By Aygul Salmanova
Wine, for every taste, is not just another alcoholic drink, as it is often called the nectar of Gods, which has been around for thousands of years, being probably the oldest known alcoholic drink.
Azerbaijani wine, with its unique distinction, delicate aroma and velvety taste, is becoming more and more popular in international markets.
Today, the wine industry is a promising segment of the national economy. The country is actively engaged in the development of viticulture and winemaking.
This year the country is experiencing an upward trend of 17 percent in the development of wine production compared to the previous year, Executive Director of Azerbaijan Wine Producers and Exporters Association Ilham Idayatov told Azernews.
Export of Azerbaijani wine to foreign markets has a positive impact on the economy of the country, the expert noted.
“Some 190.000 decalitres of wine amounting $3,5 million were exported to foreign markets in 2016. For the first six month of 2017, however, this amount has increased by 13 percent,” he said.
He noted that from 38 alcohol producing companies operating in the country, 23 are engaged only with wine production. Idayatov added that while 20 of these alcohol producing companies are export oriented, the remaining 18 are supplying the internal market. The Association cooperates with all the existing companies in the country, he said.
The expert noted that some local companies import different substances necessary for stabilization of wine and it compliance with international standards from such countries as Austria, Germany and France. With addition of these substances, wine producers fulfill all standardization requirements, which, in turn, have a positive impact on export of the domestic wine product abroad.
Currently the country is exporting its wine products to Russia, China, Turkey, Korea, France, Ukraine, Germany, Japan, Belarus, Georgia.
Some 85 percent of Azerbaijani wine is exported to Russia, while China imports 8 percent of the total amount of wine produced in the country. The remaining 7 percent is shared by Turkey, Korea, France, Ukraine, Germany, and Japan.
One of the main reasons why China, the world's second-largest economy, has recently become one of the most popular destinations for exporting Azerbaijani wine is the great demand in the country for all sorts of wine and its huge market, according to Idayatov.
In addition, the payment procedures with China are facilitated and carried out faster than with any other country, he said.
As one of the main wine producers in the Caspian Sea region, Azerbaijan also plans to open a wine house in China, within the promotion of its brand. The relevant agreement was reached by the national export mission in Shanghai, organized by Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) with the support of the Ministry of Economy to promote the country’s brand.
The expert also noted that previously the Soviet Azerbaijani wine was exported abroad as raw material. Now however, the country exports its products under ‘Made in Azerbaijan’ brand.
Idayatov notes that for now the country has no considerable impact in world wine market but as wine industry develops, Azerbaijan will take its place in the world as a wine producing country.
The expert said that currently there are four wine producing companies that have a direct access to European markets.
Some raw material wine products are also produced in the country, about 70 percent of which is exported to foreign countries and there they are manufactured as Azerbaijani products, Idayatov added.
He noted that there is no high demand for wine inside the country as people prefer other alcohol drinks, most of all, vodka.
Being the Senior Technologist in Spult wine company, Idayatov said that the company delivers seminars and trainings where people are told about the benefits of wine and advised to buy alcohol drinks from official distributors only.
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