By Leman Mammadova
Increasing local wine exports further promotes Azerbaijani products abroad as well as strengthens the non-oil sector in the county's economy.
Aspi Agro LLC producing wine in Azerbaijan’s Gabala city intends to export its products to more countries, Aygun Atayeva, Chief Sales Manager, told Trend.
"Presently, the company’s products are sold domestically and exported to the EU countries," she said. "The products under Savalan brand are supplied to several European countries and our goal is to further popularize Azerbaijani products to promote the Made in Azerbaijan brand on the European continent."
Atayeva added that the company needs the state support for more sustainable propaganda of its wine outside the country.
The chief sales manager stressed that presently, small volumes are supplied to Europe, but these supplies are stable.
"Every year the company produces a million bottles of wine, while a certain part of this volume accounts for export to Europe," Atayeva said.
Established in 2007, Aspi Agro LLC uses the experience of Italian specialists in the wine production. Modern Italian equipment produced by Della-Toffola company is used in the company.
Winery occupies one of the most important places in the food industry of Azerbaijan. The country is famous for its high quality grape varieties. The five major wine-growing regions of Azerbaijan are Shamakhi, Ismayilli, Gabala, Ganja and Tovuz. Local grape varieties include White Shani, Derbendi, Nail, Bayan Shirey, Gamashara, Ganja Pink, Bendi, Madrasa, Black Shani, Zeynabi, Misgali, Khindogni, Agdam Kechiamjayi, Tebrizi and Marandi.
The share of Azerbaijan in the wine production in the former Soviet Union was always high. Nevertheless, the Anti-Alcohol Campaign in 1985 caused the destruction of the vineyards of more than 130,000 hectares in Azerbaijan. One of the first steps towards the restoration of vineyards and winemaking in the country was the Law on Winemaking adopted in 2001.
To ensure sustainable development of winemaking in the country, increase the interest in wine production and exports, the State Program on the development of wine growing in 2018-2025 was approved in May 2018, which will facilitate the development of wine tourism and increase loans allocated to the wine industry in Azerbaijan. The State Program envisages that the export of wine from Azerbaijan should increase fivefold by 2025.
Azerbaijan plans to develop the first wine tourist route in the history of the country by mid-2019. A new highly specialized tourist route will pass through the wineries of the Absheron, Ismayilli, Shirvan, Gabala, Sheki and Goygol regions.
Tourism experts intend to pave the route in such a way that within a few days, foreigners would be taken from one region to another, giving them the opportunity to visit wineries where the legendary Azerbaijani alcoholic beverages are produced. In addition, tourists will get the opportunity to personally taste wine drinks. Azerbaijan also intends to connect it with the famous Georgian wine route, paving the way for tourists from Sheki to Kakheti, a Georgian region.
Currently, about 40 winemaking enterprises operate in Azerbaijan producing natural wine, sparkling wine, liqueur, brandy, vodka, ethyl alcohol, cognac, etc. Most of producers target Russian and European markets as well as new markets for Azerbaijani wine, such as China.
In addition, Azerbaijani wine houses operate in foreign countries to promote national brands and their export. The first wine house of Azerbaijan was opened in China in 2018.
Recently, local wine products have been featured at Prowein 2019 international exhibition in Germany, the world's leading trade fair for wine and spirits. As a result of the discussions, Absheron Wine Company has already reached a preliminary agreement on exporting its products to Germany. Moreover, Naiqin Co-Tovuz Baltiya and Aspi Agro companies held talks on exporting their products to Germany, France and the Netherlands, while Sharg Ulduzu and Agro-Azerinvest - to Norway, Germany and China.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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