By Tika Bujiashvili

08.09.16 Kakheti Wine Region

The 1st UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism was opened on September 7th in Tbilisi. The conference was organized by World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in collaboration with the Georgian National Tourism Administration.

The conference had a unique and dynamic format in which the sessions took place in different wineries.
The first conference session was held on September 8th in “Khareba Winery”, Kakheti. Before that the guests visited the Alaverdi Monastery, famous for its wine.  The monk spoke about traditional wine-making practice. He said, that the wine is made of unique Kakhetian sorts of grapes using ancient way of winemaking-the Qvevri method.

Beside wine tasting the guests felt the history of XI century the Royal Monastery of Alaverdi, which represents a sacred place for the kings of Kakheti-Hereti area, as well as the dwelling and laboring place of saints and monks.

Opposite side of the monastery there is a Matsoni house. The guests also were able to taste delicious Matsoni with honey and walnuts.

After that the gusts visited the Khareba Winery in Kvareli. The first working session was opened by welcoming remarks by Georgia’s minister of economy Dimitry Kumsishvili and UNWTO’s Taleb Rifai.

Speakers also were:

Giovanni Mantovani, CEO, VeronaFlere and creator of VINITALTY

Janet Dorozynski, Trade commissioner, Canadian Wine, Beer and Spirits and Tourism, BBI, Global Affairs Canada

Ayana Mizawa, Chief winemaker, Chuo Budoshu Co,Ltd, Grace Wine

Mike Veseth, Wine economist, Professor Emertus of International Political Economy, University of Puget Sound

Gabrile Fidel, Wine Tourism Consultant

The main topic of the session was about the best practices in Wine Tourism. According to speakers, wine tourism represents a growing segment and Georgia has high potential and immense opportunities to diversify demand.  They also shared their best practices, experience and knowledge.

After the session the gust visited Khareba wine tunnel, where Qvevri was opened and the guests tasted qvevri wine, after that they could take part in making Khinkali, Georgian traditional dish, also they enjoyed making Churchkhela and baking Shoti-bread in tone.

Participants of the conference agreed that Gastronomy and wine have become key components for experiencing the culture and lifestyle of any destination and a growing travel motivation. History is part of the story, but it is also true that wine is an effective way to promote tourism and economic development. Come for the wine and food and stay for the people, culture, history and geography. Trade and investment flows may follow the wine route, too. Georgian officials appreciate this logic.

To be continued…