Russia poised to lift Georgian wine ban
7th February, 2013 by Rupert Millar
Georgian wine may be about to make a comeback in Russia following a seven-year ban.
Russian and Georgian officials met earlier this week on the possibility of reopening the market for wine and mineral water.
The announcement is the first since November last year when Russia announced it was considering lifting the ban as the drinks business reported at the time.
Georgia is in the process of drawing up a list of producers who wish to export to Russia who will then be subject to an inspection by the Russian consumer rights protection agency, Rospotrebnadzor.
Russia banned Georgian wine products in 2006 citing poor quality and health fears.
As Russia took as much as 70% of Georgia’s wine exports, the ban came as a severe blow.
A short war between the two countries in 2008 over the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia did little to repair relations.
The lifting of the ban, in principal agreed on Monday, is the first sign of thawing relations in the Caucasus since the election of Bidzina Ivanishvili as Georgia’s premier in October last year.
He replaced Mikheil Saakashvili whose closer ties to NATO were seen by many as antagonistic towards Moscow.
Ivanishvili is seen as marginally more pro-Russia, where he made the bulk of his estimated US$6.4 billion fortune.