Mariam Gujabidze, the brand ambassador for IWSC Wine Judging in Georgia, discusses the significance of the previous competition and the avenues it opens for Georgian winemakers.
What stood out for you in last year’s competition?
From the outset, when the competition was announced, to its conclusion, several moments stood out. The most striking was undoubtedly the realization that such a distinguished international wine and spirits competition was taking place in Georgia. The International Wine & Spirit Competition, with its rich history spanning over fifty years, is among the most respected globally. Hosting it in Georgia was a monumental achievement for our wine industry.
It was particularly commendable to witness the rigorous standards upheld throughout by the IWSC team in Georgia. And one can’t overlook the staggering participation – 152 producers showcased 487 wines. This level of interest and engagement emphasized the competition’s relevance.
How does securing a medal at the IWSC bolster Georgian wine’s global standing?
With the competition being held in Georgia, our wines were thrust into the global limelight. Esteemed wine publications reported on the competition outcomes. Noted jury members from the international community shared their discoveries of unique wines. All of this facilitated not only the promotion of medal-winning wines but also solidified Georgia’s esteemed position in the global wine community.
What has this event done for the global reputation of Georgian wineries?
Historically, this was the first time Georgian producers could aspire to win such a prestigious international accolade on home soil. Many seized this opportunity. Winning not only adds to a wine’s reputation but also typically results in increased sales. An IWSC medal is a testament to a wine’s quality and taste, which aids winemakers when they discuss potential partnerships or sales. This recognition paves the way for new export markets and boosts the wineries’ prestige.
How did wine community respond to the previous year’s competition?
Feedback from the wine community was invaluable. Even those winemakers who didn’t secure a medal found the experience enriching. Every participant, medalist or not, received feedback from the jury on their wines. Many stressed the value of this feedback, vowing to integrate it in their future endeavors. As for our partners at IWSC, their commitment to holding the competition in Georgia again this year speaks volumes about the previous year’s success.
As the competition nears, what are your hopes for this year?
The anticipation is palpable among organizers, participants, and the wider industry. To underscore the event’s significance, let’s consider this: In past years, the IWSC received 56 wine entries from Georgia. Yet, after announcing the competition would be held in Georgia, this figure soared by 750%. The competition undeniably resonates with the industry. This year, we anticipate even more innovative wineries and wines gracing the event.
Any advice for winemakers eyeing this year’s IWSC Wine Competition in Georgia?
I urge winemakers to participate in what is more than just a competition. The IWSC is a global society devoted not only to recognizing the best but also to unveiling hidden gems. As evidenced last year, many winners were from smaller or mid-sized wineries. So, I’d encourage every winemaker to present their wine and seize the chance to shine at one of the world’s most esteemed competitions.