Georgian Agriculture Minister Says Confident in Wine Quality

TBILISI, March 2 (RIA Novosti) – Georgia’s Agriculture Minister Davit Kirvalidze said on Saturday he is confident that Georgian wine which is expected to return to the Russian market this spring will be of best quality.

“I can see no danger in this. Georgian wine exports will have the same certificates as they do have today for 40 world markets. I see another danger: unfortunately, the wines may be falsified outside Georgia’s borders. That’s why we are working on this issue,” Kirvalidze told Rustavi 2 TV.

He said Georgia’s agriculture ministry has its own proposals on the measures against falsified Georgian products.

Russia banned imports of Georgian wines and two popular brands of mineral water in 2006, citing poor quality of the products, in a move widely condemned in Georgia as politically motivated.

Russia’s consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said earlier this week it was ready to start talks with Georgian business on resolving the question of allowing Georgian wine and mineral water to be sold in Russia again, following a visit to Georgia by Russian specialists.

Russian chief consumers’ rights official Gennady Onishchenko said on Saturday Rospotrebnadzor will decide this week which Georgian enterprises producing wine and mineral water will be visited by Russian specialists during the second round of inspection.

The first round of inspection was held between February 25 and March 1. Three groups of expects from Rospotrebnadzor conducted checks at more than 40 Georgian enterprises seeking return on the Russian market.

Onishchenko said some 90 Georgian enterprises have announced plans to export their products to Russia.

Earlier this week, President Mikheil Saakashvili publicly questioned the reasons behind Russian experts’ presence in Georgia.

“A Russian official wants two kopeks [the Russian equivalent of a penny] in the pocket to leave satisfied. Do you really think they arrived here to monitor chemicals in our wine?” the Georgia Online portal quoted Saakashvili as saying.

Onishchenko said that such statements insult Russian specialists, who could be withdrawn at any moment.


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