“Winemaking had always been our family business, but we used to make it for ourselves and not for commercial purposes,” says Baia Abuladze, a 24-year old winemaker from Obcha village in the Bagdati Municipality. “Then it became an interesting job for the younger members of the family and we took steps to turn our family’s tradition into a business.”
That business was Baia’s Wine. Launched in 2015, Baia’s products are already being sold not only in Georgia, but also in the EU – with the support of the EU’s EU4Business initiative. She runs the company with her sister Gvantsa, and the wines they produce are famous varieties in the Imereti region – Tsolikouri, Tsitska, Krakhuna, Otskhanuri Sapere. Baia also plans to revive production from a ‘lost’ variety of vine that is not used in agriculture any more and has only been preserved in vitro.
Baia has received entrepreneurial support from the EU in the areas of informal education, the improvement of contacts, sales and the promotion of products, through participation in the EU-funded East Invest programme. “I gave a presentation at the EU-supported conference for women-entrepreneurs and established some interesting contacts. The event was organised in Brussels by the WEgate platform supported by the European Commission,” she explains.
Baia also took part in a training course in Ukraine organised by the European Training Foundation, where she learned about the types of assistance offered to women in different countries and the ways they succeed in enhancing their business.
In 2017, Baia's Wine began to be exported to Austria with the help of an Austrian partner that Baia met at the International Wine Exhibition in Tbilisi. In January 2018, she gave a presentation at the international exhibition ‘Green Week Berlin’.
“The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) Agreement that Georgia signed with the EU helped our business a lot,” Baia says. “The tax rate for Georgian products exported to non-EU countries is very high. With European countries it is different now. The DCFTA was a good choice for Georgia. We were able to take wine to the exhibition in Berlin without paying any export tax.”
While Baia has been with the company since its inception, Gvantsa joined later and brought a wealth of new experience thanks to the year she spent with the European Voluntary Service programme in Sweden.
"Gvantsa has joined us with new and innovative ideas,” Baia says of her sister. “She not only manages our wine production, but is also involved in tourism development. She registered us on TripAdvisor, Booking.com and Airbnb. My sister has introduced the European experience and knowledge she gained into our environment.”
Author: Gvantsa Nemsadze
This article was produced in the framework of the ‘EU NEIGHBOURS east’ project.