The police raided the factory located in the village of Zemo Khodasheni in Kakhetia, inspecting wine cisterns. At least three of them proved to contain fake wine; they were emptied on the ground and a lawsuit was initiated.
Deputy agriculture minister Bakur Kvezereli arrived in the vicinity along with other ministry officials who came to seal off the factory; Georgia’s agriculture minister Petr Tsiskarishvili is expected to make an official statement in this connection soon.
It is worth noting that the Zemo Khodasheni winery was opened as recently as October 25, 2006. President Mikhail Saakashvili closely attended to its work.
The state-of-the-art winery produces 3 million bottles a year. Its construction required an investment of $12 million, and its products are to be distributed in China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine under the agreements reached. Distribution in several other countries is negotiated, too.
As for Badagoni, the company’s spokesperson dismissed the financial police’s actions as provocation, saying that its factories make only quality wines which undergo multiple quality inspections, including in the European labs.
The joint venture Badagoni, earlier known as the “Winery Knight,” was set up four years ago. Its wineries produce up to 20 different kinds of wine, including popular traditional brands like Tsinandali, Gurdjaani, Vazisubani, Saperavi, Mukuzani, Alaznis Veli, Kindzmarauli, and Akhasheni, the Novosti-Gruzia News Agency reports.
In 2003, the company put on a new brand, Soso Pavliashvili. In 2006, it started producing an exclusive wine brand, Kakhetian Noble, in cooperation with Italian enologist Donato Panatti.
Let us remind that Russia’s Sanitary and Epidemiological Control Agency barred Georgian wine sales in Russia this past spring, because a lot of counterfeit, low-quality wine was discovered in Georgian shipments.
This decision triggered off a landslide of criticism at Moscow, as top Georgian officials were convinced that Moscow imposed the wine import ban for political reasons.