Schuchmann Chateau competes at international level
24 April, 2014
Schuchmann Chateau competes at international level
he best way to develop the wine export is to develop wine tourism first of all, wine sector pundits say. Georgia being acknowledged as the cradle of wine that has been producing wine uninterrupted for about 8 000 years in its unequalled Qvevri technology, plus having 520 grape varieties in its national gene pool it has full chances to become one of the key destinations on the global wine tourism map. However, according to the latest statistics, only 5% out
of more than 5 million tourists visiting Georgia in 2013 named wine tourism as their visit goal while wine tourism is a pillar of the economy in many major wine-producing countries including the so-called New World regions where wine producing started just 200-300 years ago. Underdeveloped service and infrastructure is the key distraction. Few wineries offer wine tourism services in Georgia which hampers the industry in fact because the more wineries and small cellars are involved in the tourism business the bigger is the profit.
Schuchmann Wines, a winery and Chateau in Kisiskhevi, with a beautiful view on the Caucasian mountain range in the Kakheti region, is the pioneer of wine tourism in Georgia and competes at the international level. To find out the secret of its success Georgian Journal interviewed Nutsa Abramishvili, Director of Schuchmann Wines.
Q: You are one of the few wineries in Georgia involved in wine tourism and you are flourishing. What is the secret of your success?
A: Schuchmann was the first company that started wine tourism in the region with due services and products. I can declare without hesitation that we were a pioneer in Kakheti who launched wine tourism in Georgia. It was very important to gather all the necessary qualities [of wine tourism] such as wine, gastronomy, breathtaking landscape, flora and fauna-all these are basic qualities of our product.
Q: What services does your package include?
A: We offer bread baking [the crescent-shaped Georgian breads called Shoti baked in special clay oven called Tone], participation in grape crushing in an old traditional Satsnakheli [a large, deep and long wooden or stone vessel where grapes are crushed and squeezed by feet into juice for wine-making], making of Churchkhela [Georgian traditional sweet candies made of nuts that are plunged in the sweet porridge made of grape juice and wheat flour. Making Churchkhela is an inseparable part and major pleasure of grape harvesting in Georgia]. We offer an ethnic corner where our guest can enjoy all these pleasures. Moreover, we have excellent cooks and a nice restaurant. One of our guests once remarked that it is a pity there are no Michelin stars here because Schuchmann restaurant and hotel certainly deserve them.
Q: As a matter of fact some sector pundits say that the Georgian cuisine needs some development, kind of more skills to get more refined, diversified and delicate. They also indicate that most Georgian restaurants offer similar menus. How do you manage these things to be different?
A: We have a Philippine chef-cook who implemented a remarkable combination of Georgian, Kakhetian and European dishes and created a special gastronomy which is essential to wine tourism. Our restaurant is in high demand. Our service package also includes hunting and fishing depending on the season, participation in vintage is available starting from August until the end of October. One special service of ours is that our tourists who participated in the vintage can also enjoy the wine they made in fact. I mean that we make wine of the grapes that the visitor gathered and crushed personally and later on send this wine to the tourists.
Q: How competitive is your pricing policy?
A: Pretty competitive. I cannot disclose the price list as such as it is a commercial secret but since nobody offers similar services in Georgia we are competitive at the international level, like in France or California.
Q: But travel costs are pretty high in Georgia compared to Europe. Aren’t they?
A: Yes, to travel to Georgia is expensive but taking into account the Georgian reality we are competitive, our prices are reasonable and we have plenty of clients. We host around 10 000 tourists every season which starts in April and lasts until November. Hunting starts in the spring, then the vintage follows and then the wine-making process comes along.

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