Rezi Tsetskhaedze: "Georgia is embracing a vibrant resurgence in wine and gastronomy"

Andreas Grube
Published 13-June-2024
Interview / Georgia

Winemaker, cider producer and sommelier Rezi Tsetskhaedze is Star Wine List's new ambassador for Georgia. Now he is updating our guide to Georgia's best wine bars and wine restaurants with 14 new Red Stars.

"For the past few years, I've relied on Star Wine List as my primary resource for discovering exceptional wine bars and restaurants worldwide. I'm now honoured to be a part of the team representing my home country of Georgia," he says about his new role.

"I am excited to explore and discover new exceptional wine destinations throughout Georgia. My mission is to share my experiences, promote these venues, and ultimately assist wine professionals in discovering the perfect places that cater to their needs."

Rezi Tsetskhladze was born and raised in Georgia. He is a winemaker and founder of Pery Wines and Zakara Cider, with a background in oenology and viticulture and a Master’s degree in innovative wine marketing and tourism. He has also – among many other things – worked as an assistant winemaker in Burgundy, and as a Communication and Marketing Executive at Meiburg Wine Media.

"I own a wine and cider production business. In addition to producing wine and cider, I offer consulting, judging, and educational services in the industry," says Rezi.

How would you describe the dining and drinking scene in Georgia at the moment?
"Georgia is embracing a vibrant resurgence in wine and gastronomy, following the end of the oppressive USSR regime. The people of Georgia are enthusiastically exploring and cultivating new and exciting ventures. Each day brings forth a wave of new wineries, restaurants, wine bars, as well as talented winemakers and chefs."

How much has changed in recent years and what have been the biggest changes?
"Since gaining independence from the Russian Empire a few decades ago, there has been a significant shift towards positive development. Viticulturists are now cultivating higher-quality grapes, marking a departure from the previous disregard for quality. Moreover, a new generation has eagerly embraced studies and careers in both traditional and new world countries, emerging winemaking and gastronomy destinations.

There is now a growing interest in wines from traditional old-world countries

What are the emerging drinking trends you are seeing?
"In Georgia, the natural Kvevri wine trend is still thriving. Families take pride in producing their own non-filtered, unfined, SO2-free wines, and this tradition is being embraced by a wider audience. Additionally, esteemed producers are crafting exceptional wines that are highly valued by consumers."

What wines, styles, countries and regions are most in demand?
"Georgian wine has been the highest in demand for most of the consumers. In the last five years, though, some companies have started to import wines from around the world, including both natural and conventional. Following the trend of Georgian wine, there is now a growing interest in wines from traditional old-world countries."

How and when did you get into the wine business?
"Already from a young age, I have been captivated by the art of wine production. My grandparents used to craft 2,000 litres of wine annually for special family occasions such as birthdays, easter, and New Year's. When I turned 16, I sought out to work in a winemaking region for 2 months, which solidified my decision to pursue a career in the wine industry."

Rezi's new additions in Tbilisi:

Craft Wine Restaurant
Café Littera
8000 Vintages
Wine Merchants

And a few outside the capital:

Sisters, Kutaisi
Winetage, Kutaisi
Doli, Telavi

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