Georgian wines and mineral waters are to be back in Russia within weeks. On Wednesday, Russia’s consumer right protection authority (Rospotrebnadzor) issued permits to 36 Georgian wineries and four mineral water manufacturers to export their products to Russia. The move followed a thorough inspection of these companies. Now, they can register their wines and brandies in Russia and officially begin regular deliveries.
Experts however do not expect this comeback to be smooth, the Novye Izvestia newspaper writes. The thing is that over the years when Georgian wines were under a ban in Russia, or since 2006, Georgian wine makers have excelled in making high-quality wines, with some of them winning international contests. Hence, prices on Georgian wines have gone up. “Georgian wines will no longer been cheap. The price is unlikely to be less than 300 roubles per bottle,” the newspaper cites Vladimir Tsapelnik, the president of the Independent Wine Club. “Georgian wines will have to face fierce competition from Azerbaijan-made wines, which can boast high quality and are priced in the same category.” Whereas practically no advertising would be needed to prompt people of the older age to buy Georgia’s Akhasheni or Kindzmarauli, the favorite drinks of their youth, it will take quite an effort to habituate the younger generation to these wines, the expert believes. Intense marketing efforts will be needed for that and it might be above the bend for some producers.
It is too early to rejoice, the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper writes. First, Georgian-made wines will reach Russian market only in later May. Second, the prices are going to be biting. “Georgian wines will be very costly,” the newspaper quotes Vadi Drobiz, the director of the Centre for the Study of Federal and Regional Alcohol Markets. “The price for one bottle is very much likely to be around 400 roubles. Moreover, the market share will be very tiny. So, Georgian wines will have to face tough competition with wines from other countries.” The taste will be as it used to, the expert voiced optimism. Along with wines, Georgian Chacha (a strong alcoholic drink of the grape-brandy type) is likely to re-emerge on the Russian market. The issue will be considered on March 25, when Rospotrebnadzor exerts arrive in Georgia on their second inspection tour.
According to Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, Russia’s consumer rights watchdog had absolutely no claims to mineral water manufacturers. So, they have been allowed to register their products in Russia.