Wine Tourism in Georgia and Switzerland

Written by Ia Goliadze, Tebea Mindiashvili, Eva Maria Planzer & Flurin Bastian Tippmann, a collaboration between students of the Tbilisi State University and the University of Zurich

Viticulture, as a part of agriculture and tourism, thoroughly differs among nations by its structure and production methods. Some countries have their own traditions and specific directions toward the wine sector. Winemaking also has its economic load and perspectives by country. In this regard, it is quite compelling to compare how Georgia and Switzerland lead viticulture, what kind of methods they have, and how winemaking is worthwhile for the economic sector.

Georgia, located in Eastern Europe, is generally considered a country of diverse capabilities and a long history of being one of the rich natural resources in the Southern Caucasus region. With approximately three and a half million people, Georgia as an agricultural state has a significant role in promoting rural tourism (Karzig & Schweiter, 2022). According to National Geographic, Georgia's agritourism is mostly favored in the wine-producing sector, named as the "Cradle of Wine" (National Geographic, 2018).

Georgia has a competitive advantage among developed winemaking countries. More precisely, traditions of viticulture have an original varietal composition of wine production and accumulated unique experience is also another turning point for century-old wine history. Georgia's wine production is distinguished by 525 endemic grape varieties and roughly 30 types of grapes are used for commercial goals (Kutateladze & Koblianidze, 2021, pp. 18-19). Georgia has six main winemaking regions, most of them located in eastern Georgia.

Wine production, as a part of agritourism, is significant to promoting the process of diversification and the country's capital income. Wine is Georgia's fourth largest export product in Europe (ცაცკრიალაშვილი , 2019, pp. 28-31 ). Apart from this, wine tourism is special for the rural areas of Georgia, most of which are trying to maintain their identity and search for ways of employment.

Figure 1: The picture shows the vineyards in Lavaux, which is in the UNESCO World Heritage Listing (My Switzerland, 2023).

In comparison to Georgia, Switzerland also has its own wine-producing heritage, but the scale of wine production in Switzerland is still relatively small in comparison to other wine regions. In Switzerland, wine tourism has gained significance over the last few years, offering the tourists a great wine tradition and picturesque wine regions. Vineyards span over various regions of Switzerland including Valais, Ticino, and the Eastern part of the country. According to the Guardian, Switzerland is considered a worthwhile wine destination (Williams, 2019).

Cultural landscapes such as the Lavaux wine terraces (UNESCO World Heritage, see figure 1 above) in the French speaking part of Switzerland are considered a very significant element among all global tourism resources (Ruiz Pulpón & Cañizares Ruiz, 2019). The findings from Ruiz Pulpón and Cañizares Ruiz (2019) also demonstrate that the enduring cultural characteristics of vineyard landscapes, characterized by their heritage and aesthetic richness, can also ensure sustainable tourism, if suitable planning criteria are employed.

Eventually, we have seen that winemaking, to some extent, differs in both countries. Although for Georgia and Switzerland, winemaking works in its own way and both of them have their viticulture and experience, they appreciate their winemaking heritage and are trying to appeal to the world.


Literature:

Dimitrovski, D., & Joukes, V. (2018). Wine tourism in an agritourism context: Insight into agritourism providers' perceptions. Revista Turismo & Desenvolvimento, 27/28.

Karzig, M. & Schweiter, A. (2022). Agrotourism as an economic generator in rural areas in Georgia, MountainApp. Last seen 11/24/2023. Available at: https://www.mountainapp.net/blog/agrotourism-as-an-economic-generator-in-rural-areas-of-georgia.

Kutateladze, R. & Koblianidze, T. (2021). Wine tourism as a mechanism for rural and regional development of Georgia. Georgian Technical University.

National Geographic (2018). Discover the secret birthplace of wine. Last seen 11/24/2023 . Available At: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/sponsor-content-secret-birthplace-of-wine#:~:text=Georgia%20is%20generally%20considered%20the,it%20underground%20for%20the%20winter.

Ruiz Pulpón, A. R. & Cañizares Ruiz, M. C. (2019). The potential of Vineyard Landscapes for Sustainable Tourism. Geosciences, 9(11), 472. https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9110472

Williams, D. (2019) Wine tourism come of age. The Guardian. Last aeen 11/24/2023. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/aug/20/wine-tourism-comes-of-age?xing_share=news.

ცაცკრიალაშვილი, ც (2019) ღვინის ტურიზმი- მეღვინეობის ინდუსტრიის განვითარებისა და ახალი რესურსების გავლენის შესაძლებლობა . კავკასიის საერთაშორისო უნივერსიტეტი.(გვ 28–31) ხელმისაწვდომია : https://openscience.ge/bitstream/1/1778/1/Tsitsi%20Tsatskriashvili%20Samagistro.pdf.


Figure:

Colombo, R. Lavaux Vineyeards. My Switzerland. https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/experiences/lavaux-vineyards/ (accessed 25th November 2023).

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