Country Location: Georgia
The Teliani story begins in the late 19th Century when Bordeaux-born winemaker and consultant Merle Antoine Mossano reinvented the Georgian
winemaking with the introduction of European wine making technology using native grapes.
The appellation.When you fly into the capitol of Tbilisi, at the top of Sololaki hill overlooking the old city, there is a monument to Georgia's national character called Kartlis Deda. In her right hand, she carries a sword to greet her enemies, and in her left hand, a bowl of wine to greet her friends. This is how you enter the country. Wine is so culturally entrenched that the Georgian alphabet is based on how the vine grows. It’s also a tall order to introduce The Republic of Georgia because the food, language, culture, winemaking, and even geography are all largely unknown to most of us. However, very few places have such a strong national identity that is something more than just patriotism, it’s about eating and drinking well despite a nearly non stop bombardment of their land for centuries. Nestled between the East and the West, it also has subtropical and alpine climates, the tallest mountains in Europe, and yet is smaller than South Carolina. The biodiversity is incredible here including roughly 500 indigenous grapes. It’s a truly special place with hints of Iran, Turkey, Greece, Russia, Armenia and others, but has then melded, edited and created something unique. Drinking the native grapes like this Sapeavi offers an opportunity to wet your beak and hopefully inspire you to dig a little deeper and explore this part of the world. Also, please go there. It’s amazing.
The people. The Teliani story begins in 1886-1887, when Prince Alexander Chavchavadze built a two-story “150 thousand-bucket winery” by decree of the Russian Emperor’s brother Michael Romanov. In addition to the winery, Romanov stipulated that a Bordelais man named Merle Antoine Mossano be a consultant after visiting him in France. Mossano worked in Georgia for 9 years and was the first to introduce European wine making technology to Georgia using native grapes. Before that, and still very much practiced today, wine was fermented and aged in large clay pots buried underground called “Qvevri.” After a century of winemaking, Teliani established a strategic relationship with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. In May of 2004 the winery received a full makeover with stainless steel, temperature control, and state of the art crusher, destemmers, and sorting tables. Currently, the winemaker is Temuri Dakishvili. Although only 21 years old, he started making wine at 11. He’s also a 4th generation winemaker in his family.