Source: Samtrest, Ministry of Agriculture, 2002
Today the production of two main types of grapes per hectare of land is the Rkaciteli – 7.0-8.0 tons, and the Saperavi – 5.0-6.0. These numbers are can increase by 25-35 % under normal working conditions and with all necessary tools and machinery readily available.
By taking into consideration the fact that during the grape processing period the market price for one kilogram of white grape ranges from $0,10 to $0,20, which is slightly above of its base price, then accordingly it could be forecasted that in the case of an increase in the volume of grapes the price per kilo will drop and the farmer’s revenue will increase, thus creating the ability for the farmer to procure some necessary tools, chemicals and machinery and increase the volume of his grapes for the next season. This could lead to the rehabilitation and positive redevelopment of the whole Georgian wine sector, though it should be mentioned that this positive tendency will not be implemented without sophisticated grape processing factories and new export markets.
In Table #1 it is clearly indicated that during the first part of last decade of the 20th century there was a huge drop in the volume of processed grape. This was mainly caused by the following reasons: Weak economic condition of the country, loss of traditional Russian market and huge amount of fake vintage Georgian wines, both in the Georgian and Russian markets. It should be mentioned that during the same period both farmers and wine factories had huge amounts of grapes in their warehouses, which did not find its path towards wine, simply because of the aspects mentioned above. And this is happening in Georgia – a country, which during the Soviet period was producing 55% of the total vintage wines and more than 25% of brandy in the USSR.
Despite all the negative factors mentioned above, in the second part of last decade of the 20th century developmental steps ahead were made in the Georgian wine sector, which on its behalf has led to the participation of foreign investors in the sector. The positive aspects were mainly caused by the fact that a new generation businessmen have acquired western knowledge of management and marketing, the consumer’s nostalgia for Georgian wines, and the government’s support. Lately, the participation of foreign companies is getting clearly noticeable – both in the fields of wine-making and in establishing new vineyards.
As a result, the number of local Georgian wine-making companies could be easily outlined in accordance with their financial strength, good marketing campaign, progressive management and export volume. These companies are: GWS (Georgian wines and spirits), “Telavi wine cellar”, “Akhasheni”, “Tbilwine” “Vaziani”, “Kinzmarauli”, “David Sarajishvili and Eniseli”, “Okami”, “Teliani Veli”, “Rachuli Gvino” and “Zmebi askaneli”.
Mineral and Spring Waters. According to the State Department of Statistics exports of different types of Georgian mineral waters during the first nine months of 2001 made up 6646,9 thousand USD which is 2.8 percent of the total Georgian exports.
One of the biggest assets – essential for the resort development in the country is represented by mineral waters. In Georgia almost all kinds of mineral water can be found, with more than 2,000 mineral springs, out of which 1700 are natural phenomena and 300 are boreholes. Their estimated total yield per day is 120 million liters. The most common kind is a carbonic acid mineral water, the daily yield of which amounts to approximately 60 million liters.
Structural geologic and hydrochemical properties of the so-called geotechtonic zones account for the distribution of various kinds of mineral waters in Georgia. For instance, within the limits of the Main Range and the Southern slope of the Greater Caucasus – cold, mostly carbonic and hydrocarbonated waters predominate. On Georgian Block the typical water includes cold as well as thermal sulphide-methane and nitric-methane, chloride and sulphate. Within the Adjara –Trialeti system and the adjoining Somkhiti Block the following kinds of water predominate: carbonic acid hydrocarbonated or chloride-hydrocarbonated as well as weak sulphide nitric, sulphate-chloride or carbonate-bicarbonate.
Georgia has large reserves of thermal water of various chemical compositions. The territory occupied by Georgian Block and Adjara Trialeti System is especially rich in them. Thermal radioactive (Radonic) mineral waters are the main natural curative factors of the Tskaltubo and Tkvarcheli Resorts. So-called hyperthermal waters, forming a class by themselves are extracted from the earth’s deep levels by boring. The main pools of these waters are: Tsaishi (Temp 81-82 C), Kvaloni (Temp 94 C), Kindghi (103 C), Khorga (Temp 110 C). Hyperthermal waters are mostly used for heating purposes.
