Meet a Successful Entrepreneur in Georgia’s Growing Wine Sector


The winemaking industry is ever growing in Georgia. You would expect nothing less from a country considered the ‘Motherland of Wine.’ As the rtveli season is upon us, GEORGIA TODAY went to talk to some up-and-comers in the traditional business, Beka and Nika Nasrashvili from the Nasrashvili Family Winery. Coming from Dedoplistskaro, Kakheti, the Nasrashvilis turned their beloved tradition of winemaking into a family business just last year. In 2019, they are already winning awards and becoming a wine lovers’ favorite at every wine festival they exhibit their product. Read on to find out more about the Nasrashvili Family Winery.

Tell us your story, Beka. Why did your family get into the winemaking business?

Just like every other family in Georgia, our family has always made wine. The amount and quality were really good but never enough. Plus, I’ve always loved wine a little bit more than that. Philosophy is my profession: I cannot name a better thing to do than drink wine and talk about philosophy.

One day this idea came to me: why not make a wine that will have our name on it? So, I decided to return to my hometown and start a family winery.

Wine is probably one of the most intimate products you can make. It’s like people are sharing their good, or sometimes even sad, moments with you as they are drinking your wine: celebrating their success or maybe surviving their failures. That’s why it is very important for us to make good wine for our customers, high-quality for every occasion.

What is your winemaking philosophy?

My philosophy is to make proper, high-quality wines that people will enjoy and through which they can, perhaps, forget their everyday life for a bit. It’s not a very philosophical answer but that’s true. That’s the most important thing. Everything else is just the means and ways of how you do it.

We also want to popularize Georgian traditional wines not just for foreigners but for Georgians as well. Not everyone knows Kisi, Tavkveri, Khikhvi, Chinuri, Shavkapito, etc. That’s why I planted those grapes in our vineyard. The meore you produce those lerss-known wines, the more people will know about it.

Tell us the best and the most difficult aspects of winemaking.

The best part of being a winemaker is the joy and awe of my customers when they sip our wines for the first time. This satisfaction completely overshadows the hard work that winemaking requires which, I think every winemaker would agree, is the worst part. However, that hard work is necessary as it determines the quality of the wine, so really, I can’t complain about it.

Which is your favorite wine from your production and why?

It has to be Kvevri Tavkveri from our first harvest. In fact, I like it so much that we made a special line for it. It’s called Beka’s Wine and the label has my face on it. I cannot begin to express how proud I am of this 2018 Tavkveri. Every year, I will choose which wine will have Beka’s Wine label. I have not made my mind up yet, but for the 2019 harvest it might be Tavkveri-Muscat-Saperavi or Khikhvi. You’ll see next spring!

You have different labels for your wines? Why?

Well, you should talk to my twin brother Nika about it. While I’m making wines, he’s trying to come up with ideas how to sell them. And it was his idea to make labels for specific wines rather than just for our winery. The idea is that sometimes wines are so different that a winery-oriented label cannot fully express the many unique characteristics of a wine. A specially designed wine-oriented label can. That’s what we are trying to achieve with our wines: individualistic taste and high-quality. Of course, it’s risky to have this many labels but, you know what, I am sure that people will remember our wine when they drink it. So, I’m optimistic about it.

It is the rtveli season in Georgia. Could you fill us in on the details of harvesting?

Harvest in Georgia usually starts in our region, Dedoplistskaro. Harvest 2019 for us started in late August and it was very smooth. It was not a great year for wines in Kakheti but we will see. I hope that our wines will be at least as good as in 2018.

What are the steps from harvesting to bottling?

It’s a process where every step is as important as the previous or next. You need to make sure that everything is in order. You need to work hard in the vineyard literally every day to make sure that you have quality grapes, as they determine at least 80-90% of the quality of the wine. Then, after harvest, very long and sleepless nights come because you need to monitor your wines. You need to taste it, look at the color, control your temperature, test it in the lab and make sure that everything is as it should be. It’s not fancy, sometimes it gets really dirty, but that’s how you do it. Otherwise, you cannot make good wines.

Do you filter any of your wines?

It depends on the type of wine but usually not. Filtration reduces aromas and taste, so it’s better not to do it and to fully enjoy all the taste it has.

For people who want to know more about winemaking, what do you recommend?

Talk to winemakers, get to know them and of course, drink as much and as different wines as appropriate. You cannot understand wine unless you drink it, right? But you should remember that wine is not just an alcoholic beverage: it tells you a story and you should be open to listening to it. You can understand everything about it just by sight or one sip. You should be curious not just about the variety or terroir but about the winemakers as well.

What success have you had so far?

Well, it’s our third month on the market but we participated in the Qvevri International Competition in July and all of the wines we presented got awards. Our Rkatisteli and Tavkveri got silver and Saperavi bronze.

Given how new we are, it is a pretty big achievement at this moment, but not enough, of course. I’m sure that more achievements and awards are coming. Right now, we have some opportunities to export our wines to the US and Europe. I hope we get a chance to introduce Georgia to the public with our wines very soon.

As nice as your winery is, it is quite small. What plans do you have for the future?

It is relatively small, but for the first year, our production is considerably large. We produced more than 20,000 bottles from our first vintage. This year it’s a similar amount. At this moment we don’t plan to expand. The important thing in the size of our wine production is to choose quality over quantity. We have everything necessary to produce high-quality wines at the amount. When the bottle is empty, you will be remembered because of the quality of the wine, not the quantity. We want to be a winery known for its good wines. We won’t jeopardize our wine quality at the expense of production. If we expand, we will do so that our wine quality is at least as high as it is right now.

By Nini Dakhundaridze

30 September 2019 16:00