Taste of Georgia is a wine import company bringing a taste of Georgia to Ireland.
Hi, my name is Vakhtang Abdaladze and I am a graduate of DCU business Studies BSc 2017. I was born in Georgia but moved to Ireland at a very young age. Having played for Ireland u20 internationally and Leinster for the entirety of my professional career, I have always been proud of being raised in Ireland. Bringing the Irish and Georgian cultures together is the reason why myself and fellow DCU graduate, John Clarke, created Taste of Georgia.
I absolutely loved my time at DCU. A lot happened in the classroom, but most of my happiest memories were made outside the business school building. Since graduating I have gone on and become a professional rugby player. Playing for Leinster was always a dream of mine and throughout the years there have been a lot of ups and downs. John currently works at Microsoft as a Technical Specialist on the Sales and Marketing side of things so we each have our strengths going into this venture.
In the most recent period of injury, I started to look outside of rugby and try to imagine life without it. This was the start of building a business with John. John and I met at DCU, both studying Business Studies. Having worked on almost every assignment possible together we knew we worked well together. In our current roles within Taste of Georgia, I would focus on logistics and business planning while John mainly focuses on outreach to customers and branding of the company.
We decided to set up the company at the height of the pandemic which at the time seemed like a good idea. Trying to sort suppliers, transport, and customers as well as tastings and meetings with sommeliers proved near impossible. Trying to plan for such events in between harsh lockdowns constantly set us back but eventually, we rode it out. With what seems like the world reopening all the above-mentioned problems seem relatively simple to organise and we are finally open for business.
Getting our first customer at the beginning of the year meant so much to us as it seemed like all the hard work paid off. Gaining traction off that we are loving bringing the Georgian and Irish cultures together. Apart from wine, Georgia has the beautiful Cuisine that it offers, and it’s something we are looking at expanding to in the future. The winery all has their story to tell Tsinandali Estate it is known as the cradle of classical winemaking in Georgia, the place where Georgian wine was first bottled. Located in the heartland of the wine-producing region of Kakheti it was among the domains of Chavchavadze princely family for centuries, but the true revival of the Estate is linked with the name of Prince Alexander Chavchavadze (1786- 1846) poet, public benefactor, and military figure. Under Prince Alexander Chavchavadze Tsinandali Estate, on the one hand, continued the 8000-year-long tradition of Georgian winemaking while at the same time creating a standard of modern technological approach. Today this noble tradition continues and ancient Qvevri and classical European winemaking still coexist. Tsinandali Estate to this day focuses on the quality rather than quantity of wines. Its iconic wines include signature red Saperavi and namesake white Tsinandali among others. The unique vineyard is bordered by canyons and forest creating detached territory with superb terroir planted with 11 Georgian vine varietals, allowing Prince Alexander’s legacy as a creator of modern Georgian winemaking to live on and Tsinandali Estate still to offer the best of Georgian wines.
Then Badagoni has its vineyards in each micro-zone of kakheti region – the very heart of Georgian wine production. Badagoni major enologist is doctor Donato Lanati, an Italian enologist listed in top 5 enologists of the world and is the owner of the international winery award – wine oscar. The Badagoni wine factory was renewed at the end of 2014. The bottling and microfiltration lines are made by the famous Italian companies “Bertoldo” and “Enotec”, especially for Badagoni. They have no analog in the world. Wine is aged in French oak barrels. Badagoni controles the winemaking process starting from the soil up to the wine bottle on the shelf. Badagoni has an advanced laboratory equipped with Japanese equipment. In addition, Badagoni actively works with the international research center and laboratory “enosis” situated in Italy. Badagoni qvevri wine (Georgian traditional method of winemaking for 8000 years) is made in the Alaverdi monastery wine cellar built in the 9th century and restored in 2006 by Badagoni.
Then we have two family-owned wineries which we are proud to work with. Natenadze wine cellar and Baia wines. Giorgi Natenadze Has been proudly restoring the tradition of winemaking in its native Meskheti region, where centuries ago invading enemies destroyed valuable local grape species as they crusaded into the area. They use organic processes, dry-farming all grapes manually with no irrigation used. The grape trees there are more than a hundred years old, and the very largest of them is actually over four hundred years old. This is the first wine production in his region since the 16th century. Giorgi combines the curiosity to rediscover forgotten knowledge, the passion to revive lost traditions, and the ability to bring all this to new, younger target groups in a modern, contemporary way. Historians and scientists believe the Meskheti Region may be the birthplace of wine as one of the oldest dated winemaking regions in Georgia. The labels of the wines are designed in a street art style and speak a fresh and unconventional language. Whilst Baia and her younger siblings — Gvantsa (Sister) and Giorgi (Brother) were born and raised in Obcha in a friendly, traditional family of winemakers. They spent a happy childhood watching how parents and grandparents were involved in the diverse winemaking processes. At that time, the Abuladze family traditionally produced wine using Imeretian technology — the maceration process (soaking the juice of the grape with the skins and sometimes also the stems) was shorter and only 5-10% of grape skin was used during fermentation in Qvevri. In 2015, the Abuladze family business participated in the local agricultural startup competition and won the grant of GEL 5000 (about $2,000 USD at the time) to buy a used wine bottling machine to increase production and quality. At the same time, Baia officially established the new wine company, and the label Baia’s Wine was born. Accompanied by her younger siblings, she totally remodeled the production structure and focused on organic winemaking techniques. Their first organic wine — a white dry Tsolikouri was bottled in 2015. Soon afterward, the women empowered family business became one of the first organic wine producers in Bagdati Municipality. A few years after starting with white wines, the trio offered red wine from Otskhanusi Sapere and Aladasturi grapes. Today, they produce wines from Imeretian vine varieties such as Tsolikouri, Tsitska, Krakhuna, Aladasturi, and Otskhanuri Sapere. Each grape cluster is chosen carefully only from the Abuladze’s Obcha vineyards. The village Obcha boasts a unique microclimate for growing grapes. The location is unique — sitting in the eastern part of the Sairme Mountains which gives a slightly higher angle for the rays of the sun and a greater solar intensity. At 324 meters of altitude, the land offers an ideal location for growing premium wine grapes: The well-balanced geography, micro-climate, and well-drained soil come together to create the perfect environment for Baias’s exquisitely handcrafted wines.
We are now proud to be on Irish Shelves in the likes of Redmond’s of Ranelagh, Simply Delicious Foxrock, Grape, and Grain Winehouse Trim, Higgins Off-licence, The Corkscrew, and Red Island Wine in Skerries.
Author: Vakhtang Abdaladze, Bachelor of Business Studies 2018.
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