How to invest in wine business in Georgia [2021 Foreigners Guide]

wine business in Georgia
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The republic of Georgia is the birthplace of wine which means it can offer you a lot of business opportunities connected to the vineyards and wine making. If you wish to make an investment – you chose the right country. As Georgia has a potential to produce high quality wine the number of wine-producing industries and wineries increases every year which helps the country to become more and more popular on an international wine market. All you have to do is – afford a piece of land and grape seeds and start growing your own vineyard and building your own winery in this beautiful country. Takes some time but definitely worth it as it is the most stable and appreciated business in here.

Buying a vineyard in Georgia

Before buying a vineyard in Georgia you should consider two things: you can buy it from a private person or from the Georgian government. But you have to take into account that Georgian government has set limits on selling lands to foreigners but if you are ready to set up your own LLC then it will work out. The quickest option to find the vineyard or just a piece of land for a business related to agriculture is to look for it on this website: buying vineyard in Georgia

A brief history of Georgian wine

The tradition of winemaking is quite ancient and the history of wine-producing counts more than 8000 thousand years. Georgian wine has always been famous but it had to go through tough times as well. During Soviet Union times wines produced in Georgia were very popular and its vineyards occupied large acres due to increasing demand but unfortunately due to a Russian politician’s anti-alcohol campaign in the 20th century many old Georgian vineyards were cut off and a lot of wine was lost. It took a long time for the Georgian wine to recover from such tragedy and a lot of effort was made for the development of this culture again. But today the country is already fighting for its place among the best wines of the world.

What is Qvevri?

The Georgian wines, both red and white, are always the part of Supra – this word stands for a feast. Wines were known to be made in a clay pot called Qvevri since ancient period and this tradition is still preserved in some regions, especially in the local families of Kakheti which is very close to the capital of Georgia – Tbilisi. This method of winemaking it is the part of old traditions and culture and in some cases is a family business at the same time. The Qvevris have become synonymous with Georgian culture and are a symbol of Georgian identity. The image of these clay pots is found consistently in Georgian architecture and art.

Qvevries – or clay pots – are always buried in the wine cellars – Marani as it’s called in Georgian – which are usually built below the ground level in order to keep the temperature cool inside. Not to forget to mention – there are two methods of wine producing – in Qvevri and in a barrel. Qvevri wine is more valued than the wine which is produced in barrels and it has its own unique taste with the clay flavor.

How is Qvevri wine made?

In the end of September or in the beginning of October harvest begins. Georgians press the grapes without even washing them and they do not separate grape juice from its skins and seeds. It’s the Kakhetian style of wine-making using skin contact and the wine is called skin-contact or skin-fermented wine because of that. All together goes inside the Qvevri for the fermentation and the boiling process begins. It takes a period of about 6 months until the leftovers – skins and seeds – sink down to the bottom. After about a year it’s time for bottling the wine and making it as old as possible.

While traditional methodology is used widespread for the production of authentic wines, European style of winemaking is also employed, pending on varietals and blends, their respective regions, and the desired quantity of output

Kinds of Georgian wine

There are more than 500 varieties of grapes. What you need to know is that there are two types of wine Georgians make out of these grapes – organic or natural and industrial. Organic wines are more appreciated as they are made naturally, without any additional chemicals. While in Georgia you can taste dry, semi-dry, sweet, semi-sweet wine. The most famous ones are: Saperavi, Mtsvane, Rkatsiteli, Kisi, Kindzmarauli, Tavkveri, Mukuzani, Khikhvi, Tvishi, Khvanchkara, Usakhelouri, Ojaleshi, Chinuri, Muskati and Krakhuna. Wines are always picked carefully to be paired with specific dishes. You can definitely find the one which matches your taste and your food as well, because there is such a long list of varieties and flavors.

Wine regions of Georgia

There are 7 main regions in Georgia where you can set up your vineyard. These are: Kakheti, Kartli, Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi, Adjara, Guria and Samegrelo. The types of grapes vary from region to region. You will find different kinds of wine in these regions due to Georgia’s climate zones. But the most well-known wine region is eastern side of the country – Kakheti, where most of the vineyards are located and the most famous wines are produced. But we should also mention the western part where the wines called Tsitska and Tsolikouri are produced due to different grape types which do not grow in the east of Georgia.

The competition between wine businesses in Georgia

There are over one thousand wineries in Georgia, therefore it means that wine competition between these wineries is a real thing, especially when it comes to the one specific region. For example, Kakheti which is officially the wine region has the largest number of vineyards and wineries which are located very near to each other. Though it’s believed the real competition is on the international market where Georgian wine is trying to find its place among the world’s best wines.

Wine trade in Georgia and on the international market

Georgia is the country which exports more wine instead of having it for itself. This production is more oriented on being exported rather than being used in the country. Of course, Georgian people drink wine but we should not forget to mention that foreign tourists are the main consumers that come to visit this country every year for especially wine-tastings and that plays a big role in making Georgian wine more and more popular on the international market. Even Forbes, which is one of the most famous media companies, named Georgian wine among the best wines of 2020.

The percentage of exported wine is becoming higher from year to year and that evidently helps the country to build a stronger economy as the income is really huge.

The strategic partners of Georgia on the wine market are mainly Poland, China, United States, Great Britain and Russia.

What do you need to know before starting selling wine in Georgia and exporting it to the other countries?

You need to be registered on www.georgianwine.gov.ge which is the national agency of wine and afterwards register your wines as well. To be able to export your wines you must have a certificate which is given by a wine laboratory. If your wines do not match required standards then it can’t be sold nor in Georgia nor abroad. It’s like having a driving license – you aren’t allowed to sell wine unless you have a permission.

Do you need an experience or education before starting the wine business in Georgia?

As the country is homeland of wine almost every Georgian man knows how to produce it from his early age but not many of them have higher education in this field because it isn’t even needed here. You don’t have to study in a college or be experienced – knowledge comes with practice, that’s how most of the Georgian winemakers learnt winemaking techniques and were able to get a license to perform on markets.

Conclusion

Georgia offers you a wide range of opportunities and gives you an option to try different kinds of businesses. The most important thing is that the country is cheap and everything is easily affordable. So, if you are thinking about investing in an agricultural industry then you should definitely try investing in wine business in Georgia. Read more about doing business in Georgia 

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