Sarajishvili family museum reopens in eastern Georgia

The ceremony for reopening the renovated museum was held in village Bakurtsikhe on Sunday. Photo from the Prime Minister of Georgia's press office., 14 Nov 2016 - 18:29, Tbilisi,Georgia

Visitors travelling to Georgia's eastern Kakheti region are welcomed to stay at a freshly renovated historical complex that celebrates a well-known Georgian family's age-old legacy of winemaking.

On Sunday a special ceremony unveiled the renovated Museum of the Sarajishvili Family in Bakurtsikhe village.

Located eight kilometres outside Gurjaani township, the new Museum was once the home of winemaker and public figure David Sarajishvili (1848-1911), who was regarded as a pioneer of cognac brandy production in Georgia. 

A century-old Russian advertisement for Caucasian Cognac produced by Sarajishvili is kept at the museum. Photo from the Prime Minister of Georgia's press office.

The facility fell into a state of disrepair following decades of neglect but was revitalised after a major restoration of the residence as well as adjacent cellar, hotel and storage complex. 

The works were carried out by the Black Sea Group, under the supervision of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia, who ensured the site kept its original historical appearance.

Following the 700,000 GEL (about $280,000/€258,000*) renovation project, 150 jobs were created at the complex, mostly for locals.

The renovation resulted in the opening of a new, small hotel at the museum complex. Photo from the Prime Minister of Georgia's press office.

In addition, the opening ceremony on Sunday revealed a new 12-room hotel designed to host travellers who visit the Museum.

The high-profile opening ceremony involved Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili, dignitaries and the media.

Kvirikashvili addressed the gathered audience by noting the restored venue would now become a central part of a new sprawling network of small hotels and vineyards in Bakurtsikhe village.

He also welcomed the Museum's successful renovation and stressed the importance of the complex as "a place where the history of Georgian cognac production began".

Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili visits the alcohol cellar at the museum. Photo from the Prime Minister of Georgia's press office.

Meanwhile also on Sunday PM Kvirikashvili also visited a new alcohol distillery plant belonging to Sarajishvili alcohol company, located about 50km northwest of Bakurtsikhe in Gremi village.

Established within the Government's Preferential Agro Credit Project, the Sarajishvili distillery featured the most advanced technology for alcohol distillation in Georgia and was expected to produce 500,000 litres of alcohol annually.

Founded in 1884, Sarajishvili is a recognised alcohol brand with rich tradition of producing Georgian-made spirits including its well-known branded cognac.

The company was established by David Sarajishvili, who studied the production of cognac brandy in France before becoming a pioneer of cognac production in Georgia.

During the Soviet regime the company was taken over by state authorities and renamed 'Tbilisi Cognac Factory' before it was re-acquired by private owners in 1994 after the collapse of the Soviet Union and became known by its original title 'Sarajishvili'.

* Currency rates are equivalent with today's National Bank of Georgia exchange rate.