Georgian Winemaker Blends Ancient Traditions with Modern Innovation 

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
In Georgia, where winemaking dates back over 8,000 years, Davit Kvrivishvili is reviving ancient traditions in modern times. Georgia, often regarded as the cradle of viticulture, enjoys a storied history preserved in the grape seeds and qvevris—clay vessels used for fermentation and storage. This legacy is woven into the fabric of Georgian culture, earning recognition from UNESCO for its intangible cultural heritage.

Davit, a dedicated rural entrepreneur, cultivates his vineyard in the Sagarejo municipality of Kakheti, Georgia’s preeminent wine region. His vineyard spans 15 hectares, and six years ago, he established a winery capable of producing up to one million bottles of wine annually. Despite this potential, Davit has struggled to meet production targets due to limited demand.

Kakheti is renowned for its fertile soils and favorable climate, producing celebrated varieties like Saperavi (red) and Rkatsiteli (white). Yet, rural entrepreneurs in Georgia often face significant obstacles, including a lack of financial expertise and limited access to reliable advisory services. To address these challenges, the Rural SMEs Development Program (RSMEDP) has stepped in to support entrepreneurs like Davit.

Partnering with the Georgian Agri-tourism Regional Association (GARA), RSMED project has trained local accountants in Lagodekhi and Sagarejo municipalities, equipping them with the skills to provide essential financial advisory services to agri-tourism entrepreneurs. This initiative has been crucial for Davit, offering him the guidance needed to improve operational efficiency and secure investment resources.

Davit Kvrivishvili, winemaker

One pivotal recommendation was to harness the burgeoning trend of experiential tourism. With a growing number of visitors seeking immersive wine tasting experiences, Davit is now planning to introduce such services at his vineyard. To realize this vision, he is conducting financial assessments with a GARA-trained accountant, marking a significant step forward in his winemaking journey.

Davit Kvrivishvili's story exemplifies the resilience and ingenuity of Georgian winemakers. By integrating traditional methods with contemporary practices and leveraging financial advisory support, Davit is set to elevate his winery’s offerings. His dedication helps to solidify Georgia’s prestigious status in the global wine industry, ensuring that the ancient craft of Georgian winemaking thrives in the modern era.

The Rural SMEs Development Project (RSMEDP) is financed by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) and seeks to increase income and employment in rural Georgia in line with the Swiss Cooperation Programme South Caucasus Region 2022-2025. It achieves this through taking a market systems development approach to improve rural SMEs' access to finance and business support services. It is implemented by a consortium of Swisscontact, Mercy Corps and the Springfield Centre for business in development. 

Sustainable agriculture, Trade, Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Creating a better business environment for rural small and medium-sized (SME) enterprises in Georgia
The Rural SME Development project aims at creating a better business environment for rural SMEs and entrepreneurs in Georgia.