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Wines of Georgia Reports Continued Export Growth, Led by Indigenous Grape Variety, Saperavi 

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Promotions and activations focused on one of the world’s oldest wines supports Georgian category growth in the US

New York, NY, May 22, 2024 – The value of US exports of Georgian wine has seen significant growth over the last several years, increasing 6% in 2023, according to Wines of Georgia, the organization that represents and promotes the wines and wineries of the country of Georgia, and the National Wine Agency of Georgia, the legal entity of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia that finances the US program. One of the native grape varieties leading the Georgian wine export growth is Saperavi, the most-planted red grape in the country. A surge in overall interest for the category among US consumers has catalyzed a series of promotions and events in the focus market dedicated to the ancient grape variety, which accounts for 33% of the wine produced in Georgia as the country’s most prominent red grape variety.

Earlier this month, Wine Enthusiast published a feature dedicated to the indigenous Georgian grape that produces some of the region’s most well-known wines, Saperavi: A Noble, World-Class Grape Variety. The editorial promotion provided a deep dive into the history, key characteristics, and growing interest in the variety, including how Saperavi represents the more than 8,000 years of winemaking tradition in its native Georgia. A rare teinturier grape variety with both red flesh and skin, Saperavi, meaning “to paint or dye,” produces deep-colored wines that boast bold, concentrated flavor, crisp acidity, firm tannins, and are celebrated for their age-worthiness. Originating in the Kakheti region of eastern Georgia, Saperavi is now grown throughout the entire country’s wine-growing regions to create rosé, dry, semi-sweet, sweet and fortified wines. While frequently made as a varietal wine, Saperavi is highly versatile and also blends well with other native Georgian varieties, as well as European varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah, and can be vinified and aged in qvevri, stainless steel tanks, or barrels to create a wide range of expressions.

Tamta Kvelaidze, Head of Marketing & PR at the Georgian National Wine Agency, says, “We are excited to witness the continued growth in Georgian wine exports in the US, as seen in an increase in the value of our wines in this priority market. Our goal is to provide US consumers with new opportunities to engage with the Georgian wine category, and aim to achieve this through dynamic, educational marketing initiatives and events, including those focused on Saperavi, one of our country’s largest wine exports to the US.” 

While Saperavi remains most prominent in Georgia, the grape has spread to other regions in Eastern Europe, as well as in New World wine regions, where Saperavi cultivars are also being grown, most notably in the Finger Lakes region of New York. With this, American wine consumers’ rising interest in the variety is evidenced by the Third Annual Saperavi Festival taking place on June 8 in the Finger Lakes. Organized by Saperica Inc., the event will be held at the Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery in Hammondsport, NY, one of the first wineries to plant Saperavi in America. The festival brings together producers of native Georgian varieties from Georgia, the Finger Lakes region, and around the world, with tastings and authentic Georgian cuisine from Chama Mama restaurant in NYC. Educational seminars will also be held for trade and media. 

Lasha Tsatava, Co-Founder of Saperica and organizer of the event, says, “In the next five years, we envision the Saperavi grape, originating from Georgia, becoming more synonymous with the Finger Lakes, much like Riesling did, creating an identity and curiosity that will captivate red wine lovers far and beyond the region!”

To learn more about the Saperavi Festival and register for the immersive experience, visit the festival’s Eventbrite page. For more information on Saperavi and Georgian wine, visit the Wines of Georgia website and follow on social media on InstagramX and Facebook.

About Wines of Georgia

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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