a 12-digit code would simplify the tracking of adulterated wines on this or that exports market.  I do not know whether this program has come into force. Supposedly, this program was not launched. Currently, an only working mechanism implies private sector’s contacts with Sakpatenti», Nutsa Abramishvili noted.

It is necessary to patent Georgian wines, their brands and then expand geographical area so as Georgia have access to this or that market and protect Georgia wine’s rights, Nutsa Abramishvili pointed out.

«Falsification signs are frequently met in Post-Soviet countries, where bureaucracy and shady economy prevail. Therefore, I believe this issue cannot be resolved in a simple way. An only mechanism is to protect the brand at Sakpatenti», Abramishvili said.

Currently,  it is difficult to preliminarily determine who use these materials for this or that purpose. Private sector should balance this aspect by cooperating with strong partners on various markets., Abramishvili noted.

Zura Ramazashvili, chairman of Telavi Wine Cellar supervisory board, noted that  Georgian indications of origin are frequently misused on exports markets.  Therefore, government initiative will prevent them to use these names. I do not have detailed information about government plans and therefore, I cannot talk about details, Ramazashvili added.

“We should work with specific countries so as they ban a misuse of Georgian appellations. I believe we should work in this direction», Ramazashvili said.

Lado Uzunashvili, founder of Mukado Wines winemaking company said that he does not have detailed information on government plans in this respect and therefore, he refrains from making specific comments. However, he added that all efforts should be directed to preventing falsification.

«This is a good initiative, but I believe qualitative control within winemaking companies is a more efficient mechanism», Uzunashvili noted.