(DF Watch.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–By September 28, Georgia had exported 23.3 million bottles of wine so far in 2015.

3.5 million bottles were exported in September, according to the Agriculture Ministry; the highest monthly rate in 2015.

The export of wine has tripled, compared to the beginning of the year.

Agriculture Minister Otar Danelia said Tuesday at a briefing that the top export countries are Russia with 12.1 million bottles, Kazakhstan 3.4 million bottles, Ukraine 1.9 million, China 1.4 million and Poland 1.1 million.

Since January, the wine has been more strictly examined, Danelia said. 343 samples have been inspected in Tbilisi and other areas of Georgia. There were 17 suspicious cases that were sent for further analysis.

He outlined that the government has spent more than 10 million laris on marketing Georgian wine and stressed that it would be better if wine producers could be more active in this way themselves.

“In the beginning, a fifth of this was spent on marketing. I think even the current amount is not enough, because we have new market opportunities,” he added.

Despite the increased amount of wine export in September, export in 2015 went down by 46 percent compared to last year, when it reached its peak. The reduced export is seen as related to problems in Ukraine and economic difficulties in Russia.