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How to teenspirit the Georgian wine

By Malkhaz Kharbedia

Allow me to say that the Georgian wine companies are indifferent towards the local market. There is not much done in regards to the promotion of the bottled wines in Georgia; no advertising campaigns are being launched, it's almost impossible to make a bottled wine attractive to the local consumers, as some of them are having overinflated prices, uncorrelated with the quality. Some do not have suitable packaging. Because of these and many other reasons, bottled wine sales are very low in Georgia, according to the latest data.

This is not good for the wine country that is presented on the world map as the homeland of wine. Does everyone in the country consume the wine they produce themselves? Or is everyone drinking beer and vodka?  Maybe the wine companies have abandoned the local market and are producing wines only for the export purposes. Many more questions can be asked.

The fact that the wine sales are low in Georgia could be caused by many factors. One of the serious obstacles is a few choices of affordable bottled wines. Today, one cannot find the wine between 3 to 5 Gels price range in Georgia i.e., the wine, which is pleasant to drink. However, surprisingly, in the second half of 2013, a huge amount of cheap wines (1$) was instantly found on the Russian market (almost 50% of the Russian Market has been covered by the exported Georgian wines for several months with the average price of 3$). 

Raising the awareness and attractiveness of the Georgian wine brands among a wide circle of people is also a very important issue. In a nutshell, Georgian wine lacks joy and appeal, more specifically, it lacks the teen spirit.

That is why, young people have no information about the Georgian wine, major grape varieties or wine types in Georgia; thus, they associate wine with some outdated, pseudo-traditional rituals. Considering this, I think that wine companies should focus on the youth first and modernize the image of the Georgian wine as much as possible. Even though some attempts have been made during the last two years, Georgian wine still keeps its strange status: People buy the bottled wines as gifts for their guests. 

Apparently, a bottled wine is still a luxury item, however, it surely can be democratized. Can't we bring the product to the people, which is being produced in Georgia in huge quantities? Our hopes are based on this product, the same hopes are connected with the future and the future is in the hands of the young people i.e., in the hands of those who may become the ambassadors of the Georgian wine here and there, for example, in the countries they visit for studying or working purposes. How come that the companies are not interested in those people, who can make their wines more fashionable? Once the youth participates in the image formation and vivification of Georgian wine, it will be more likely to obtain sustainable results through an active and effective cooperation with the informed (and not superficial) consumers. 

I find it very unfortunate that most of the young style wines, even rosé wines, are packaged in a boring and unattractive way. As to the wine tourism, we have the similar situation here. I am sure that wine tourism development in Georgia suffers because of the lack of the devoted, inspired local, Georgian tourists and the young individuals in the first place. I cannot say enough how  relying only on tourism is not only a bad idea, but also a crime, I believe. Finally, it’s ironic that Russian, Ukrainian and Kazakh wine drinkers buy more bottled wines and consume more Georgian wines than Georgians themselves.

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December 2020