“Wine tourism in Georgia is a journey back to the future!”
13. December 2016
On the initiative of German Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the place branding initiative “Germany – Land of Ideas” has since 2015 carried out an exchange of expertise with Georgia on nation branding in order to support Georgia in its location marketing initiatives and positioning on the German market. At the centre of this year’s exchange of expertise were the fields of “wine business” and “tourism”, key areas for Georgia’s nation branding and reputation. A high-ranking Georgian delegation travelled to the wine region of Franconia to attend workshops in order to exchange ideas about positioning strategies and meet German players to discuss future cooperation. Building on the results of the workshop in Franconia, the Georgian wine tourism players developed an exemplary travel route and invited the wine blogger Batin Mumcu to Georgia. The Berlin-based sommelier, who publishes on his blog http://www.berlinerweinpilot.de, discussed his blogger journey in an interview.
Mr. Mumcu, you spent a week in Georgia touring the wine regions. What were your expectations before the trip and what are your impressions of the country now?
Although viticulture originated in the Caucasus around 8,000 years ago, wine from Georgia unfortunately still plays only a subordinate role on the world’s wine shelves. I was very excited to become acquainted with the cradle of wine right at its source. I was very impressed by the high social status of natural wine – ecological wines for which no sulphur or chemical fertilizers are used. In Europe, natural wines are currently a controversial, fashionable topic and not exactly inexpensive. In Georgia, they are traditionally produced in “qvevri” (clay vessels) and sold for relatively little money. Often there are only a few hundred or a maximum of a thousand bottles, which are manufactured by private people with modest means and high sustainability standards. From a German perspective, Georgia is going “back to the future” with its viticulture, which I find extremely exciting!
What is special about wine tourism in Georgia?
Wine tourism as it is known from Italy, for instance, does not exist in this dimension yet, which I find very pleasant. The vintners’ and wine producers’ main concern is not to sell their products; the focus is on cooperation. Exchange and discussions about wine and wine culture are always paramount. Particularly when it comes to Schuchmann wines or Chateau Mokhrani, their keys are hospitality, authenticity, and the great attention to detail in production and in terms of quality, which can be experienced and tasted.
For which target group do you think the country is best suited?
Georgia has something for all age groups and interest groups. For young people, the proximity to the sea and mountainous regions are very exciting. For older people, there are countless walking trails, archaeological sites, museums, and galleries. But what unites and delights all interest groups is the incredibly large viticultural offer. I was surprised to meet many young people from Europe who had travelled to Georgia as wine tourists. But after all, the value for money there is truly unbeatable. Georgia could become a trendy culinary holiday destination for both young and old explorers.
Batin Mumcu’s in-depth travel report can be found at http://www.berlinerweinpilot.de/georgien