TBILISI, December 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russia bought almost half of all wine exported by Georgia in 2013, just months after a longtime ban was lifted, Georgia’s agriculture ministry said Monday.
Georgia sold 21.8 million bottles to Russia after Moscow ended an embargo in June that had been imposed in 2006.
The level of demand has prompted the Caucasus nation to double its forecast for Russian wine sales in 2014 from 12-15 million bottles to more than 30 million, Georgy Seturidze, head of the Georgian-Russian Economic Cooperation Center, told Prime news agency.
The reopening of the Russian market helped Georgia to double wine exports this year to 44.7 million bottles, the ministry’s annual report showed. It sold wine to 48 countries worldwide in 2013.
Russia banned imports of Georgian wines, mineral water and agricultural products in 2006, citing low quality of such goods. The measure, which Georgia described as politically motivated, was imposed as relations soured between the Kremlin and Georgia’s pro-Western leader Mikheil Saakashvili.
Talks about lifting the ban began shortly after the opposition Georgian Dream coalition led by billionaire businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili won parliamentary elections last year. The Georgian Dream’s candidate, Georgy Margvelashvili, won October’s presidential election to succeed Saakasvhili.
In March, Russia’s consumer rights watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, cleared 36 Georgian winemakers and four mineral water producers to resume deliveries to Russia. Exports of Georgian wine and other agricultural goods to Russia resumed in June.