The ambassador role will support and promote the strategic campaign efforts by educating trade, press and consumers on the winemaking culture of the country of Georgia
New York, NY, May 13, 2022 – Wines of Georgia, the organization that represents and promotes the wines of the country of Georgia and financed by the National Wine Agency of Georgia, which is a legal entity under the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, and the country’s wineries, is thrilled to announce that Christy Canterbury, MW, has been named Campaign Ambassador. She will represent the region in the US market through a number of educational events for trade and press, and provide overall campaign support and promotion. Activities will include media lunches, virtual trade tastings, a trade trip to the country and trade events such as TEXSOM, among other projects.
“We are very happy to be working with Christy Canterbury, MW, as our Campaign Ambassador,” stated Tamar Metreveli, Head of Marketing and PR for Wines of Georgia. “Her expertise and extensive experience in the wine industry will bring positive attention to and interest in Georgian wines through her educational activities and participation in our campaign events. We are confident that her work will introduce Georgian wines and the rich winemaking history and culture to a wider audience.”
Christy Canterbury is a Master of Wine and the seventh woman in the US to earn the title. She is a New York City-based journalist, speaker, media host and critic. In 2014, she was short-listed for the Roederer Online Wine Communicator of the Year Award, and her work has been published in Decanter, Wine Enthusiast, Wine-Searcher, TimAtkin.com and in many other outlets around the world. She was the Consulting Editor of the GOURMAND AWARD-winning book, Rock and Vine, as well as editor of other wine and cuisine-focused books. Her recent speaking appearances have included Wine Masters TV Classes and Documentaries, PairCraft, Chief Wine Officer events, the Women in Wine Leadership Symposium, ViniSud, ProWein, VinExpo, TEXSOM, the Napa Valley Wine Academy and other events, both domestic and international. She is a Panel Chair at the International Wine Challenge and has judged many other competitions, including Decanter World Wine Awards, Ultimate Wine Challenge and TEXSOM International Wine Awards, among others. Previously, Christy has directed extensive wine programs for fine-dining restaurant groups, including Smith & Wollensky and Culinary Concepts by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. She has also consulted on numerous wine lists, as well as directed wine purchasing programs for leading retailers Zachys and Italian Wine Merchants.
Georgia is recognized as the birthplace of wine, with winemaking dating back 8,000 years. Home to more than 500 indigenous grape varieties, Georgia has nearly 55,000 hectares (nearly 136,000 acres) of vineyards, with 55% planted to white varieties and 45% to red, with the majority planted in the Kakheti region in eastern Georgia. The two most prominent grape varieties are Rkatsiteli (white) and Saperavi (red). Wine is produced using both traditional Georgian varieties and methods in qvevri (large clay vessels), as well as European varieties and winemaking methods.
One focus of the campaign is introducing American wine trade, press and consumers to native Georgian varieties, such as Saperavi.
“Saperavi is ancient and thoroughly Georgian,” notes Canterbury. “Yet, like Rkatsiteli, it takes well in other vineyard environments. It’s high in everything: deep color, bold flavor, crisp acidity and firm tannins. This gives the best ageability. Saperavi is used in dry, semi-sweet and fortified wines, and it can be aged in qvevri or in barrels. Notably, it is one of the rare teinturier grapes (with both red flesh and skin).”
Saperavi is a red grape variety native to the country of Georgia, where it is used to make many of the region’s most well-known wines. Originating in the Kakheti region of eastern Georgia, it is now grown throughout the entire country’s wine-growing regions. Saperavi is by far the most prominent red grape variety in Georgia. It is used to create both single-varietal wines, as well as blended with other varieties. Saperavi grapes are used predominantly in Georgia, but have spread to other regions in Eastern Europe. Saperavi cultivars are also being grown in New World wine regions, notably in the Finger Lakes region of New York.
American wine consumers are gaining interest in the variety, as evidenced by the First Annual Saperavi Festival taking place on May 14 in the Finger Lakes. Organized by Saperica Inc., the event will be held at the Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery in Hammondsport, NY. The festival brings together producers of native Georgian varieties from both Georgia and the Finger Lakes region with tastings and authentic Georgian cuisine. Educational seminars will also be held for trade and media.
Lasha Tsatava, Co-Founder of Saperica and organizer of the event, notes, “When I told people the story of Saperavi and its connection to Georgian culture and the history of wine, I could see their eyes light up. We want to grow that feeling.”
About Wines of Georgia
Wines of Georgia is a promotional campaign financed by the National Wine Agency of Georgia and wineries to educate the US wine trade and general public about the history, culture, quality and universal appeal of Georgian wines and the country’s qvevri winemaking tradition.