Interview With A Winemaker – Vladimer Kublashvili
22nd September 2023
Wine isn’t just made, it’s crafted by the unwavering expertise of a Winemaker, sometimes old traditions are passed down by generations and on other occasions, new people venture into the industry, introducing us to new creations, this series of Winemaker Interviews will help you uncover the vast world and skills of how the artists passionate about wine make the world a bubbly place.
In this feature we speak with Vladimer Kublashvili, an amazing Winemaker from Georgia, let’s discover a little about his time in the Georgian Wine Industry.
Tell Us About Yourself
“I’m Vladimer Kublashvili, a Georgian winemaker with 18 years of experience working in the wine industry. As I’ve been working for one of the biggest wine-producing companies “Winery Khareba” in Georgia for years, the journey has been full of possibilities, new challenges, and lots of interesting acquaintances. Being a winemaker has become a great chance for me to participate in worldwide events, like exhibitions, tastings, and competitions. I’ve been and still am a judge for several leading International wine competitions like Mundus Vini, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, Emozioni dal Mondo, International Qvevri Wine Competition, Saperavi International and etc. I’ve been working with famous winemakers and wine professionals on so many interesting projects while creating the wide range of assortment Winery Khareba has now.
As the consumption of wine is increasing every year, I decided to expand my field of study and graduated in Wine Management & Marketing at INSEEC. The main idea of becoming an MBA in wine was to have direct communications with final customers, study present demand, and create wines with even more passion. Nowadays I can say that I’ve been leading the international sales team in Winery Khareba for over 6 years already and I think being in touch with importers and distributors helped me to make wines that correspond perfectly with the need of the market and help Georgia and especially Winery Khareba to have a well-deserved place in the wine industry.”
What Inspired You To Become A Winemaker?
“The main passion of my childhood was travelling, and more precisely, knowing the world. So I wanted to become a sailor. It is noteworthy that my interest was largely driven by my grandfather, the geography teacher, with whom my knowledge of the universe has begun from the world map. My dream, to cross the oceans and seas, indirectly, but still came true. The caring grandfather asked me to look again at my choice and advised me that if I really wanted to know the culture of the people of the world and study the characteristics of the countries, to choose a profession that will lead me to not only travel the world but also give an opportunity to offer something valuable, unique like Georgian. That is where my interest in winemaking began.
In 2004 I graduated from the Agricultural University of Georgia with a degree in Oenology and in the same year became a student in the same master’s program. The lectures were delivered by well-known professors in Georgia. In 2005 I was a graduate course of Cranfield University, one of England’s best-known universities and was awarded a certificate in microbiology. That same year, I attended a wine chemistry course at Hohenheim University in Germany. And also took a special course on wine tasting at Magarich University in Ukraine.
In 2006, I began working as a young specialist at Winery Khareba. Despite the education and professional knowledge, I’d already gained by that time, the company has played a key role in shaping me as a practicing professional in winemaking.”
As A Winemaker, What Has Been Your Hardest Obstacle To Overcome In Producing Wine?
“There are many challenges for winemakers but to me, the biggest challenge is to maintain the characteristics of Georgian indigenous grape variety and typicity of Georgian wines consequently, but also keep up with the progress of the industry and correspond with the modern demand on the market. Because of climate change, the following has been the hardest obstacle to overcome.”
How Do You Determine When Your Wine Is Ready To Drink?
“Winery Khareba the company where I work as a chief winemaker, has one of the largest portfolios of Georgian wine. Our wines are mainly made from indigenous Georgian grape varieties, but stylistic point of view, they are different from each other. For example, in our portfolio, we have sparkling and international style wines, also Wines that are made with Qvevri vinification. As we make different wines for particular audiences, in our portfolio you can find the ones that should be consumed when they are young or others that need to age before the consumption. Generally, in Georgia we have grape varieties from reds like Saperavi, and from whites Tsitska or Rkatsiteli which enables us to make wines that can be aged for many years.”
What Part Of The Wine Making Process Do You Enjoy The Most?
“In winemaking, every stage counts, starting from the harvest date and ending with bottling. From this chain, if we need to choose, one of the most responsible points is alcoholic fermentation, but for me, the most enjoyable part of winemaking is blending. Nothing beats the excitement of how adding 1% or 2% of different lots of the same wines can completely change the whole assemblage and in sparkling wines mostly. Blending is a piece of art for me.”
Thank you Vladimer, for sharing your words, knowledge and experience with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!
Images belong to Vladimer Kublashvili. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission to use them.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.