The Buyer
Teliani Valley on why Georgian wine is on the march around the world

Teliani Valley on why Georgian wine is on the march around the world

“Georgian winemaking has made huge progress in the past decade…It went back to its roots and focused on its diverse local grape varieties. It studied its terroirs and wine regions, reinvented the use of ancestral winemaking in qvevris, and made big strides to improve the technical controls and overall quality of our wines. This has been the reason behind our undoubted success in the last few years.” It’s also why Teliani Valley has emerged as one of the leading Georgian wine producers with growing exports around the world and is fast making its place in the UK premium wine market with the help and support of Boutinot its UK importer. Salome Mosidze, head of marketing, shares its story on The Buyer.

Richard Siddle
17th April 2024by Richard Siddle
posted in People,People: Producer,

Can you tell us something about the background and history of Teliani Valley and its place in Georgian wine?

Teliani Valley is a winery making some of the most vibrant, different, fresh, mind altering wines in the world. And doing it with such joy, hope and soul. This is the wine of Georgia - a land blessed with more than 500 grape varieties, a geography and a climate that is God given when it comes to vines, and an approach to winemaking that is at the core of who we are.

Teliani Valley was built up by the enduring passion of skilled winemakers using equipment they had borrowed from the old state run winery. It was 1997. They did it for the freedom to make the wine they wanted. They wanted to make the wines they had always dreamed of, in the Georgian way, combining tradition, skill, and above all a lot of heart and soul.

Teliani is at the very forefront of Georgian wine. The roots of the business are in the personal sacrifice of cutting edge winemakers pooling their passion and resources to make great wines. Teliani Valley today attracts and supports the most exciting winemakers in Georgia, and gives them everything they need to make ground breaking, transcendent wines. These are artists at work. Highly trained experts - given the creative freedom to make what they want from the grapes that grow through the land.

Teliani Valley is one of a number of Georgian wine producers that now combine traditional, historical winemaking with modern techniques

This is an invitation to awaken your soul, laugh and love like a Georgian, change the way you look at the world, and be just a little more Georgian.

Teliani Valley Winery 97 special series and Glekhuri Qvevri wines are presented and enjoyed in the UK, the US, Canada, Germany, Japan and many other countries.

What are the styles of wine you want to make and how have they changed, improved and adapted over the years?

Teliani make a dazzling range of fresh, vibrant wines packed with character. These wines are amazing with food of all kinds but especially the kind of mezze, spicy, herby, sharing type of eating that sits at the heart of all good community and good times.

There are gutsy reds, delicate and refreshing whites and flinty amber wines. Some are qvevri - skin contact wines made in earthenware amphora in the way Georgians have made wine since the time of Noah. For us every vintage is the new opportunity to create the unique and distinctive wines that will showcase a great balance between ancestral craft and modern techniques.

We only focus on the highest quality grapes so that we can keep the purity and clarity, letting the outstanding terroir of Kakheti speak for itself. We strive to revolutionise the perception of Georgian wine on the global market by being transparent and honest in our craft, perfecting the traditional ways of making fine amber wines.

You have won a lot of major awards over the years - what do you think helps make your wines stand out?

Teliani Valley has been at the forefront of global market diversification and promotion of Georgian wine for two decades. Our wines are regular gold and trophy medal winners in international competitions including IWSC, IWC, and Decanter. We were awarded “Best Producer of Georgia” in both 2022 and 2023 by Mundus Vini.

This international success in not only important for us, but plays a crucial role for the country of Georgia in general. Focusing on native varieties and distinctive terroirs we speak on behalf of Georgian winemaking. By showcasing the consistent quality we are changing the perception of Georgian wine on a global scale.

Teliani Valley has worked hard to enter its wines into major global wine competitions in order to get the recognition and profile it needs

International competitions are a great opportunity to promote authentic Georgian grape varieties and the combination of modern winemaking techniques and ancient heritage in order to celebrate the success and hard work of our winemaking team.

What do you think makes Georgian wines so interesting and gives them a point of difference?

Georgian wines can provide a unique experience for both wine lovers and professionals. It offers something that is very old, dating back many centuries, but is still waiting to be discovered.

What have been the big changes and improvements in Georgian wines in the last 10 years?

Georgian winemaking has made huge progress in the past decade. After the harmful history of Soviet winemaking, Georgia went back to its roots and invested and focused in on the its diverse local grape varieties. It studied its terroirs and wine regions, reinvented the use of ancestral winemaking in qvevris, and made big strides to improve the technical controls and overall quality of our wines. This hasbeen the reason behind our undoubted success in the last few years.

We have also invested in training and educating the young generation in winemaking. Giving them the opportunity to travel around the world and gain experience from working in famous wine counties. Being willing to compete in these major wine markets has opened our eyes and given us the guidance to help us improve and promote Georgia as the true cradle of wine.

Tradition and heritage has always been so important for Georgian people, but in last 10 years, we have added more technical understanding and elevated the quality of our traditional methods. It is now a powerful combination of inspiration from our past with the technical craft of winemaking in the modern era.

