ArmInfo. What is happening in Upper Lars, where over 60 trucks of Armenian brandy producers have accumulated over the course of 3-4 months, is the result of an erroneous policy led by the state over the past 15-20 years. A similar opinion was expressed in a conversation with an ArmInfo correspondent by Avag Harutyunyan, Chairman of Union of Winemakers of Armenia (UWA).
He said that the accumulation of trucks on Upper Lars is due to two reasons. Firstly, and this is the main one, by tightening the requirements for the quality of alcoholic products sent to the Russian market. And secondly, because Armenia is becoming an unfriendly country for Russia.
Nevertheless, as Harutyunyan noted, the Russian side explains what is happening with new regulations. "They take a sample of the product produced by one or another manufacturer for laboratory testing, the results of which cannot be disputed. This may take several months," he said, noting that the regulatory standards of the EAEU do not have any significance in this situation.
In the current situation, the head of the Union of Winemakers considers it right to draw the attention of producers to the quality of their products. In this case, in his opinion, the state has no loopholes for intervention. In this regard, Harutyunyan complained about the wrong policy that the state had been pursuing for many years. Instead of stimulating high-quality production of alcoholic beverages, the government constantly makes decisions to subsidize producers, including the purchase of grapes, which allows these producers to produce inexpensive, low-quality products, which are sold on export markets, often at a price below cost.
Referring to available information, Harutyunyan said that the Russian side will soon apply similar regulations to Armenian wine. He noted that Armenia is diversifying its wine export markets every year, reducing the share of the Russian market, but producers first of all need to think about improving the quality of their products.
According to the data of the RA Customs Service, the main market of Armenian wine is traditionally the Russian one, the share of which in 2021 was 58.4%. In 2022 the share of exported Armenian wine to the Russian market increased to 78.8%.
The United States follows with a large margin: 6.1% (compared to 9.3% in 2021), Belarus - 1.4%, Israel - 1.2%, France - more than 1%, Ukraine - 1%, Switzerland: 0.8%. In 2018-2022, brandy exports from Armenia increased by 85% - from 29.3 to 54.2 million liters. About 80% is supplied to the Russian market.
ArmInfo's attempts to call the Yerevan Ararat Brandy Factory and the Vine and Wine Foundation of Armenia for comments were unsuccessful. The Ministry of Economy asked for time to respond.