Tbilisi, DFWatch – A second group of Russian experts who should have arrived in Georgia on March 25 to monitor about 40 companies have rescheduled their visit for the beginning of April.

Levan Davitashvili, Chairman of the National Wine Agency, said at a briefing Tuesday that the six person delegation will be split into three groups who will visit the regions Racha, Adjara and Samegrelo.

After the new Ivanishvili government came to power in Georgia, talks started between Russia and Georgia about lifting the Russian embargo on Georgian wine and mineral water. The ban was introduced in 2006 shortly after Georgia accused four Russian diplomats of being spies, but came formally as a decision by Russia’s consumer safety agency CPS (Rospotrebnadzor) to ban wine from Georgia and Moldova because of impurities. Later Russia also banned Georgian mineral water.

February 25, a first group of Russian experts arrived in Georgia to examine 37 mineral water and wine companies and check the quality of the product. 36 of them were approved.

According to Davitashvili, companies which have been approved are now registering for export and the majority of them are finished submitting the necessary documents.

“We should maintain a good quality,” he said. “At the next level we will help companies with communication.”

Davitashvili also said that the wine Georgian industry will continue its focus on European countries, as it ramps up export to the Russian market.

Georgia currently exports wine to about 50 other countries around the world.

Before the 2006 embargo came into force, about 75 percent of Georgia’s wine export went to Russia. According to official statistics, Georgia exported wine in the amount of USD 80 million in 2005, while in 2007 it fell to USD 29 million (2.4 percent of all the export).

But the wine export has increased significantly over the years, and in 2010 amounted to USD 54 million (2.5 percent of all export), according to the Georgian Statistics Department. The top importer country of Georgian wine is Ukraine, which imports wine worth USD 22.5 million per year.