The EU closely cooperates with Georgia to assist progress towards reforms that will help to strengthen the country and improve the living conditions for its citizens. Gender equality is at the heart of this cooperation. Supporting women’s initiatives in different areas, promoting a fair society where men and women have equal rights, and providing opportunities for quality education are key areas of focus for the EU’s support.
In this article, Georgian women share how they benefited from opportunities offered to them thanks to EU-Georgia cooperation. Their stories show how this cooperation is helping to change lives for women across Georgia on a practical level and make the country stronger.
Baia and Gvantsa: the winemakers turning a family tradition into a successful business
“Winemaking had always been our family business, but we used to make it for ourselves and not for commercial purposes,” says Baia Abuladze, a 24-year old winemaker from Obcha village in the Bagdati Municipality. “Then it became an interesting job for the younger members of the family and we took steps to turn our family’s tradition into a business.”
That business was Baia’s Wine. Launched in 2015, Baia’s products are already being sold not only in Georgia, but also in the EU. She runs the company with her sister Gvantsa, and the products they manufacture are famous wine brands in Imereti region: “Tsolikouri”, “Tsitska”, “Krakhuna”, “Otskhanuri Sapere”. Baia’s plans to also revive the production from a ‘lost’ vine that is not used in agriculture any more and has only been preserved in vitro.
Baia has received entrepreneurial support from the EU in the areas of informal education, the improvement of contacts, sales and the promotion of products. “I gave a presentation at the EU-supported conference for women-entrepreneurs and established some interesting contacts. The event was organised in Brussels by the WEgate platform supported by the European Commission,” she explains. Baia also took part in a training course in Ukraine organised by the European Training Foundation, where she learned about the types of assistance offered to women in different countries and the ways they succeed in enhancing their business.
In 2017, Baia’s Wine began to be exported to Austria with the help of an Austrian partner that Baia met at the International Wine Exhibition in Tbilisi. In January 2018, she gave a presentation at the international exhibition “Green Week Berlin”.
“The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) Agreement that Georgia signed with the EU helped our business a lot,” Baia says. “The tax rate for Georgian products exported to non-EU countries is very high. With European countries it is different now. The DCFTA was a good choice for Georgia. We were able to take wine to the exhibition in Berlin without paying any export tax.”
While Baia has been with the company since its inception, Gvantsa joined later and brought a wealth of new experience thanks to the year she spent with the European Voluntary Service programme in Sweden.
“Gvantsa has joined us with new and innovative ideas,” Baia says. “She not only manages our wine production, but is also involved in tourism development. She registered us on TripAdvisor, Booking.com and Airbnb. My sister has introduced the European experience and knowledge she gained into our environment.”
Author Gvantsa Nemsadze
This article was produced in the framework of the ‘EU NEIGHBOURS east’ project. The views expressed are solely those of the author of the article.