Baia und Gvantsa Abuladze

The vineyards on the five hectare family farm are a tangle of weeds, wild flowers and spreading vines. Bees buzz and ants scurry between the vines.

In the village of Obcha, located in western Imereti, Baia and Gvantsa Abuladze are the fourth generation of their family to cultivate wine. Baia started making their first own wine in 2014, when she was just 20 years old. Gvantsa, a year younger than Baia, studied agricultural economics and, after completing her master's degree, began producing wine too. The third and youngest in the bunch, brother Giorgi is studying oenology and will soon be able to support the siblings from a scientific perspective.

Although there is a lot of family knowledge and tradition, the Abuladze sisters are the first to bottle and market their wine professionally. They are thus part of a new development in the Georgian winemaking world, in which an increasing number of young female winemakers are continuing and expanding the craft of their previous generation.

Baia, in particular, is also appearing frequently in the media, thereby opening up new target groups. This has not gone unnoticed, and in early 2019 the Forbes magazine included her in the list of Art&Culture 30 Under 30.

We meet her at her winery, expect to see a young entrepreneur with a sense of responsibility and encounter an unexpectedly cheerful, natural and down-to-earth winemaker who is simply proud of her rural roots:

"I follow the old traditional methods and rules. They knew what had to be done and how important the land is. We don't use any special equipment or other processes like stabilization through the addition of chemicals," says Baia, whose grandfather taught her to prune vines properly and pick grapes according to the lunar cycle, a practice that is once again common among modern biodynamic winemakers today.

Gvantsa adds that nature itself should be allowed to do most of the work, working with it and not against it. For example, she fertilizes only with manure and grape skins and the irrigation of the vineyard is done only with collected rainwater.

The two sisters have divided the vines into Snow White and Rose Red symbols: Baia cultivates the white varieties Tsitska, Tsolikouri and Krakhuna, which are autochthonous to Imereti, while Gvantsa is the specialist for the red grape variety Otskhanuri Sapere, which she appropriately cultivates as rosé wine.

Together they produced 7,500 bottles in 2018, most of which are currently exported. As the demand for her wines continues to grow internationally, while at the same time the wines are naturally also appreciated locally, the sisters have to evaluate and ask themselves whether they can increase the production volumes of the winery to the necessary extent. For the time being, they want to reach the 10,000 bottle mark and analyze whether they can and want to expand even further at this scale and speed.

You can find even more information about Baia and Gvantsa Abuladze directly on their own website: