First Georgian Lady winemaker who works in South Africa
06 March, 2018
First Georgian Lady winemaker who works in South Africa
One of the main reasons why I chose this profession was to break the stereotype that winemaking is only the men’s business, says 23 years old Georgian girl Anano Vekua, who studied winemaking at Agrarian University. According to her, in her family no one works in this direction. Currently, Anano is working in South Africa, in one
of the largest wine companies and is getting more experience. Anano elaborates on the difference between African and Georgian wines and the way of using this huge experience in her homeland.

I graduated from the Agrarian University, Winery-Viticulture faculty. Now I am pursuing Master’s degree, and I am working in large Georgian wine company at the same time.
geotv.ge
Anano Vekua

-How did you get to work in South Africa?

Within frames of one programme I have been able to work in Robertson, the second largest wine company in South Africa. Now there is grape harvesting time here, so we are going to get 60 thousand tons of grapes. I'm involved in each process, and I am trying my best to learn as much as possible.

- Being a winemaker is a little bit unusual for a girl.

-One of the main reasons why I chose this profession was to break the stereotype that winemaking is only the men’s job. Many people were very surprised because of my decision. I like the culture of winemaking; I am interested in the difficult chemical and microbiological processes of making this beverage. In reality, this profession is very gambling, with continuous experiments and risks. Perhaps these very challenges make this business interesting. It is very stressful at the same time, but the feeling of responsibility do not allow me to relax.
geotv.ge
-What kind of grapes and vineyards do they have in South Africa? Are they similar to Georgian?

- There is a very dry climate here and large areas are unsuitable for agriculture, yet they still manage to grow many species of fruit and vegetables. Flowers, cereals, viticulture and winemaking are leading industries. The vineyards area is about 100 thousand hectares. South Africa It is considered a new winemaking country, but as of 2016 it is the seventh among the world's producers.

-Which species of grapes are grown there?
geotv.ge

Mostly French, and I also came across some German species. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, etc.

Of course, depending on the soil and climate, the vineyard cultivation and care system is different from ours.

-The technique of winemaking is also interesting.

The main line is the same as with us (I do not mean Kvevri technology) but the difference lies in the details, that ultimately makes the product different and special.

I study these details here, to make a comparison and apply these techniques to Georgian varieties.

-In particular, where are you based and in which language do you communicate?

-I live in Cape Town, near the city of Robertson. Here are 11 official languages. Most of the population knows basic English, and some of them speak fluent English. In addition, it is not difficult for me to communicate. The locals are joyful people and despite the fact that most of them live in quite difficult conditions, they still have a mood to dance.

- How are you going to use this experience in Georgia?

- The experience I have gained here is very important to me. I permanently think how I can apply my practices in Georgia, how it will work, what will make our products more valuable. I learned a lot about the peculiarity and potential of grape varieties. I have my favorite Georgian grape varieties whose names are unknown to many, for example, Rachian Mtsvivani, Tsivvazi, Buza.
geotv.ge
Vineyards in South Africa

-What are your future plans?

-I want to have a vineyard with a little wine cellar. I have many plans, but, as usual, everything changes. Last year, I could not even think that I would attend grape harvest in Africa, or I would become the member of the National Wine Agency’s tasting commission. It is very rapidly growing and flexible direction, so the plans often change. After Africa, it would be good for me to go in one of the Europe’s wine countries for studying and practicing.

Author: Lali Patsia

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