Drinkable mineral waters are used for health-restoration not only at resorts, but also outside them in the form of bottled mineral waters. Such as Borjomi, Nabeglavi, Sairme, Ucera, Djava, and Zvare.
Borjomi Mineral Water. The Borjomi resort is considered as one of the most spectacular locations in Georgia. It is located at 950 meters above sea level between the evergreen slopes of the Meskheti and Trialeti Ridges.
Besides its beautiful nature and climate, the Borjomi region is famous for its mineral waters, which represent the other major natural curative factor of this place. Instead of natural springs known since older times, gusher-boreholes are being used at present.
In terms of chemical composition the mineral waters are of acidulous, hydrocarbonate, sodium variety, containing 0.5 to 1.5 g/l of free carbon dioxide. They also contain ions of chlorine and small amounts of bromine, lithium, barium and some other substances. Temperature of the water in various springs ranges from +17 to 38 C. There are ten capped boreholes at the resort wit a total yield of 700-800 thousand liters.
Mineral waters are mainly used as a curative drink, for medical baths, inhalation, and levage of stomach and intestine. They are used as a curative and table drink outside the resort.
Borjomi mineral water is the most popular mineral water available in the CIS. In the 1980s exports reached over 420 million bottles per year. However Borjomi production and sales declined significantly between 1990-1995 due to the economic collapse in the former Soviet Union
In September of 1995 the Georgian Glass and Mineral Water company. N.V. (GG&MW) began to produce Borjomi mineral water at two Soviet – era bottling plants in Borjomi. A short period later the bottling plants, pipelines and quality control systems were brought up to world standards.
The Khashuri Glass plant, located 30 km from Borjomi, has also been reconstructed. After being purchased by GG&MW, the production process was modernized and a new automated bottle-packaging system was installed.
In 1997, GG&MW obtained the license and exclusive right to use the Borjomi name until 2007. In order to restore Borjomi mineral water and make it compatible with international standards, GG&MW found it essential to cooperate with international financial institutions, such as: IFC, EBRD, ING Barings, and TBC Group of Georgia.
GG&MW mainly orients its exports towards the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Baltic States, USA, and Israel, and it is considered as the biggest, financially strongest and most progressive Borjomi bottling company.
Sairme Mineral Waters. The Sairme resort is situated in the valley of the Tsalabris tskali river 950 m above sea level and 55 km south of the second biggest town in Georgia – Kutaisi. The nearby mountainsides are overgrown with leaf bearing (oak, beech, etc.) and also coniferous woods. The resort has been operating since 1930. Climate of the region is moderately humid, subtropical, average temperature of the air totals 8.8 C, the annual amount of precipitation makes up on average 1100mm, average humidity of the air is 80%.
The word “Sairme” in Georgian means “a place of deer”. In winter many deer and roes used to come down to the mineral watering places from the nearby woods, therefore the hunters called the place “Sairme.”
As it was mentioned above, the Sairme resort is rich with mineral water springs – the major natural curative factor of the resort. Sairme mineral waters are known since the end of the 19th century. In terms of their chemical composition, they are of acidulous hydrocarbonate calcium-sodium kind of acidulous hydrocarbonate sodium Borjomi – like variety. It has been established that “Sairme” acidulos waters have a curative action against diseases of kidneys, urinary tracts, and liver.
The only company that bottles Sairme is the CARTU group. The company uses a German bottling line and produces water in 1 liter PET and 0.33 and 0.5-liter green glass bottles. The only raw materials the company imports are capsules for its bottles from Turkey, bottle caps from Bulgaria and Turkey, and clay from Turkey. The company mainly orients its export towards the FSU republics.
A new foreign company with better experience in promotion and distribution could easily enter the Sairme bottling market. This takes into consideration the fact that CARTU has a normal license and is not the exclusive company to bottle Sairme water.
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