Never give up, never stop focusing on what you love to do, and keep trying again and again, until you succeed!
Baia Abuladze, Founder of Baia’s Wine
- Baia Abuladze is the youngest female winemaker in Georgia at 22 years old
- Established in 2015, Baia’s wine has been awarded an enterprise grant from the government and has already won a Silver medal at the Wine Grand Prix
- Baia is now looking to expand her business into exports and agritourism
Baia Abuladze is the founder of Baia’s Wine, a young but successful vineyard in Georgia. Established in 2015 when Baia was just 22, the company has focused on forging direct contacts with wine shops and restaurants and establishing a niche in the market. Building on her family’s historical involvement in wine production, Baia’s Wine has already achieved success and visibility by winning a silver medal at the Wine Grand Prix in Germany and has sold a large quantity of bottles in its first fiscal year. Baia would like to encourage other young women in Georgia to engage more with entrepreneurial opportunities, particularly in those sectors which may not immediately jump to mind for many women, such as agriculture.
WEgate: What does your company do?
Baia Abuladze: Baia’s Wine consists of a two-hectare vineyard and bottling plant in Obcha, Georgia. We produce and bottle a number of different wines, but a dry wine in particular as the micro-climate suits this type of wine perfectly. We mostly grow a local grape, Tsolikauri also known as Obchura, which is the main ingredient of our most popular dry white wine, Tsitsa-Tsolikouri. It can be purchased at several wine shops and restaurants in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.
What or who inspired you to start making your own wine?
From a young age I learnt about winemaking from my grandfather, whom my parents and siblings helped with the grape harvest every year. I was embarrassed to speak about my passion for winemaking with my friends from the city and could only dream of establishing my own production – but then I met Ms. Nino Zambakhidze. Nino is the head of the Georgian Farmer’s association and is an inspirational woman. I watched a video about the story of her dairy farm which inspired me to take my own dreams more seriously. When I finally met her, she explained that being a farmer was something to celebrate, not be ashamed of, and that is when I decided to change my life and follow my dream of producing my own wine at the age of 22.
What challenges did you face and did you have any support from others?
Although I am fortunate to have some family knowledge and experience in the field, I am also committed to making my company a sustainable and innovative business. I applied for an entrepreneurial grant from the Georgian governmental programme ‘Enterprise in Georgia’, for which I was awarded EUR 3 000. This was of huge help to Baia’s Wines as it meant we were able to start bottling our own wine and sell it directly to shops, restaurants and other customers.
The Georgian Farmer’s Association were also of help, not only thanks to their inspirational female leader, but also in terms of helping me to open communication channels with wine shops and restaurants across Georgia, particularly in Tbilisi.
How do you see your company growing and evolving in future?
Following our silver medal at the Wine Grand Prix in Germany, we are starting to see new potential for both export and tourist opportunities for Baia’s Wine. We would like to expand the vineyard in order to produce more bottles of wine, and we are also considering building a guesthouse in the village. We have already hosted some tourists from across the world, including via our Air BnB listing, but believe there could be even more opportunities to attract visitors to our village.
We can offer immersion into traditional Georgian life as well as learning about wine production and getting involved in the daily tasks of the farm. This will be beneficial not only for Baia’s Wines but also for the entire village and local economy in general. I see many opportunities for this type of growth in future.
What advice would you give to young women who want to become entrepreneurs?
My main advice to young women would be to be bold and ambitious – if you want to do something then you should follow your dreams, however unlikely they may seem. As the youngest woman winemaker in Georgia, I recommend being brave and innovative and showing determination despite opposition.
If at first you don’t succeed, then never give up and never stop thinking about what you love to do. Try and try again, and eventually you will succeed. I would also advise women to look into grant opportunities and to make contact with other female entrepreneurs, who may be able to inspire you, but also give you advice and help in achieving your goals.
What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
I love working with grapes alongside my family every day – and there is nothing better than enjoying a good glass of wine at the end of a hard day’s work, alongside delicious food and good company.