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Wines of Georgia Reports 2023 Integrated Communications Program a Great Success

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The strategic campaign engaged trade, press and consumers in the US market through activities designed to educate and drive awareness of the Georgian wine category

New York, November 28, 2023 – Wines of Georgia, the organization that represents and promotes the wines of the country of Georgia and is financed by the National Wine Agency of Georgia, which is a legal entity under the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia and the country’s wineries, is pleased to announce the success of its 2023 integrated communications plan in the United States, which focused on expanding reach by executing a comprehensive communications strategy targeted to key media, trade and influencers. The year’s activities included several trade and press events, the launch of a first-of-its-kind free Georgian wine education certification and ongoing press relations, developed and executed with the aim of maintaining momentum for the category in the US, a top strategic market for Georgia. According to the National Wine Agency, US imports of Georgian wine increased in 2022, as in previous years, and continuing to build awareness by investing in educational events and programming for the market is a top priority. 

“Georgian wine has seen significant growth in the United States, with a 29% year-over-year increase in exports from 2016 to 2022,” says Tamta Kvelaidze, Head of Marketing & PR at the Georgian National Wine Agency. “We are thrilled about the success of the 2023 integrated communications program in further strengthening our relationships in an important market. It is exciting to witness influential trade and press in the US, as well as consumers, embrace our country’s unique, high-quality wines that reflect a rich history, as well as modern innovation.”

The 2023 Wines of Georgia campaign kicked off at Vinexpo America in New York on March 8-9, where 26 Georgian wine companies promoted their products with the support of the National Wine Agency. The event saw record attendance, with a 28% year-over-year increase in attendees, to the benefit of the participating Georgian wine producers, who contributed to growing the awareness for the category and gained insights on the US market by meeting with trade and press. During the exhibition, the National Wine Agency conducted interviews with key media to support the campaign’s ongoing press relations efforts.

Also in March, Wines of Georgia launched the Georgian Wine Certification program, in partnership with the Napa Valley Wine Academy, the first of its kind in the US, available to media, wine trade and wine-loving consumers. Endorsed by the National Wine Agency, the three-hour course features seven learning modules on Georgia and its wines, along with a final quiz that gives users access, once passed, to a Georgian wine certificate. The course provides a thorough understanding of the wines of the country of Georgia through lessons on history, culture, culinary traditions, various regions and terroir, winemaking methods, and the exciting range of indigenous varieties and styles. Registration for the program can be accessed on the Wine Certification Program page on the Wines of Georgia website.

Wines of Georgia once again worked in partnership with GuildSomm, the nonprofit international membership organization for wine professionals, to sponsor two masterclasses in Chicago and Boston, two of the most dynamic markets in the United States, in May. The masterclasses, hosted by Chris Tanghe, Master Sommelier, were attended by 60 influential members of the trade and showcased 18 imported Georgian wines from different producers.

During 2023, Wines of Georgia participated in two events in partnership with the Embassy of Georgia to the United States of America, where the campaign had dedicated pouring booths during walkaround tastings. The first was a gala reception for the Independence Day of Georgia on May 23, held at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. On October 26, the second event celebrating Georgia’s National Wine Day took place at the Embassy of Georgia in Washington DC. Both events were well-attended by hundreds of guests, including senior members of the US Government, Congress, academia, think tanks, the private sector and the Georgian community in the US. 

With the goal of cultivating deeper ties with the US wine trade sector, Wines of Georgia coordinated two trips in 2023, one for importers and the other for wine retailers, to explore the county’s wines as well as the culture and traditions of the region, and directly connect key members of the trade with the Georgian wine category. The first trip, focused on importers and their distributor partners, took place in July, and included a masterclass on Georgian wine with Master of Wine and Wines of Georgia Campaign Ambassador Christy Canterbury, as well as visits to wineries that are both imported and not yet imported into the US. The second trip, in September, brought retail wine buyers from across the US to take a deep dive into the region of Kakheti and the indigenous grape varieties of Georgia, with the aim of increasing awareness of the category and thereby increasing offerings on US shelves for the consumer. 

For the second year in a row, Wines of Georgia participated in the TEXSOM Conference in August to showcase the country’s variety of styles and producers. During the event, Wines of Georgia sponsored a lunch and two tables during the grand tasting, featuring wines from Askaneli, Château Mukhrani, Georgian Wines & Spirits Company, JSC Telavi Wine Cellar, Lopota LLC, Mtsvane Estate, Schuchmann Wines Georgia LTD, Shilda Winery, Tbilvino and Vaziani Company LLC. 

From August through October 2023, Wines of Georgia organized a retail promotion for Georgian wines at leading retail shops in priority markets on the East Coast. The program included 50 in-store tastings in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts, and provided creative sales materials, staff education, staff incentives and wine promotions for the Georgian wine category. 

In late September, Wines of Georgia executed a successful Grand Tasting and Masterclass event, the first of its kind for Georgia in the US, which took place in New York City at Manhatta. The exceptional industry event showcased the best of Georgia, featuring over 100 wines from 21 importers and wineries, and attracted over 200 trade and media professionals, who had the opportunity to discover the wide variety of styles, from traditional to international, and including reds, whites, rosés and sparkling wines. The event included an engaging educational seminar hosted by Wines of Georgia Ambassador Chris Struck, as well as a masterclass, led by Wines of Georgia Ambassador Christy Canterbury MW, on “The Spectrum of Amber Wines,” based on an instructional guide describing the three basic categories of Georgian amber wines by noted sommelier and educator, Lasha Tsatava, DipWSET. During the event, attendees were able to connect directly with the importers and producers present and learn more about the country’s ancient wine history and culture, regions and terroirs, and the growth of Georgians wine in the US.  

Closing out a busy year of activities, Wines of Georgia participated in the sixth edition of Ghvino Forum, a series of events created to further advance the understanding of the 8,000-year-old origin of wine, which took place at the University of Texas, Austin, on November 14 and at Rice University in Houston on November 16, and was attended by scientists, economists, trade, and wine professionals. At the conference, Tamta Kvelaidze, Head of Marketing & PR at the Georgian National Wine Agency, moderated a panel on the marketing potential of Georgian wine in the US, sharing information on the state of the Georgian wine industry, and the agency’s vision for its development.

“This year’s Wines of Georgia campaign in the United States has been very successful, building on the momentum of the growth of the Georgian wine category,” said Levan Mekhuzla, Chairman of the Georgian National Wine Agency. “Engaging with and educating key members of the press and trade has continued to bring awareness to our country’s rich 8,000-year winemaking history, tradition and culture, as well as modern innovations in the industry, illustrating the quality of the wines and continuing the excellent growth in exports and sales in the US.” 

About Wines of Georgia  http://www.winesgeorgia.com

Wines of Georgia is a promotional campaign financed by the National Wine Agency of Georgia and wineries to educate the US wine trade and general public about the history, culture, quality and universal appeal of Georgian wines and the country’s qvevri winemaking tradition.

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