Journalist Justin Keay has written extensively about Georgian Wine in his role as a wine specialist. A recent article in Global Finance draws on his experience as a financial journalist, and places the success of Georgia’s wine sector in the broader context of its economy and investment landscape.
Wine remains a key export for Georgia, explains Keay:
The export sector has been particularly dynamic, with sales abroad rising 27% to reach $42.4 billion last year, natural resources and agribusiness leading the way. Georgia’s fast-growing wine sector now contributes nearly 10% of exports. Hazelnuts are also a significant FX earner, with Italy’s Ferrero Group purchasing much of the crop for its Nutella spread.
Tourism is expected to increase after the severe losses caused by the pandemic. A welcome recovery for the many Georgian wineries with eno-tourism at the heart of their offering:
Although imports also jumped, reflecting strong domestic demand for cars and consumer goods, Georgia’s account deficit should narrow later this year as tourism recovers to 2019 levels. The sector pretty much collapsed in 2020 and only earned $1.24 billion, or 38% of the pre-pandemic level, in 2021. Experts predict that the industry will reach 80% of the pre-pandemic level by the end of the year.
Keay’s broader perspective captures the rapid and significant increase in the exports of Georgian wine around the world since 2008:
Georgia’s wine industry managed to reinvent itself after Russia, its primary market, halted imports in 2008. Producers significantly boosted quality, moved away from sweet vintages popular in Russia and focused on native grape varieties like Saperavi and Rkatsiteli. The country now has 374 producers that export 72 million bottles to 62 countries globally, compared to 19 million bottles a decade ago. Wine is now arguably Georgia’s most recognizable product and the country’s third-biggest foreign-currency earner, as well as sporting Unesco’s official protection of its historical winemaking process.
We look forward to bringing more of these wines from Georgia’s dynamic and diversified wine sector to the attention of UK trade buyers.