Posted on the Wine Artisans wine blog dd. 15/07/2021. Read the original article.

Signed by many well-known wine-makers, today Georgia’s independent cellars circulated a special appeal. They condemn homophobia, intolerance of minorities and violence, and declare full support to the westernization of the country. The letter regrets that the current government is stirring up homophobia, violence and anti-Western sentiments. Winemakers call on the authorities to severely punish the perpetrators and ensure that citizens’ constitutional rights are protected.

The letter is also signed by several researchers and wine bloggers and was circulated by Andro Barnovi, the founder and wine-maker of the Association “Wine Artisans”. 

The letter was first published on July 12 on social networks and was spread to the media on July 15, after collecting a certain number of signatures. The collection of signatures continues.

The letter is available at the following link: https://forms.gle/1gvWb29xFucqGhTo7

Georgian Winemakers Appeal
Against Homophobia and Violence, and for Western Integration
July 11, 2021

The Georgian winemakers who have added their signatures to this letter appeal to you all: our fellow citizens, connoisseurs of our wine, people who know our way of life, our friends, insiders of our world, partners, professionals, aspirant winemakers, generations both old and new. We are people who keep, create and represent winemaking – one of the most important traditions of our country. It is a major part of our national identity as well as Georgia’s business card.

The vast majority of the signatories to this letter are owners of small wineries across the country. We do this work not just for business, but out of love to our country and our traditions. We all share a natural interest in viticulture and winemaking, and believe that we are making an honest contribution towards the development of our homeland.

People of different professions shape the future of this country. It is of vital interest to our society – of every member – that peace, economic growth and development are ensured to create long-term conditions for the prosperity of our citizens. Civil strife, intolerant attitudes and internal tensions affect winemaking and every other sector of our economy. Such conditions wreak havoc on what each sector has worked for so long and so hard to achieve, destroying the image we have built over the years, leading to a loss of markets and a blow to tourism, which will ultimately affect the pockets and well-being of all of our citizens.

Reaching Western markets was decisive for the reinvention of winemaking in Georgia. The forced reorientation from Russian markets has been an excellent service to the development of our industry. Today, not only do we sell wine at a higher price, but we produce a much better product while firmly establishing ourselves in the global wine family, which we were unjustly exiled from after the Bolshevik occupation. Today we contribute to a much larger segment of the Georgian economy than we did 10, 15, 20 years ago.

Economic and social development are directly linked to the degree of freedom that persists in the country. Freedom is crucial in all aspects: as a moral and philosophical principle, and as a motive force to every sphere of public life. Diversity, tolerance, peace, and social capital are just a few of the benefits freedom offers society. It is both disturbing and totally unacceptable when the lively and compelling image of western-oriented Georgia is maligned into an image of disunity, intolerance, chaos, and backwardness. This baseness will bury all sectors of our economy and ravage our society and state.

As we sign this letter we hope the public will see similar responses from other professional circles. We believe it is our duty as a part of a healthy society to openly declare our position and show that business and creative sectors of Georgian society strongly condemn homophobia, violence and anti-Western sentiments, which are unfortunately cultivated by the current government.

We have seen the destructive consequences of intolerance towards minorities and how the attitude leads to economic and spiritual stagnation. We believe that our state’s number one responsibility is to protect the constitutional rights of its citizens. Those who have called for or committed acts of violence in the name of homophobia and intolerance must be held accountable before the law regardless of the sectors they represent: government, clerical or private.

By signing this letter, we declare that the most precious thing for us is the sovereignty and development of our country, the freedom of our citizens, the provision of our constitutional rights, the protection of civil peace and unwavering integration with the West where we have historically always belonged. We Georgian winemakers will always make personal decisions in the public arena according to these principles!

Signatories:

