When hearing of Georgia, most Americans think of the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution. But while the state is famous for its peaches, the country in Southwest Asia is better known for its grapes and has produced wine for about 8,000 years.
Sunnyvale’s Qvevri Wine Georgia has been selling wine from the country of Georgia since 2021.
The owners, Giorgi and Tatiana, immigrated to America in 2016.
“At that time, we didn’t have any kids,” said Tatiana. “[But during the pandemic], I got laid off from my full-time job.”
Instead of looking for a new job, the couple focused on bringing Georgian wine to America.
“It’s really awesome wine that we started selling here,” said Tatiana. “Now we have a contract with small stores, wine shops. We have our wine in Georgia’s restaurants and in some restaurants in San Francisco.”
“We are building our way through and trying to do what we wanted – to introduce our wine to as many people as possible,” continued Tatiana.
In a state with a well-established wine industry, the motive may seem unusual.
“Archeologists believe Georgia is the birthplace of wine,” Tatiana explained. “Georgia has been doing its wine in huge clay [qvevri] pots that it buries underground. They put everything inside. The fermentation begins with wild yeast in that huge clay pot. So, that’s a unique way of doing wine. Way before all the barrels even existed, the clay pots were there.”
“And that made us think, this is not a Chardonnay and this is not a Pinot Noir,” continued Tatiana. “Georgia has over 500 different grape varieties that are grown in Georgia. Basically, we are not competing with Chardonnay from, say, Napa Valley, because this grape is at least originally from Georgia.”
“I think that was the main reason [for starting our business] – how Georgia is undiscovered even though it has such a huge history of winemaking,” said Tatiana.
For many in the Bay Area, diversity is so common it is forgotten. To the founders of Qvevri Wine, the Bay Area was a fertile place for introducing something from a culture most Americans hardly knew.
“People come from all over the globe here,” said Tatiana. “Basically, the Bay Area is a huge melting pot of different people from everywhere. And they all come here, and everything is new for them. Chardonnay from Napa is also new for them, right? So maybe they would also try something new from Georgia.”
“A lot of people feel the same way as we do,” said Tatiana. “They’re buying the wine. They’re amazed with the history; they’re amazed with the quality of the wine and how it’s done.”
According to Tatiana, there still is a sense of fellowship as a small business owner in a region that Hewlett-Packard, Yahoo! and eBay call home.
“When we started selling our wine, I reached out to various chambers of commerce and they’ve been a huge help for us,” said Tatiana. “We’ve been doing wine by the glass at the farmer’s market. We’ve been doing Taste of Mountain View and other festivals that the city organizes.”
“When you tell people you’re delivering wine after dropping your kids off at the daycare, everyone laughs. Everyone feels, ‘been there, done that,’” said Tatiana. “You feel the support of people in this city when you’re telling your story, how much you’ve struggled, the many different challenges you’ve had.”
“Every time you buy from a small business, you are helping a mom and dad and their kid, basically,” she said. “This is a really fun journey and I’m really glad we’re here and doing it in Silicon Valley.”
To find out more about Qvevri Wine Georgia, visit the business website at www.qvevriwinegeorgia.com.