"Georgian Wine is Gearing Up to Strengthen Its Position in the US Market"

"Georgian Wine is Gearing Up to Strengthen Its Position in the US Market"

Wine exports play a pivotal role in Georgia’s economy, and this trend continues to surge each year, constituting over 4% of the country’s total export volume. Notably, from January to May 2023, the export of Georgian wine experienced a remarkable 30% increase. The total value of exported wine in the first five months surpassed 103 million US dollars, marking a significant leap from the approximately 80 million US dollars recorded during the same period in the previous year.

The prominence of natural wine persists as one of Georgia’s primary export commodities, securing the third spot among the country’s largest commodity groups. While the Russian market remains the primary destination for Georgian wine, the attractiveness of the Chinese and US markets has been on the rise.

Although the export of Georgian wine to the US is currently modest, it is displaying an upward trajectory. From 2021 to 2022, Georgian wine exports to the US increased by over 7%, although it accounts for only 0.11% of Georgia’s total wine exports.

To harness the expanding potential of the highly appealing US wine market, “Alazani” Winery and STORY WINERY signed a memorandum of cooperation in 2023. This agreement entails business and educational visits aimed at raising awareness of Georgian wine. The US Wine Lovers Club, established by STORY WINERY in 2020, already boasts more than 500 members comprising sommeliers, wine journalists, distributors, importers, and avid wine enthusiasts across 46 states.

The memorandum outlines that club members with an interest in Georgian wine will undertake multiple visits to Georgia annually, to  support various regions in the country and local small to medium-sized wine entrepreneurs. These visits aim not only to offer an exceptional wine experience but also to forge strong bonds between the American wine community and Georgian wine producers.

Simon Nadashvili, the founder of “Alazani,” elaborated on his insights, stating – “Presently, 95% of Georgian wine sales stem from a single US city, New York, largely influenced by the population migrating from Georgia and Eastern Europe. Our objective is to raise awareness of Georgian wine in all states. Therefore, in the initial phase, most visitors will be from the west coast and central states.”

The first educational visit took place from June 16 to June 20, with 21 members of the wine club visiting Georgia for the first time. Organized jointly by “Alazani” and STORY WINERY, the guests had the opportunity to tour 12 selected small and medium-sized wineries and sample over 100 varieties of local wines. The event took place at the hotel complex “Ampelo” (Kardanakh, Kakheti).

Additionally, market research conducted by Alazani Winery uncovered several significant obstacles faced by Georgian wine exporters in the United States. Key challenges include high logistics costs, complex US legislation, limited awareness of Georgian wine, and copyright issues. To surmount these barriers, substantial support from both the public and private sectors is necessary. With this objective in mind, “Alazani” winery has set three primary goals: filling the informational gap on Georgian wine in the US, especially in the America’s central and western states; streamlining market penetration by addressing logistical issues, bureaucratic processes, and cost reduction; and establishing a hub for Georgian wine in the US, thereby optimizing transportation costs and export procedures.

For Georgian wine producers, this initiative will significantly ease the process of delivering their products to the US, one of the world’s most affluent consumer markets. Moreover, the stable characteristics of the US wine market and its projected growth trajectory (expected annual growth of 5.85% from 2023 to 2027) make it an opportune time for Georgian wine exporters to establish a prominent presence in the US market with a wide selection of high-quality Georgian wine.

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