1. Aleko Sardanashvili, Sadranashvili Wine Cellar
2. Aleko Tskitishvili, “Tchortauli Vineyards”
3. Aleksi Tsikhelishvili, Tsikhelishvili Wine Cellar, owner
4. Ana Cheishvili, Historian, Courator of Cultural Heritage
5. Ana Khitarishvili, LTD Vitis
6. Andro Barnovi, Association “Wine Artisans”, founder, wine-maker
7. Anton Khetsuriani, Marani Khetsuriani, viticulturist
8. Archil Guniava, Archil Guniava Wine Cellar
9. Archil Kapanadze, wine-maker
10. Avtandil Bedenashvili Wine Manufacture
11. Beka Lachkepiani, “Wine Artisans”, wine-maker
12. Beka Nasrashvili, Nasrashvili Family Winery, director, wine-maker
13. Daria Kholodilina, Wine Junkies, co-founder
14. Data Mgeladze, “Artisani” winery, wine-maker
15. David Katchkatchashvili, “Nukriani” winery, wine-maker
16. David Mosulishvili, “Dano” winery
17. Eka Botkoveli, LTD “Bekauri Vineyards”, Lab manager
18. Elene Melikdize, ElenQVino, founder
19. Enek Peterson, Freya’s Marani
20. Gela Danelia, LTD Danelia & Co 1907, owner
21. George Sky winery “Rtoni”, wine-maker
22. Gia Chubinidze, winery “NANUA”
23. Gia Togonidze, LTD Togonidze Wine, founder, wine-maker
24. Giorgi Babunashvili, corporation “Georgian Wine, commercial director
25. Giorgi Ghvaladze, “Giorgi and Irakli Wine Cellar”
26. Giorgi Ghvardzelashvili, “Ghvardzelashvili Wine Cellar”
27. Giorgi Giorgadze, “Sazano’s Marani”
28. Giorgi Kublashvili, wine-maker
29. Giorgi Maisuradze, Vinotheca, Sommelier
30. Giorgi Malatsidze, Tedzami Wines, founder
31. Giorgi Meshveliani, Winery Giorgino, founder
32. Giorgi Mkhatvrishvili, Mkhatvrishvili Wine Cellar, wine-maker
33. Giorgi Mshvenieradze, Mshvenieradze Winemaking
34. Giorgi Paroshin, LTD “Digimeda”, director
35. Gogita Makaridze, Makaridze winery, founder
36. Guja Japaridze, “Japara”, wine-maker
37. Iago Bitarishvili, wine-maker
38. Ioseb Mukhiguli, “Mukhiguli 1770”, founder
39. Irakli Qiliptari, “Qilipa’s Chacha”
40. James Ricard, horticulture consultant/biologist
41. Kakha Berishvili, wine-maker
42. Kakhi Pareshishvili, “Kakhis Ghvino” winery
43. Keto Ninidze, family wine-cellar “Oda”
44. Keto Puturidze, Keto Puturidze Wine, wine-maker
45. Levan Andronikashvili, Andronikashvili Winery, wine-maker
46. Luka Alughishvili, LTD “Kumbati”, founder
47. Luka Begiashvili, winery “Anaguri, founder
48. Manana Akhvlediani, LTD “Madamwine”, founder
49. Marina Kurtanidze, wine “Marina”, owner
50. Mikheil Mghebrishvili, wine-maker
51. Mikheil Tchonishvili, “Chona Winery”
52. Natia Gachechiladze, “Wine Club”
53. Nika Vacheishvili, Nika Vacheishvili Wine Cellar, wine-maker
54. Niko Totladze, “2 Qvevri”
55. Nini Chkheidze, wine-consultant
56. Nino Chitoshvili, cellar “Chitos Ghvino”, founder, wine-maker
57. Nino Guniava, “Archil Guniava Wine Cellar”
58. Nino Mirotadze, “Village Wines”
59. Nino Nadiradze “Two Sisters”
60. Nodar Toronjadze, “The Ten Bells”, bartender
61. Nukri Kurdadze, viticulturist, wine-maker
62. Paata Alaverdashvili, “Movaneba”wine
63. Paul Rimple, “Meet Me Here”, owner
64. Rezi Tsetskhladze, wine-maker
65. Rezo Getiashvili, viticulturist, wine-maker
66. Rezo Kvatchrelishvili, “Naotari”, co-founder
67. Salome Khardzeishvili, Georgian wine-maker in the Czech Republic
68. Shio Maisuradze, “Arbos Marani”, wine-maker
69. Shorena Botchorishvili, LTD Ghvenakhe, founder, viticulturist
70. Sophio Nikabadze, wine blogger
71. Tako Zhuruli, Zhuka-Sano Wine, viticulturist, wine-maker
72. Tamar Botchoridze, “Rotcho Vineyards”, Director-General
73. Tamar Eristavi, “Eristavi Wine”, owner
74. Tornike Chubinidze, “Chubini” wine cellar, founder, wine-maker
75. Tornike Lomtadze, Lomtadze Winery in Velistsikhe
76. Tsotne Japaridze, “Japaras Marani”, founder
77. Winery “Tevri”
78. Zaur Natsvlishvili, cellar “Mzetevani”, founder, viticulturist, wine-maker
79. Zaza Jakeli, LTD “Jakeli Organic Vineyards and Wines”, founder
80. Zaza Shavtvalishvili, viticulturist
81. Zurab Khvtisiashvili, LTD Khvtisia
82. Zurab Maisashvili, “Ghvinuka”, founder
83. Zurab Sadagashvili, wine-maker

Delen