Georgia named in top 3 wine importers in Russia, outrunning Spain

10 million bottles of Georgian wine were imported to Russia between January and March this year. Photo by N.Alavidze, 29 Apr 2014 - 15:49, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia has become the third largest wine importer in Russia, outrunning Spain in the first three months of 2014, Hvino News reported based on data from Russia’s Customs Service.

Georgian wines took 14.1 percent of the total imported wine market behind France and Italy with 19.3 and 14.8 percent respectively in the first quarter of this year. Spanish wine claimed 13.5 percent of the market.

Hvino News read this was actually larger than Georgia's share prior to the embargo: in 2005, Georgia held 9 percent of the total import market, which then amounted to 36.4 million litres, or 52 million bottles a year.


According to Hvino News Russia's Customs service sees Georgia and Abkhazia as two separate countries, while Abkhazia is a breakaway region of Georgia.

"Georgian and Abkhazian imports together account for 18.8 percent, which almost brings the total import figure to the first place.”

Russia's Federal Consumer Protection Service banned imports of Georgian wine in 2006, complaining they did not satisfy Russian quality standards. Critics said at the time that the decision was a response to rising political tensions between the former allies.

About 7.4 million litres, or nearly 10 million bottles, of Georgian wine were imported to Russia between January and March this year. This was 71 percent of Georgia's total wine exports, Georgia's National Wine Agency reported.

When the embargo was lifted last year, experts were skeptical as to Georgian wine's prospects on the market, as cheaper wines from such countries as Spain, Portugal and Latin America had filled the gap, Hvino News read.

But Russian consumers evidently had not forgotten their former favorites, and Georgia immediately sprinted into the top 10 of wine importers, winning 5.5 percent of the total imported wine market in 2013.