2020’s vintage is looking good for Georgia, as the first reports of this year’s harvest come in from Kakheti. This south-easterly wine zone is the largest and most significant in Georgia, and is responsible for around 70% of Georgia’s production. One of the warmest, sunniest and driest regions in Georgia, Kakheti is among the first to start the vintage.
2020’s sunny but temperate conditions, with sufficient rain and without significant drought, were welcomed by producers.
Initial reports are that the crop is up by 33% on 2019’s dry, low-yielding vintage.
The white grape Rkatsiteli remains the most significantly grown variety, followed by the red grape Saperavi. Kakhuri Mtsvane – a white grape whose plantings had diminished significantly up to the early 2000s – is increasing in production.
The Georgian government has introduced targeted subsidies and other support for the wine sector, which is a significant source of revenue and employment. The subsidies ensure a minimum price is paid by wineries to Georgia’s many thousands of independent grape growers for the key varieties of Rkatsiteli and Kakhuri Mtsvane. Wineries purchasing a minimum quantity of 1000 kg of grapes must pay a minimum of 0.8 Georgian lari (around £0.20) per kilogram to growers, of which 0.3 lari are subsidised by the Government.
A spokesperson for the National Wine Agency said:
“As the viticulture and winemaking sector has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Georgia will subsidise Kakhuri Mtsvane and Rkatsiteli. The subsidy will be given to wine companies that buy and process at least 1,000 tonnes of the mentioned varieties of grapes in the Kakheti region”
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