Friday, April 13, 2018

Obituary of Soliko Tsaishvili published in British press

13.04.2018 (Hvino News). Britain's wine magazine Harpers paid tribute to Georgian winemaker Soliko Tsaishvili, who recently passed away at his 57th year. "It's sad to report the passing of Georgian winemaker, Soliko Tsaishvili. He had been diagnosed in the early stages of pancreatic cancer in 2016 and while receiving treatment since, friends reported that he succumbed to the illness on April 10th", - reads the obituary entitled "Ancient Georgian winemaking loses one of its modern founders", which was published today.

"Soliko was primarily responsible for reinvigorating kvevri winemaking in a country where the process has been used for at least 8,000 years yet was largely forgotten", - notes author Miquel Hudin.

When he started his own wine production in 1980-s, Soliko continued working in academia as a philologist as well as the editor of a literary journal. "Three of his friends had joined in at that point and then an Italian by the name of Luca Gargano visited and tasted the wines in 2005. He decided to buy the entire stock to sell in Italy as well as eventually join Soliko and his friends as a partner. This boost from Luca and the involvement of Slow Food made everything about the much more serious, and thus "Our Wine" was officially born. They choose the name to evoke a larger sense of community and to emphasize that wine should be shared, that it's for friends as well as for everyone."

"With their export outlet to Italy as well as other countries over time, it opened the sales channels that they needed but it was still hard to sell the wines locally in Georgia where large producers still dominate. Even in the later aughts of 2000, Soliko (and many others) were justifiably dismayed that proper Georgian wines weren't available in their country of origin. This is why he, along with others including John Wurdeman of Pheasant's Tears, realized that they needed to create a bridge to reach the Georgian public and thus, Vino Underground was born in 2010. In the years that followed, the work of this cellar paid off as others joined them in creating a united front of Georgian wine made in kvevri. To a large extent it has become the most well-known type of wine from the country despite still being at most 2% of the total production," - reads the article in Harpers, which ends with quotation: "Truth is not found in other people's grapes. You can't call that your wine. Truth is in growing your own grapes." Soliko Tsaishvili (1961-2018)

In 2016 Soliko's friends organized an international fundraiser to help him with his operation.

© Hvino News

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