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Bagrationi 1882 working to reach German and Armenian markets

Tamar Khurtsia

Bagrationi 1882, Georgia’s leading sparkling wine producer, ended 2008 with the same sales index - 1.9m bottles - as in 2007, selling 80% of its products locally. The company describes last year’s performance as “positive” in the light of the August hostilities and the global financial crisis.
“Last year was hard both in terms of domestic and external shocks,” Lika Kapanadze, Bagrationi 1882's PR manager told GBW in an interview. “Bagrationi 1882 expected its highest sales in summer, but the August war mitigated that expectation. Moreover, in a time of global financial crisis, it is difficult to forecast the further expansion of sales and tendencies of the wine market in2009.”
Bagrationi 1882 exported 20% of its production to Ukraine and China in 2008. At the beginning of 2009, the company penetrated into four more new markets and exported sparkling wines to the USA and the Baltic countries. The first shipment of 12,500 bottles has been already sent to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.  Bagrationi 1882’s partner in the USA is Pacific Wine Marketing Group. At the first stage the company sent 21,696 bottles to California and New York.
“American consumers have the opportunity to taste Bagrationi Brute, Extra Dry, Reserve and Royal Cuvee produced by reservoir method,” Kapanadze said, adding that prices for an exported bottle of their sparkling wine ranges from USD 14 to USD 35.
According to the year-end forecasts, the company is able to continue expanding production and reach new markets. “Talks are underway on exporting [sparkling wines] to Germany and Armenia,” Kapanadze said.
Last year Bagrationi 1882 finished its rebranding and offered renewed production of Bagrationi Classic and Gold along with the new image. “Were it not for the tough summer period, Bagrationi would have posted higher sales thanks to the improved quality. The new image proved a success.”
The rebranding process took two years and cost EUR 100,000. Bagrationi 1882 worked with Claessens, a British Company, on its new logo, and in close cooperation with Hammerle, a specialized German company, on its production line. As a result, Bagrationi installed new technological equipment and new bottling lines in its winery. In total, Bagrationi invested more than USD 6m in development projects starting from 2007.
Bagrationi produces a total of 11 types of sparkling wine through a new progressive method called Charmat, known also as the reservoir method. Bagrationi Classic semi-dry is in the highest demand, holding 65% of Bagrationi's total sales. It is followed by Mukhrani while Bagrationi Gold ranks third.
The company holds nearly 75% of the domestic market, Kapanadze says. According to official statistics, local producers maintain about 99% of Georgia’s sparkling wine market, with other key players being Vaziani JSC, Samepo JSC and Teliani Valley JSC. Total sales of Georgian sparkling wine increased around 30% in 2007 over the previous year.
The name Bagrationi comes from an ancient Georgian royal family. The company’s story is linked with the Georgian prince, Ivane Bagrationi Mukhraneli, who launched production of sparkling wines in 1882. That same year Georgian-produced sparkling wines received the first worldwide recognition and won the Grand Prix at an International Exhibition in St. Petersburg.

The company owns vineyards in the most prestigious micro-zones of Georgia, covering a total area of 200 hectares, which are home to unique strains of grapes, such as Goruli Mtsvane,  Rkatsiteli, Chinuri, Tsitska.
Bagrationi’s annual production capacity is 4.5m bottles. But historically, Kapanadze says, the company used to produce 20m bottles, sending 15% of its production to Soviet markets.
In 2009, Bagrationi 1882 plans to launch four renewed kinds of sparkling wines - Bagrationi Red, Bagrationi Rose, Old Reserve with three different tastes – (Brut, Semi dry and semi sweet) and Finest.
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August 2020