Reviving Georgia’s Wine Industry focuses on efforts to respond to an unexpected Russian embargo on Georgian wine in 2006. In particular, it focuses on the head of the National Wine Agency, Vasil Managadze, as he considers how the Georgian government can support winemakers as they cope with the loss of their largest export market. Managadze and his colleagues believe they have two broad options: seek to reopen the Russian market or develop new export markets to fill the vacuum.
At the time of the case, Russo-Georgian relations are fraught and it is widely believed that the embargo is an effort by Moscow to punish Tbilisi for its courtship of the West. This international political dimension, combined with wine cultural importance in Georgia, means that dealing with the wine ban is not just a matter of economics. There are two primary objectives to this case. First, it aims to make students think about comparative advantage and the mechanics of trade. Second, it seeks to encourage students to think about the importance of both domestic and international politics in trade policy. Through this case, students should see that there is more to developing trade policy than abstract economic theory; politics always plays a role.