Georgia has 8000 vintages under her belt, but not much more than 8 years of exporting to the UK market. Until 2006, the majority of Georgian wine was exported easily to eager markets in Russia and other countries of Eastern Europe, where Georgian wine is long famous and highly prized. In 2006, Russia banned imports of Georgian wine. It was seen at the time as a body blow to the Georgian wine industry, but (typically) the Georgians found triumph in disaster. Since 2007, Georgian winemakers have been focused on new export markets.
Gradually, Georgian wine is becoming more available in the UK, not just from excellent specialist importers, but also from high-street names including Marks and Spencer, and Waitrose.
A small and wonderful working marani – i.e., traditional Georgian Qvevri wine cellar – in the grounds of Plumpton College, the UK’s top wine-making university. Wines are now being made here using traditional Georgian methods, led by one of Georgia’s leading wine-makers and Qvevri professors. Students from Plumpton University’s wine courses have access to the marani.
Henry’s Marani also offers tours and tastings to the public and is a wonderful day out in Sussex. You can sample and buy the wines made using this 8,000 year old Georgian technology, now fully embraced by a new generation of wine-making students in a little corner of rural England.
This specialist importer has a great range, from highly regarded large producers such as Marani (including the award-winning “Satrapezo” range), to the estate-grown wines of the historic Château Mukhrani. New listings from artisanal qvevri specialists are due soon.
The UK importer and retailer of Kakhuri Gvinis Marani, one of Georgia’s biggest and most established wineries. This producer makes just about every style of Georgian wine, including superb qvevri wines, so this is a good place to get a feel for the range of terroirs and appellations from a single producer.
This new, exciting importer has been set up by the London-based brother of one of Georgia’s most dynamic young winemakers. They offer natural, low-intervention qvevri wine from their own estate (Natenadze Wines), and from those of like-minded wine-maker friends, Chubinidze and Natroshvili.
This respected importer of Central and Eastern European wines is now offering a carefully chosen range of wines from Georgian producer, Tbilvino. A great introduction to the diversity of Georgian wines, from whites, to amber, to red, at accessible prices.
Lucy Hewitt set up Proper Natural Wine after falling in love with Georgia and Nikalas Marani’s natural amber Kisi. After a prolonged stay in Georgia meeting many winemakers and tasting her way through the native grapes, regions and winemaking styles, Proper Natural wine was born with the first palette arriving from Georgia in July 2018.
Proper Natural Wines trades at Netil Market in Hackney and also sell to bars, restaurants and wine stores that have a focus on natural and unique wines. They currently work with 4 producers; Nikalas Marani in Kakheti, Dasabami in Kartli, Lapati in Sagarego and Archil Guniava in Imereti.
Theatre of Wine sells a range of exciting Georgian wine in three delightful shops in London, and also via mail-order (details on their website). Call ahead to check what is listed in each shop. Their wonderful staff are always happy to help.
The company is an important supplier to many of London’s best and most wine-savvy restaurants.
Possibly the best wine store in the world? This Mayfair wine shop is heaven for wine lovers, with a stunning range of wines at surprisingly accessible prices. Has a good range of Georgian wine in store, and sells nationally via the website.
A young, family-owned importer, Vitlen Wine offer a range of classic Georgian wines, from varietal Saperavi to famous appellations including Mukuzani. Order from their online store, or visit them at their regular stall at Canopy Market, Kings Cross, to taste and chat before you buy.
One of the UK’s most influential importers of natural and low intervention wine, Les Caves offer a small but impressive selection of Georgian wines from small producers, including Pheasant’s Tears, and Iago’s Wine. They are also a founder and host of the Real Wine Fair.