Wine lovers in France got a taste of Georgian wine at several exhibitions this week, where qvevri-made wines highlighted the variety and breadth of Georgian wine-making traditions.
Sommeliers and wine enthusiasts in Toulouse, Lyon, Blois, Angers and Saumur sampled wine from Georgian wine companies Nikoladze Cellar, Antadze Cellar, Pheasant's Tears, Okro's Wines, Iago's Wine and Kortavebi Wine Cellar.
All Georgian wines on display were made in qvevri – a large, Georgian winemaking vessel. Qvevri wine-making is an ancient Georgian tradition that has been passed down by generations that remains widespread around Georgia even today. This traditional winemaking method has been included by UNESCO in its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Head of the Georgian National Wine Agency Giorgi Samanishvili believes such events help raise awareness of Georgian wine and gain a following among French consumers.
Georgia exports qvevri-made wine to various destinations, though it is mostly appreciated in traditional wine consumer countries such as France and Italy. Qvevri wine is a kind of a business card for us to make Georgian wine more famous. By showcasing qvevri wine at French exhibitions, it is becoming more popular in the international market”, said Samanishvili.
Georgian winemakers say such events help them promote their wines abroad. Georgian wine-maker Iago Bitarishvili, who participated in this year’s events, noted the interest towards qvevri wine has been growing year after year.
Interest towards qvevri wine this year was even greater, especially at the wine tasting events in Toulouse and Lyon. In this southern part of France, qvevri wine is successfully sold and these events will promote a further growth in the publicity of our wine”, Bitarishvili said.
France, a country with its own long-standing traditions of wine-production and viticulture, has increased imports of Georgian wine in recent years.
Georgia exported 36,000 bottles of wine to France last year, while this year, nearly 13,000 bottles of Georgian wine have already been exported to France, said the Georgian National Wine Agency.