While attending the Prowein 2014 on 23-25 March in Dusseldorf, Ms. Granik gave her opinion on Georgian wines in an exclusive interview with Georgian Journal.
Q: How important is it for Georgian wines to be represented at the Prowein?
A: Prowein is really one of the most important, or the most important wine fair in the West, and for people who are in this business it is the place where important meetings are held and trade deals are made. So, it is of critical importance to be here and have a really coherent professional presentation.
Q: How did you like the Georgian presentation?
A: The Georgian presentation was very professional, very straightforward and the wines were very well presented.
Q: Georgia is an ancient wine producing country and largely believed to be the cradle of wine; it has a unique qvevri wine technology and the amplest pool of endemic grape varieties in the world. However, the western consumer is still scarcely aware of this fact. How can we use this to create a marketable legend and make Georgian wines popular in the west?
A: People are really interested in authenticity, which in its own terms everybody says that they are authentic. But people are really interested in Georgia as being the birthplace of wine; people are simply fascinated that this was the first place, as it seems, where people actually cultivated wine. And even if there was, shall we say, a period of interruption in the 20th century, people still has the memories. They were always making wine at home and while there was an interruption in commercial development there still is a certain degree of know-how that passed on and I think Georgian wine now stands to benefit from both history and modern technology. Because in the past terroir or tradition was not an excuse for bad wine. But now, the international market is so competitive that if Georgian wines were not made in a hygienic clean way, then no one ever can compete. But the technological advances and the investment that has been made in Georgian wines over the past 10 years, in technology, hygiene, quality control and quality assurance - all of those elements will allow Georgia to take from the past and basically build for the future to establish itself as a historical quality wine region.
Q: The wine market is saturated and looking for new tastes. Georgia has plenty of varieties that are new for the global market. How can they be introduced in a reasonable way?
A: People are always looking for something that is new, that’s true. Well, not every grape variety is going to become very popular. The art of goods is that Georgia will always have enough grape varieties so that there is enough of what we call “one-trick pony.” If people get tired of let’s say Rkatsiteli, then they can try another one and explore it while knowing it comes from Georgia. Georgia is not a big wine producing country, it is a tiny country, you cannot supply huge volumes and therefore it is always going to be in some ways a niche player. It’s like a sort of a little guy fighting corporate interests, and people are responsive to that. Keep the focus on quality, and come out with varieties slowly. You cannot rush with 25 grape varieties because people cannot absorb all of them at once. If you focus on five or six varieties and then slowly, every couple of years once you establish it on the market, you can expand.