A trademark hang-up is complicating Georgia’s efforts to break into the American $30-billion-per-year wine market.
Wine is one of Georgia’s chief exports, with over 14.8 million bottles shipped abroad in 2010. A Russian embargo, imposed in 2006, closed off Georgia’s main export destination for wine, forcing Tbilisi to cultivate new markets. It has proven slow going for Tbilisi.
The Georgian government applied earlier this year to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for trademarks on 18 Georgian wines. But Georgian officials were chagrined to find that two of the country’s most popular types of wine -- Khvanchkara and Kindzmarauli –were already trademarked, with the distribution rights belonging to an Elizabeth, New Jersey,-based company, Dozortsev & Sons. In the case of Khvanchkara -- a semi-sweet, ruby-red wine made with grapes from the remote Georgian mountain regions of Racha and Svaneti – the company’s rights do not expire until 2016.
To read the full story
Nino Patsuria is a freelance business reporter based in Tbilisi.