MOSCOW, June 14 (RIA Novosti) – A Georgian winemaker on Friday delivered the first shipment of wine from the South Caucasus country to Russia after a seven-year ban.
The Dugladze winery delivered 30 bottles on Friday and will send another 150,000 bottles to commercial distributors throughout Russia next week, the company’s director told RIA Novosti.
Levan Davitashvii, head of Georgia’s National Wine Agency, said the day before that in addition to Dugladze, another two companies – Alaverdi and Teliani Veli – had received licenses to ship wine to Russia.
Russia banned the importation of Georgian wines and two popular brands of mineral water in 2006, claiming that they contained hazardous substances. The measure, which Georgia described as politically motivated, came as ties between the two former Soviet nations soured with the rise to power of pro-Western Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili.
In March, Russia’s consumer rights watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, cleared 36 Georgian winemakers and four mineral water producers to resume deliveries to Russia.
Georgian wines and mineral waters were very popular in the Soviet Union and retained much of that appeal after the union broke up. Before the ban, Russia was the largest market for Georgian wines. The head of the Georgian wine producers agency has said Georgia is able to supply Russia with up to 10 million bottles of wine annually.