The average price of cooking one Imeretian khachapuri currently stands at 3.43 GEL. Compared to the previous month (August 2016) the Khachapuri Index gained 8.6%, however in yearly terms (compared to September 2015), the Index dropped 0.8%.
With the milk supply dwindling for seasonal reasons, cheese prices are on the rise in all Georgian cities. Interestingly, however, the highest monthly increase (27.7%) in the price of Imeretian cheese was recorded in Telavi, the capital of Georgia’s main wine-producing region, Kakheti. Moreover, cheese prices in Telavi are up not only month-on-month but also compared to last year’s September (by 4.9%). At 7.66 GEL per kg, Telavi is currently the most expensive place for Georgian cheese lovers, ahead of Kutaisi, Batumi, and Tbilisi.
What can explain Telavi’s surge in the Khachapuri Index? September is a very special month for Georgia as it is a time of grape harvest (“Rtveli”) and of young wine (and cheese, and khachapuri!) festivals throughout the country’s agricultural regions.
In Kakheti, Rtveli celebrations start at the end of August and go on for several weeks, providing a boost for weekends and international tourism. With the Black Sea coastal areas losing in attractiveness at this time of the year, tourist flows shift from Batumi to Telavi, Tsinandali, Sighnaghi, and other picturesque villages and small towns in the Alazani valley. The September boom in wine tourism is also helped by the sharp increase in international tourism (up 34% up, year-on-year).