Georgian Organic Wine Certification

Unveiling The Path To Organic Certification In Georgia's Ancient Wine Country

Georgian wine, rooted in an 8,000-year-old tradition, is stepping into the global limelight with its organic certification. This article delves into the efforts of Georgian winemakers and their journey towards organic certification, underpinned by international support and local dedication. As the world increasingly turns towards organic products, Georgia's wine industry is not just keeping pace but is set to redefine the standards of organic wine production.

Certification And Standards: The Backbone Of Georgian Organic Wine

On March 31, the Georgian Wine Club organized a public lecture on “Certification of bio-productions and standard requirements” led by Mr. Zurab Nadareishvili, the founder and quality manager of "Caucascert". Nadareishvili enlightened the audience on the intricate mechanisms, procedures, and standards required for organic certification in Georgia. This process, often spanning 1-3 years, involves rigorous internal and external controls, including both planned and surprise inspections. As of now, 15 entities in Georgia have achieved certification, covering an area of 100-150 hectares, indicating a burgeoning interest in bio-certification.

"Caucascert", established in 2005 and accredited by DAKKS since 2008, stands as the sole entity in Georgia that issues certification for both the internal market and exports across diverse fields including plant growing and wine production.

Revitalizing Tradition Through Organic Practices

Supported by the European Union, Sweden, and Austria, Georgian winemakers, particularly in the highland region, are revitalizing their winemaking traditions in the organic market. Shorena Pataridze from Racha, for instance, restored her ancestral winemaking methods and rejuvenated her vineyard with aid from the GRETA project. This initiative helped her align with organic standards, providing crucial support in vineyard care, cellar equipment, and the pivotal bio-certification process.

Similarly, "Khomlis Marani" in Lechkhumi, known for its bio-certified unlabeled wine made in Kvevri, epitomizes Georgia's integration of ancient winemaking methods with modern organic standards. Founder Tamaz Omanadze proudly recalls prioritizing domestic success before venturing into the international market, despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. With European support, "Khomlis Marani" improved its production processes and is currently enhancing its international market presence.

In Racha, Zurab Maisashvili's "Gvinuka" is another testament to this organic movement. Despite the pandemic's economic impact, financial aid from the GRETA project enabled "Gvinuka" to increase production fourfold, acquiring crucial equipment and setting the stage for European market entry.

International Context: France's Recognition Of Natural Wine

In May 2020, France legally recognized natural wines, distinguishing them from conventional wines. This move highlights the growing global focus on sustainable and organic wine production. Natural winemaking, which prohibits synthetic materials and genetically modified organisms, reflects a broader trend towards environmental responsibility and product integrity. This French legislation mandates manual grape harvesting and the absence of pesticides and artificial additives, setting a new standard for natural wines, known as “vin method nature”.

Georgia's Position In Natural Wine Production

In Georgia, natural wines are not yet legislatively recognized as a separate category. However, the local Natural Wine Association unites small cellars committed to natural winemaking principles, conducting regular inspections and controlling the entire production process. While Georgian legislation permits certain additives in standard wines, natural winemakers avoid these, offering a distinct quality and taste profile. The demand for natural wines, including Georgian varieties, is rising globally, indicating a potential shift in consumer preferences post-pandemic.

Conclusion: The Future Of Georgian Organic Wine

The journey towards organic and natural wine certification in Georgia is marked by a blend of rich winemaking heritage and modern standards. With the support of international partners and the dedicated efforts of local winemakers, Georgia is not only preserving its ancient winemaking traditions but also adapting them to meet contemporary organic standards. As the global market evolves, Georgian wines stand poised to make a significant impact, offering a unique combination of tradition, quality, and organic integrity.

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