“Georgia – Homeland of Wine” – The project that made the Japanese fall in love with Georgian wine and its technology
15 May, 2019
“Georgia – Homeland of Wine” – The project that made the Japanese fall in love with Georgian wine and its technology
“It is only through acknowledging the history of nations that they could preserve their nationality, existence, and identity,” – wrote the 19-century’s greatest public figure Ilia Chavchavadze. It is, indeed, through preserving the national culture, treasure, historical monuments and the language that the identity is kept.

The unique Georgian wine with its 800-year-old history should be given the top place on the list of cultural heritage. It was due to the Georgina wine that Georgia has become known to the rest
of the world through Forbes, National Geographic, BBC.

The tradition of the Georgian winemaking needs to be preserved and promoted. The National Wine Agency of Georgia has launched this process by organizing a series of exhibitions in Bordeaux, France. Within the framework of the series, the agency presented the project “Georgia –Homeland of Wine” in Tokyo. The project was accompanied by the elements of the Georgian culture and the famous Georgian cuisine known as “Georgian Sufra”.
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During the two-month-long exhibition, the advertising banners were placed in the Tokyo subway. The subway would lead the interested passengers to the exhibition hall in order to show them more about Georgia.

The project “Georgia – Homeland of Wine” was closed with the presentation of the Georgian cuisine conducted by the famous Georgian sumo wrestlers Tochinoshin and Gagamaru. According to the deputy of the National Wine Agency of Georgia Davit Tkemaladze, the final part of the event took place in a special place called Gakushi-kaikan.

Due to their great interest in Georgia, the teachers and the head of Gakushi-kaikan were invited to Georgia. At first, we were introduced to each other by the Japanese ambassador to Georgia Mr. Tadaharu Uehara. They told us that they wanted to present the qvevri-made wine at the 100th anniversary celebration of the Gakushi-kaikan.
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As people had a chance to taste the Georgian wine at the closing event, the agency decided to make wine on the Gakushi-kaikan’s name.

We did an interview with Davit Tkemaladze, who revealed more details about the popularization of the Georgian wine and culture in Japan.

What was the aim of the project “Georgia – Homeland of Wine” and what activities did it include?

The project intends the promotion of Georgia as the homeland of wine (the fact is already scientifically confirmed) across the world. It is simply an advertising and PR event which aims to present Georgia as a cradle of winemaking. We hope it will be followed by real benefits.
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As for the activities, the major one is the exhibition space. The latter showcases the artifacts and unique archeological items discovered in Georgia. The wine acid sample discovered in Georgia was also part of the exhibition.

All our events have received positive feedbacks – people regularly write articles about the Georgian wine or keep in touch with us or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

What is attitude towards Georgia and Georgia wine in the Japanese market?

We have date and we can say that there is a positive trend in the Japanese market – sales have increased in recent years, even though Japan is not traditional wine consuming country. On the other hand, Japan has strong economy and many Asian states try to take after them, implement same innovations, in this case, in terms of wine. We try to answer these aims and think that we are doing well so far. But of course, it is too early to speak about concrete results, we will see them after a while, in a year for example.
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Which group is the most interested in Georgian wine - business circles or ordinary citizens?

Members of diplomatic corps used to attend the events mostly, those who are accredited in Japan. But number of ordinary citizens was increasing as well. There were lots of them.

Georgia is homeland of wine and this is news in wine industry. Several years ago Qvevri wine was given the status of a cultural heritage by the UNESCO and it has become a trump card in wine industry for us.

We have acquired lots of friends from the art field in Japan: journalists, publishers, representatives of wine sector. This is very important for our country.
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Do you think that your activities and events influenced them to visit Georgia and get to know Georgian culture, cuisine and wine?

I think so. We have appointed some visits and they should happen in the end of the year. We have already received 2 groups in Georgia. One consisted of the Japanese journalists, film crew from NHK, one of the leading Japanese TV channels have visited us as well to work here. They got interested after attending our events. They sent letters, met us and started to record a show.
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What are your future plans after hosting exhibitions in France and Japan?

We have slightly changed our program in Japan so that we had different programs in different countries. We cooperated with Sony Musical Communications and said a new word in terms of technology with their partnership. Both of the sides worked and got a good result. We have created pictures about Georgia, history of wine, its origins – viewers can enjoy them in 360 degrees videos. This means that visitors can approach the screen and without touching it, with movement of their shadow get information they want.
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Currently, together with our embassies, we are working with the United States, China and Korea, because these are important markets as well. Of course, we are represented in China and want to hold our project there. Everyone dreams about the American market and we want to be represented on both, Eastern and Western parts of the USA by 2020.
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