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Boost for Georgian wine industry

Published:  29 July, 2010

The European Union has taken the unprecedented step of agreeing to protect the Geographical Indications of Georgia.

18 Georgian 'appellations' will now be legally protected including Khvanchkara, Tvishi, Kindzmarauli, and Saperavi. The ex-Soviet bloc producer is the first "EU Neighbourhood Country" to take the step forward in promoting and protecting its geographical origins.

It is hoped the move will boost the Georgian wine industry's fortunes following its demise after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Georgia had been one of the main wine suppliers to the Soviet Union with around 70% of its production exported to Russia and satellite states. However, the country's vineyard area halved between 1990 and 2000, and in 2006, Russia banned Georgian wine on grounds of "doubtful" health scares.

The scheme could also encourage the development of tourism and marketing initiatives.