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Georgian wine exports to China soared in 2021 by NING SANG LAWATI28/02/2022  

n 2021, Georgian wine exports to China have boomed with an increase of 29% by volume compared to 2020, turning China into its fourth largest wine export destination. The country also exported 42% more wines in volume to Hong Kong last year, demonstrating a strong demand for Georgian wine in Hong Kong despite the pandemic.

In 2021, Georgian wine achieved a record year for wine exports in 2021 with 107 millions bottles of wine shipped to 62 countries, which generated US$250 million of sales, according to Georgian Wine, an official wine trade organisation for Georgia.

Georgian wine exports to China soared by 514% in January this year (pic: Debra Wine Media)

Among all the regions, Georgia has exported 5,934,937 bottles to China, which equals to a 29% year-on-year increase, making it the fourth largest wine export destination for Georgia just behind Russia, Ukraine and Poland.

Georgia’s wine trade with Hong Kong also rose by 42% with 37,061 bottles of exports.

The remarkable increase in exports to China suggested that Georgia has almost regained their pre-pandemic level of exports to China, in comparison to their peak export volume of 7,585,407 bottles to China in 2017. 

During the past year, Georgia has also ramped up its promotions in China. 2021 saw an array of activities promoting Georgian wine to Chinese wine importers, distributors, buyers and on-trade professionals.

In December 2021 Georgian wine masterclasses and tastings were hosted by Meibueg Wine Media and VinosVivo and presented by Master of Wine and Official Georgian Wine Educator Julien Boulard MW in Shenzhen, Shanghai and Chengdu.

Georgia has ramped up its promotions in China despite pandemic. (pic: Debra Wine Media)

Overall, the top three largest export destinations for Georgian wine in 2021 were Russia with 62,115,759 bottles, Ukraine with 12,921,321 bottles, and Poland with 7,003,031 bottles.

With Georgia enshrined as “the birthplace of wine” and its traditional winemaking of using qvevri, the popularity of Georgian wine has grown rapidly over the past decade with expanding volume, value and market. From the period of 2012 to 2021, Georgia’s wine exports rose by 360%, and the number of winery involved in exporting quadrupled to 441 from 100.

The strong demand for Georgian wines continued to 2022, with 5.3 million bottles of wine exported to 35 countries solely in January, equivalent to a 51% increase from January 2021, according to data from Georgian Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection.

Among all the export regions, exports to China particularly soared by 514% with a total of 278,493 bottles shipped for January 2022, compared to the same month in 2021.

Currently, Georgia is one of the only four countries to hold a Free Trade Agreement on wine imports with China. While Australian wine exports are greatly hindered by China’s 218% anti-dumping tariffs, Georgia’s trade relationship with China may help it further seize China’s market share in the near future.