The story of our company begins in early sixties of the twentieth century, namely in 1962, when one of the most powerful wine factories in the Soviet Union was launched. That was the year Tbilisi held its 10th International Congress of Winegrowers.
For years the factory remained an essential part of the Soviet winemaking industry (nine of ten bottles of wine sold inside the country and abroad were made in this factory). In the early 1990s it emerged as an independent wine company with new philosophy and approaches that still is undergoing substantial development both in its infrastructure and in the growing sophistication of its wines.
We believe that we should be responsible for every bottle of wine made in our company. Consequently, we track closely the whole process of winemaking, from the vineyards to the consumer. Our aim is to create sophisticated wines that make difference.
As one of the pioneers of the new Georgian winemaking history, our ambition is to produce top quality, even in these challenging times. We are convinced that our wines must be the carriers of the new winemaking philosophy that will take Georgian winemaking traditions further, thus establishing and strengthening the image of a country with thousands of years of winemaking tradition.
Our First Harvest
1999 was the year of our first harvest. In that year we went to the renowned wine region of Kakheti with our ambition of reviving Georgian wine-making. Our vision was to create wines based on our then radical new philosophy - that grapes were as essential as wine material. We wanted to strengthen Tbilvino by investing our funds and energy in every aspect and stage of the winemaking process. We emerged with a new face and new brands that hit the Georgian market in the following year.
In 2002, we made our first special reserve Saperavi followed by Tsinandali and Mukuzani in 2004. The same year marked the launching of an alternative trade- mark - Georgian Valleys, with seven bestseller brands, (today Georgian Valleys boasts fourteen brands). New markets kept emerging and by 2005 the Tbilvino sales hit a record 1.5 million bottles.
2006, the year of Russian embargo, was a difficult one for Tbilvino and other Georgian wine companies. Russia was the biggest consumer of Georgian wine as is evident from the figures - around 50 per cent of Georgian alcoholic products were sold in Russia. It took us almost three years to regroup, diversifying our sales and emerging in 2008 as strong as in previous years. From our starting point in international markets in 2005, our wines were now sold in18 different countries.
2008 was also important for other reasons – in that year we renovated our factory. We introduced new technologies, new equipment, new laboratory and new line. We also became more compact by cutting the production space from 5 to 1 hectare, making the whole process a lot easier for us.
In 2006 Tbilvino was awarded its first important international awards. That was the year when Georgian winemaking industry said farewell to the Soviet style encouragements for excellence. Ironically, when Moscow was in the process of banning all wine imports from Georgia, Tbilvino received an award for excellence from Russian “Wine Cart” magazine.
The same year our wines did extremely well in London’s IWSC and Decanter competitions and other international competitions. While in 2006 we owned only to medals for excellence, by the next year it had increased to six. The figure went up to 11 in 2008 and 14 in 2009.
We actively use the experience of international winemakers in creating our products. Starting from 2002, we have worked closely with winemakers from France, Australia and Italy, among them David Morrison, Carlo Arnulfo, Nick Spender and Jeff Aston. Their philosophy has helped us to shape our style and approaches.