Georgian Wine and Water Will Return - When Quality is Assured
Federal Consumer Rights Oversight Service head Gennady Onishchenko told Interfax on Friday that Georgian mineral water (predominantly Borjomi) and wines can return to the Russian marketplace when proof of quality is there. "The principle is the same: you can return after you prove quality is there," said Onishchenko, who doubles as Russia's chief epidemiologist.
Of course, this issue is clearly political as there is virtually no quality control being enforced on any other bottled-water or wine products in Russia. There is also no explanation of what measures must be undertaken to prove the quality of the Georgian products. I'll call this - selective enforcement of the laws.
Given the state of much of Russia's drinking water, if the government really enforced water quality standards, many people would have no water to drink. There are just certain cities in Russia where you don't drink the tap-water without boiling it first (this is even with consideration for the Russian habit of drinking boiled water regardless of quality).
As Katja drinks Borjomi daily for her stomach problems, this is an issue closer to home for us. If for nothing else, she is thankful for being in the US these days simply because we can special order Borjomi from Russiantable.com for $1.75 for a 1-liter bottle.
There is no doubt that there are fake bottled water products and fake wine products on the shelves of Russian stores. But it isn't exclusively a Georgian problem, regardless of what Onishchenko and the Russian government might say.
In the end, perhaps it is a good thing for Georgia and Borjomi. It forces them to bring their water to European and American markets where it can compete with Perrier and San Pellegrino in the premium mineral water marketplace.