Meet The French Investor who Planted Table Grapes in Sartichala
Last year, French investor Jacques Flourier, who has been based in Georgia for 25 years, planted table grape vineyards in Sartichala, a 30-minute drive from Tbilisi.
"We have brought the world's highest technologies in the production of table grapes. We have 4 different varieties, 2 of they have no grape pips and there is a great demand for them in a specific market.
These plantations were planted in April 2020, 15 months ago, and we already have a crop, so production is very fast. The investment is made per hectare, which is 10 times more than all other traditional investments in Georgia. We are talking about 35,000 euros per hectare. This technology comes from the province of Puglia in the Italian city of Bari, where the world produces the best grapes, and I think we will revolutionize the market in this field in Georgia.
The quality of the grapes is special, since it is not watery, it is quite solid in consistency. You can literally cut how apples. It is also very sweet. We have discovered and I think the climate and soil here are distinctive.
Only in the Italian province of Puglia will you meet such quality. If you buy the same variety of grapes in Sicily, the quality will be unsatisfactory and I think we are approaching the highest level in the world and this is still the first year. So in the second or third year the production will be much better, although we can reduce it a bit and increase the size of the grapes, but the very first year looks quite promising for Georgia."
Surprisingly, even in a country where so many grapes are produced, 2,000 tons of table grapes a year come from Armenia or Azerbaijan. So our goal is to replace this import. Even the current quality is much better than what is brought to Armenia. In Georgia, too, people are slowly beginning to switch to these varieties, and this is the great revolution of the 21st century in the consumer market of unripe grapes. It does not have pips and is also of solid consistency. It is therefore a completely different breed, though it must be tested to understand the difference.
I think we will be concentrated on the Georgian market for a year or two, but as soon as we increase production, we will export. We have great potential for export, as grapes of this variety are imported throughout Russia and Europe from Italy or Spain. So we can compete to the same degree."