Being a highly recognised wine brand, TBILVINO has continued successful operation, with 7% annual growth on both international and local markets, even during the face of the pandemic. With the top-notch experience in winemaking and outstanding management, the company has been recognised by one of the most prestigious awards, International Wine Challenge, as it’s Saperavi was deemed the champion of the year. The FINANCIAL reached out to Zurab Margvelashvili to find out more about the company's activities.
Q: What were the statistics regarding export in 2020 and which were the top countries?
A: Despite the global challenges, TBILVINO has had a 7% increase year over year, shipping more than 5 million bottles, an outstanding indicator for shareholders and brand-loyal customers. The initial pandemic measurements and the reorganizing process begun before the state of emergency was announced. The company needed to have developed an anti-crisis marketing budget, based on which it would be possible to maintain the dynamics of prices and sales. TBILVINO, which has partners in more than 30 countries around the world, had some of them stopped while others were forced to reduce their activities. The major markets for the company are: Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, we have partners in USA, UK, Europe.
Q: What was the look of in-boarder sales, how did it coincide with your projections and was there any growth?
A: As pandemic caused some economic problems within and outside the local market and the national currency had a trend of depreciation, it was becoming evident that tough times were ahead. The government shutdown forced bars, restaurants and hotels and many other establishments to be closed for several months, therefore stepping into the digital world seemed to be one of the only solutions to the problem. TBILVINO created an online store and cooperates with delivery services, which was the way to keep customers interested, with our beneficial promotions.
Q: Elaborate on the received award, how special of a remark is that for the company?
A: Over the years, the company has consistently received more than 20 awards at prestigious international competitions, but 2020 has been a year of particular significance. It was at the International Wine Challenge in London among the leading wine-making countries (Australia, Italy, Spain, France), where TBILVINO’s Saperavi was recognized as the red wine Champion of the Year. The victory that remarks the highest pinnacle of achievement of the company that represents the very birthplace of wine, brings the greatest joy to us and the partners worldwide. Tbilvino has won 31 awards in 2020, including the gold medal at the International Wine Challenge in London, received by Mukuzani Special Reserve with 95 points and the gold medal at Decanter 2020 in London, won by Mukuzani. The significant recognition reflects the prestige of Georgian wine in the international market which has been accomplished by growing our vineyards, adopting the latest equipment, constant improving technological know-how and having an elite team of professional and dedicated employees. These are the values that will always be reflected in the quality of TBILVINO wines.
Q: What were pre and post-covid measurements, how did the company adjust to the pandemic situation? What was the step towards upgrading online shops and how did customers respond?
A: During the first wave of the pandemic - 2 months in, Tbilisi and at the Kvareli factory production were the only establishments working, according to the recommendations of the Ministry of Health. Departments were immediately switched to remote work, the setup which we continue till this day. The online store has been operating since June and we have been constantly optimizing all delivery channels and courier services.
Q: How many tons of grapes has Tbilvino processed this year and what was the production like?
A: In 2020 TBILVINO has managed to process the highest volume of grapes throughout our history, by investing in modern technologies, implementing novel methods of harvesting, and increasing the number of professionals.
Currently, TBILVINO owns 303 ha of vineyards in among the best terroirs of Kindzmarauli, Mukuzani, and Tsinandali micro-zones. With the help of supportive, caring, and qualified staff who are equipped with for seasonal vineyard care - timely and consecutive processes are well managed. Owning vineyards gives the possibility to not only control the whole production chain but to choose between different areas of land and categorize grapes for particular wines, which results in a quality that is being recognised worldwide.
Q: What was the story behind the animation and how did the creative team come up with the idea?
A: The project was born by reviving the richest Georgian winemaking history, dating back to 6000 BC. While being recognised as the oldest winemaking country brings pride among Georgians, we must also remember that the future for winemaking will be no less impressive. TBILVINO contributes to the popularization of Georgian wine by absolutely loving the winemaking process, which is reflected in maintaining the top-notch quality.
The production for the animation took 6 months, while the workflow began with our idea and a creative concept by communications agency Hans & Gruber. The historical details of the script were verified with the help of archaeologist David Naskidashvili. We were advised by palynologist Eliso Kvavadze, archaeologist Yulon Gagoshidze and linguist Levan Kochlamazashvili. Visualization of characters and landscapes was created by the art director of Hans & Gruber, Giorgi Magradze Artman, and it was brought to life by ANIMATORY studio. The musical composition is the work of Postred.