Levan Davitashvili

Levan Davitashvili, head of Georgia’s National Wine Agency. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–There are interruptions in the export of wine from Georgia to Belarus, although formally the export is not stopped.

The sale of wine to Ukraine and Russia is continuing without any restrictions, according to Levan Davitashvili, head of Georgia’s National Wine Agency.

Media in Belarus have reported that Georgian wine is disappearing from the shelves not only in shops and supermarkets, but also from specialist shops.

Some people expect Russia to create obstacles for Georgia as a means to scare the country into not signing a treaty with the EU, especially on the historical background of the Russian wine embargo introduced in 2006.

After the change of government in Georgia, this embargo was lifted and export of wine to Russia was resumed.

In Tbilisi people now look at the close relations between Russia and Belarus and wonder whether the obstacles in the sale of wine to Belarus might be a form of hidden economic sanctions by Russia.

Levan Davitashvili told DF Watch that wine export hasn’t stopped to Belarus, but there are certain interruptions, and negotiations are in progress to solve the problem.

“A week ago, a delegation from Belarus visited Georgia and this issue was brought up. In a week, a delegation from Georgia will visit Belarus, and I hope this issue will be solved on the level of governments and that restrictions will be eliminated,” he explained.

Davitashvili also remarked that export to Russia and Ukraine is continuing normally without problems.

In 2013, Georgia’s export of wine was 46.7 million bottles, worth USD 232 million. This is twice as many bottles as in 2012, and USD 68 million more in value.

In January 2014, Georgia exported 4 million bottles of wine and alcohol, which is 45 percent more than in the same period last year. Export of wine to Russia increased by 80 percent.

Georgia’s export of wine to Ukraine increased by 78 percent, to Kazakhstan by 275 percent, Latvia – 596 percent, Poland – 36 percent, Estonia – 289 percent, Azerbaijan – 58 percent, Belarus – 2 percent, UK – 61 percent, Lithuania – 3 percent, Hong-Kong – 16 percent, Netherlands – 17 percent.

Wine export in January, 2014, was USD 11.3 million, which is USD 9.2 million more than last year.