What is going on here?

I have drunk more unbottled wine than bottled wine since I’ve been in Georgia, and I’m guessing the same holds true for most people here. This man is running a plastic hose from his van, through a wooden, street-level, attic-type door, down into a basement restaurant. Through that hose flows the wine customers will enjoy this week.

If you are Georgian, you already know that Georgia is the oldest winemaking region in the world. Its wine tradition goes back 8,000 years, and more than 500 types of grapes are grown here. You probably also know that Russia stopped importing Georgian wine in 2006, for political reasons, and Georgia’s economy has probably lost $30-40 million because of the ban.

What you may not know is that Russia’s problem with alcoholism may, ironically, cause Russia to lift the ban. Why is high alcoholism related to high wine imports? Because at the end of September, Russia will forbid the sale of beverages with an alcohol content above 15 percent between 10:00 pm. and 10:00 a.m. That’s 12 hours without vodka, and 12 hours when wine and beer might become Russian’s favorite beverages. “Russia will allow importing our [Georgian] wines on equal terms with European and American products,” said Gennady Onishchenko, Russian public health chief (http://eastbook.eu/en/2011/08/topic-en/politics-en/georgia-30-08-2011-georgian-wine-back-in-russia/).

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About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

One Response to What is going on here?

  1. sasun says:

    Dear Mr Kenney, I would not even guess the “wine transferring process” would be a good topic for a blog post ))) Interesting!

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