Grape harvest season 2014 kicks off

The state subsidy to wine-makers will decrease this year from 25 million GEL to 12 million GEL.Photo by, 15 Aug 2014 - 15:50, Tbilisi,Georgia

As summer draws to an end the country’s grape harvest season is just beginning with experts estimating 126,000 tonnes of grapes this year will be picked.

Despite the current hot, sunny skies, weather problems earlier in the year negatively affected crops so this year’s yield is expected to be 15 percent less than 2013.

A coordination centre for grape vintage under the supervision of the government, Rtveli 2014 said up to 110,000 tonnes of grapes would be purchased by wine producing companies this season.

The remaining 16,000 tonnes will be produced by local farmers. Since the harvest is about to kick off the Ministry of Agriculture believed farmers will not have problems selling their produce this year.

One of the reasons the country purchased more grapes this year was because of expansion into new markets including Russia. But wine producing companies said they had reached success in other markets too, like China.

Latest data revealed Georgia exported 46 million bottles of wines from January 1 to June 30, 2014. At the same time the country exported 26.8 million bottles of wine, valued at $87.2 million USD to 34 countries across the world.

Of this, Russia obtained 17 million bottles, which was 66 percent of total exports, said the National Wine Agency of Georgia. The volume of wine exported in the first half of the year increased by 136 percent compared to the same period of 2013.

State support

The state subsidy to wine-makers will decrease this year from 25 million GEL to 12 million GEL.

The Government will pay 0.35 GEL to farmers per kg of Rkatsiteli - a type of white grapes that are sold to factories, which is 0.05 GEL less than 2013 prices.

In addition, the subsidy for black grape variety Saperavi will be 0.15 GEL, a 0.10 GEL decrease from 2013.

The subsidy program will be issued to wine-making companies who pay 1 GEL or more per kg of grapes.

Meanwhile 79 private and two state-owned wine plants purchased grapes from farmers last year.