Saturday, April 14, 2007

Russia Bans Georgian Wines

For those who weren't following the news out of eastern Europe in March 2006, Russia banned Georgian wine imports, in an attempt at political pressure. The story was widely carried by the BBC, Radio Free Europe and other news outlets.

Russians have long prized the wines of Georgia. "For more than 70 years the Russians were drinking our wine... Suddenly the officials say they don't like it anymore," explained Shota Kobelia, a Georgian vintner. With the change in Russia, however, Georgian wines are simply going elsewhere. "We are able to... sell premium wines in the EU, the US and Japan," says Mr Kobelia. "There is a growing appreciation of the distinctive flavours of what is one of the world's oldest wine making regions." The Russian ban was not, however, very creative, making use of recycled Soviet era images to try to turn aside the Russian public's love of Georgian wine.

Nana Mageladze at her wine shop in Tbilisi, Georgia.

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