From Harvest to Company:  Rtvelisi on Its Path to Becoming an International Brand

A group of friends sharing a passion for viticulture and winemaking have come together to establish a brand producing the highest quality wine with a unique, delicious and unforgettable flavor. The friends have named their company Rtvelisi, which comes from the Georgian word rtveli, meaning grape picking, to embody the great tradition of grape picking, joy, and respect for the vine that has been observed by Georgians for over 8,000 years.

One of the friends, co-founder and General Director of the company Tornike Chikadze, told Golden Brand that the history of Rtvelisi dates back to 1920, with the same ancestral cellar for producing wine.

“Nowadays Rtvelisi qvevri wine is made in this very cellar.”

Rtvelisi produces up to 50 alcoholic beverages of grape origin, including classic Georgian wine, traditional qvevri wine, sparkling wine, brandy, and chacha.

Below a Q&A with the General Director about their path from harvest to brand.

Q. Rtvelisi was named the favorite wine brand at the Golden Brand awards. What brought the company this recognition, in your opinion?

A. We are thrilled to receive the Golden Brand award for our work. Every member of our team has put in their utmost effort to create unique wines that showcase our commitment to producing high-quality products. Our motivation from the beginning has been to prove to the world that Georgian wine is of the highest quality with unique and delicious flavors. We take pride in our work and are grateful for this acknowledgement.

After putting in great effort, our brand has finally earned the reputation we have been tirelessly working toward.

Q. Please summarize Rtvelisi’s achievements in 2023.

A. 2023 has been a special year for Rtvelisi. We have been striving to identify any unmet needs and fulfilling them to the best of our abilities. So far, we have been successful in this endeavor.

We have expanded our export map by adding Korea and Armenia as new markets in addition to those we had in 2020 and 2021. We have also been working with our partners to increase sales in existing export markets. We are delighted to share that Rtvelisi has secured a place among the top 10 exporters in the European Union market.

Rtvelisi wines are exported to Canada, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Czechia, Estonia, Poland, China, Hong-Kong, South Korea, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belarus, Armenia, and Israel.

Our participation in various international exhibitions, such as Prowine in Shanghai, China Food and Drink Fair in China, Winepo Paris in France, and Wine and Spirit Expo in Korea, has been instrumental in finding new partners in international markets.

In addition, we are proud to share that we have received several awards at various international wine competitions – 10 gold medals, 16 silver medals, and 7 bronze medals. These awards are a testament to our commitment to maintaining high standards and ensuring consistency in our production.

Q. Last year Rtvelisi expanded its product line within the HoReCa (hotel, restaurant, cafe) industry. Tell us about this direction.

A. Our objective is to provide comprehensive coverage across all networks and expand our product line both within retail networks and the Horeca segment. Our diverse range of products enables us to achieve this goal. We prioritize our customers’ needs and strive to anticipate market demand by proactively offering sought-after products. It’s worth noting that the sales of bottled wine have increased significantly year after year. By 2024, we aim to further expand our product distribution across chains and the Horeca segment, making it easier for our loyal customers to access Rtvelisi products.

Q. The company’s goal is to promote high-quality Georgian wine in Canada. What makes Canada interesting for Rtvelisi?

A. Since the establishment of our company, we have always recognized the significance of diversification of export markets. We consider every country important and invest as much as possible to promote our products there. We work closely with our partners to develop markets in America, Asia, and Europe, and carry out numerous projects together. Canada is one of our key partners contributing to this effort.

Exporting Georgian wine to Canada is a challenging task due to the difficulty of breaking into this large market, but it is crucial for producers to establish a presence in Canada. It requires constant and persistent efforts to export products and establish a foothold, and it is essential to maintain a high standard of quality to ensure stability and success in this market.

Q. And you have achieved a significant milestone – Rtvelisi wine has been included in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Canada. Can you share the steps you took to achieve this success, including any procedures or strategies you used? Additionally, how do you anticipate this achievement will affect the reputation and perception of Rtvelisi wine?

A. We strongly believe that quality is an essential form of advertising and that it is much easier to sell high-quality products. We have achieved similar results in many countries, and we are confident that this recognition will help us become a globally recognized brand in the long run.

Q. An Italian publication prepared an article about Rtvelisi. Do you often find yourself on the pages of international media outlets? How can articles like this help you build awareness and increase sales?

A. We often find articles about our company discussed in the media, on YouTube channels, and at events. People from different countries contact us for additional information about our company to prepare presentations or articles. We believe that this is partly due to our efforts to attend international exhibitions where many wine professionals gather. The evaluations of these professionals help us increase the interest in our products and encourage more people to try them.

Q. Lastly, please share some future plans with our readers.

A. We aim to boost productivity, explore new export markets, reinforce our presence in existing markets, enhance brand awareness, and establish Rtvelisi as an international brand.

We have already scheduled presentations of our products at eight international wine competitions and five international exhibitions.