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GEORGIAN WINE SECTOR TO LEARN FROM ITALIAN EXPERIENCE, July 2007

FAO and EBRD helping Georgian wine producers protect appellations and capture new markets

A four day wine sector tour in Italy, organized by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and FAO, will focus on improving marketing strategies and protecting Georgia's geographical appellations. The study tour, which takes place from the 16th to the 19th of July 2007, aims to improve Georgian wine producers' capacity to stimulate demand for their products in the global market. A team of 11 wine sector stakeholders from Georgia is participating in the study tour, which is fincaned by Canada. The Georgian team, led by Mrs. Lily Begiashvili - the Georgian Deputy Minister of Agriculture - will tour key wineries including Antinori (Orvieto Classico appellation), Ruffino (Chianti Classico appellation) and Masi (Amarone della Valpolicella Classico appellation), where "best practices" in the Italian wine sector will be showcased. In addition to the tour of Italian wineries and associations of wine-makers, the participants will attend a seminar organized by FAO experts and key Italian wine industry players such as - inter alia - the Italian Trade Commission (Istituto nazionale per il Commercio Estero - ICE), the Italian Wine Union (Unione Italiana Vini), Federvini and the National Committee on Wine Appellations (Ministry of Agriculture). The seminar will focus on the importance of collective action and empowerment initiatives such as wine producers associations in capturing new markets and protecting geographical appellations.

FAO has been supporting the development of the Georgian wine sector since 2000 when, at the request of the Government, it provided assistance in drafting Georgia's first wine law. The law instituted an appellation of origin labelling system which provides details about where the wine comes from, the grapes used in it and how it was produced. Despite this tracing system, the Georgian wine sector continues to be plagued by counterfeiting. It was affected by the banning of wine exports to Russia - its biggest export market - in 2006.

"Georgia's wine industry has to broaden its markets" says Emmanuel Hidier of FAO's Investment Centre. "It has to stimulate demand for its appellations in large wine markets such as the EU and North America." The seminar will explore ways to do just that and learn from the Italian experience. At the same time it will discuss the geographical appellations issue and learn from the Italian know-how how best to protect and promote such appellations.

For Study tour details, please see Protection of wine appellation

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