By Georgia: Only 2% of wine drinkers know the birthplace of wine, and it’s not France, Italy or Spain

  • Exports from the ‘Birthplace of wine’ are up almost 100%, but the majority of Brits know very little about Georgia.
  • The country’s hero grape, Saperavi, has been described as the ‘new Malbec’ by experts
  • Research revealed by Tbilvino, one of Georgia’s most established wineries

Sales of Georgian wine have soared an incredible 100% in eight years, but only 2% of Brits correctly know it to be the official birthplace of wine.

Research from winery, Tbilvino, reveals that 33% of wine-drinking Brits think the first ever producer of wine was France, 27% believe it to be Italy and 5% think it is Spain, when in actual fact, it’s Georgia.

The survey of 2,000 wine drinkers revealed that less than a third (29%) know Georgia is a country in Europe. In fact, 19% of Brits believe it is an area inside Russia, 15% believe it is in South America, and 1% believe it’s located in the Bermuda Triangle. Nearly two-thirds (62%) have no idea the capital is Tbilisi.

Georgia is situated at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East on the Black Sea. Referred to as the ‘birthplace of wine’, its first wines were produced as early as 8,000 BC. Boasting around 500 indigenous grape varieties, almost 120 million bottles of Georgian wine were exported worldwide last year.

Despite only 11% of wine-drinking Brits having ever tried a wine from Georgia, the original Old-World Wine is finally gaining recognition in Britain. Tbilvino, one of the largest family-owned winery in Georgia, is the most exported Georgian brand to the UK, delivering over 100,000 bottles last year. With 98% of Brits claiming to be open to trying new wines, its emergence couldn’t be timelier.

Known for its ancient wine-making tradition, Tbilvino creates quality wines using the ‘qvevri’ (pronounced ‘k-vevri’) method – where the juice is fermented with the grape skins in giant, egg-shaped clay pots buried in the ground. Unlike wood, clay doesn’t add a taste to the wine but drives the flavour and texture complexities, helping develop the fruit aromas and tannins.

A widely revered wine-making method in Georgia, only 19% of Brits realise you can make wine using the clay pot method, whereas three-quarters of Britons (23%) think wine can be made in containers as diverse as a bucket, a plastic bottle (15%) or a concrete barrel (14%).

The most famous varieties from Georgia include Saperavi (sa-per-ah-vee), often named the ‘king of Georgian grapes’, which wine experts have tipped to be the new Malbec and Kisi (kee-see) an aromatic white grape variety often used in orange or amber wine.

George Margvelashvili, Founder of Tbilvino Wines says: “Saperavi is making its mark with wine drinkers all over the world with over 45K tags on Instagram. Now we want to shine a light on Georgia and our unique wine-making processes within the UK.

“Our ambition is to help people to discover and appreciate Georgian wines. We combine ancient craft techniques with a very modern and dynamic mentality. This helps us to create distinctive wines which appeal to those wanting to try something new and different.

“The UK has continued to see the emergence of wines from lesser-known regions, despite not knowing a huge amount about the origin of the country, our UK sales show that wine drinkers are starting to develop a thirst for Georgian wine – and we are proud to be at the forefront of this new and emerging trend in the UK.”

Tbilvino’s top Saperavi wine recommendations:

Qvevris Saperavi (£19.99,75cl) – Made using the ‘qvevri’ method and 100% Saperavi. Dark violet in colour, with a well-balanced tannin structure and offers aromas of ripe cherry and red berries.

Available to buy at Laithwaites/Direct Wines.


Saperavi Rosé (£12.99, 75cl) – Pale pink in colour with aromas of blackcurrants, raspberries and ripe peaches. Boasting ample red fruits on the palate with subtle hints that linger on the finish, this refreshing Rosé is perfect for the summer.

Available to buy at All About Wine

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