This process of rejuvenation has brought back the importance of native varieties and given us the inspiration to help promote the culture of artisanal winemaking which can be seen in our “Wine People” range of wines.This project has allowed us to join forces with small family producers and showcase our wines together on a bigger stage and offer it to people who can appreciate how unique these wines are.

What potential for growth do you think there is for Georgian wines?

Teliani Valley believes there is huge potential now for Georiga to build exports around the world

There is huge potential, despite some major challenges. In the UK we have been able to widen the distribution of our wines in the off-trade thanks to the great work of our importer Boutinot.

We believe Georgian grape varieties and wine styles are naturally suited for the UK palate. Take our white wines. Georgia is a mountainous country that makes predominantly white wines. Our fresh, crisp, succulent dry whites from Kisi, Khikhvi, Rkatsiteli are just a side step from UK favourites such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Picpoul de Pinet. Our red wine made from Saperavi is the Malbec of the Caucasus and believe it can do for Georgia what Malbec has done for Argentina.

Do you think there is more opportunity for reds, white or rosé wines - and why?

White and red wines are our strongest because they are similar in style to what we know the UK loves. And because we’re making great examples of them at quality and prices that can compete. Rosé we need more time with. We can make superb Georgian wine, complex and more like Tavel than Provence. But dry rosé is still emerging in Georgia: for many years we have focused on making easy-going semi sweet rosé. But this is changing.

For someone who does not know Georgian wine which wines are the best to start with and why?

Dry whites:

* Kisi - which is aromatic, fine, fresh – Georgia’s subtle answer to Sauvignon Blanc.

* Rkatsiteli blends which are versatile, textured, delicious oak-aged or fresh in stainless steel – think of it like the Chardonnay of Georgia.

* Khikhvi which is a western Grape, our answer to Albarino, and is delicious, mineral and fragrant.


* Saperavi for gorgeous, succulent, deep reds.

* We are alsovery excited by the re-emergence of pale, delicate reds such as Tavkveri and Otskhanuri Sapere which fit perfectly with the trend for lively reds such as Beaujolais, Cabernet Franc ‘glou glou’ wines.
Amber Qvevri:

* Kisi Qvevri is a wonderful example of this amber style, but also remember that Georgians enjoy amber wine fermented in stainless steel too: our Kakhuri No. 8 is one of our biggest-sellers in the UK. This more delicate and modern style of amber wine is an incredible wine to match food to. It goes with with everything.

What are your key export markets and how have you grown them?

Teliani Valley is one of a number of producers that have invested the time and money to plant the right varieties in the right areas to produce the best quality wines

We are building brands and developing the “Category of Georgian wine” around the world. Our key markets are the UK, US, Canada, Germany, Japan and we are developing in other countries. Teliani Europe GmbH - The representative office of the winery in Berlin, Germany, has been actively working on the distribution and promotion of Georgian wine since 2021.

We are looking to build a strong and sustainable partnership with our distributors and representatives all around the world. We are looking to work with them to build long-term success that will last for decades. Our team puts time and afford to broaden the horizons for Georgian wine and eventually make the world a little bit more Georgian.

How important is the UK and how are you working there?

It is very important. We designated it as a key strategic market in 2019 and invested time and resources before we even had an importer. We worked with marketing and wine consultants to help us understand what we needed to do to compete in the market.

We were very selective with the range we targeted for the UK, identifying six core wines from our portfolio and tweaked their blend and quality to put focus on freshness. We completely overhauled our packaging and brand, working with a UK-consultant and a young Georgian design agency to transform our image. We also worked hard to ensure we could meet a tier of price points that would work for an importer. We also invested in attending trade fairs, entering wine competitions and hosting our own branded events.

We were delighted to secure such a great importer as Boutinot, and we continue to support them in the market. Boutinot. They are ‘wine people’ just like us. They are savvy, realistic and passionate about wine and have secured so many great listings for our wines. They have also expanded the range they take from us. We love working with them and appreciate their drive and creativity. They give us a sustainable, long-term partnership and we are grateful to be working with them and their great team.

Sarah Abbott MW has worked with Teliani Valley, along with PR consultant Madeleine Waters, to ensure its wines and approach are right for the UK market

We invest in an ongoing press office, with Sarah Abbott MW and Madeleine Waters, and we have retained market consultant Cat Lomax to help us plan our program to develop national retail opportunities.

We also run staff training sessions for the sales team of our importer, Boutinot and hosted a team from Boutinot in Georgia this year. We are also thrilled to be collaborating with Chateau Mercian in Japan on an incredible sommelier wine-pairing dinner at two-Michelin starred Trivet in London this July, again thanks to the support of Boutinot.

We participate actively in all the National Wine Agency activities that are run in the UK, and retain MW Sarah Abbott to give us additional support.

We’re hugely committed to the UK market and are here for the long-term.

* If you would like to find out more about Teliani Valley then click here.