Saakashvili Toasts Georgia's "Freedom Wine"
This one could not have missed any tamada’s radar: “[Georgian wine] is truly a freedom wine, a freedom drink,” Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili declared at a June 21 opening of the International Vine and Wine Congress in Tbilisi. “It is the symbol of Georgia’s resilience and survival,” he went on, referring to Moscow’s ban on imports of Georgian wine to its onetime main market, Russia.
By doing the unspeakable -- refusing to drink Georgian wine -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hoped Georgia’s heavily agricultural economy would go to seed, but the Russian prohibition turned out to be a blessing in disguise, Saakashvili argued. While Georgian wine is still consumed in Russia, Georgian winemakers have found new outlets, and have diversified and improved quality, he claimed.
The moral of this tale? The grapes of Moscow’s wrath can make for a good Georgian wine.