We Condemn and Distance Ourselves fromHomophobia, Violence and Anti-Western Sentiments! – Winemakers

Pro-Western winemakers of Georgia issue an appeal:

”Georgian winemakers, who join this letter, address you all, our fellow citizens, our wine drinkers, connoisseurs and people who know our way of life, our friends, people who know and share the nuances of our work, partners, professionals, amateurs, old or new generations. We address you as the people who continue, create and represent one of the most important traditions of our country, winemaking as an important part of our national identity and the business card of the country.

Most of the signatories to this letter are winemakers who own small wineries, for whom, the main goal of this business was never to make money. We follow this line of work with the love of our country, traditions, with interest that is in our blood in viticulture and winemaking and the realization that we play an important and valuable role in the development of our beloved country, where we honestly lay our share of the bricks.

We create the present and the future of Georgia, with people of different professions, we develop and demonstrate the best of our fields. Our society, each of us, needs peace, economic growth and development to create the long-term conditions necessary for our well-being. Any civil strife, intolerance of each other, internal tensions affect both winemakers and every sector of our economy. The problem is not so much the damage to our pockets as the delay in the development of each sector, the collapse of the image built over the years, the loss of market place and the death of tourism, which will ultimately affect the pockets and well-being of our citizens.

Going to Western markets was crucial for the development of winemaking. Forced reorientation from Russian markets has done an excellent service to the development of our industry. Today, not only do we sell wine at a higher price, but we produce a much better product and firmly establish ourselves in the world winery, from which we were unjustly expelled after the Bolshevik occupation. Today we feed a much larger segment of the Georgian economy than we could 10-15-20 years ago. The development of our field depends on our value and business connections with the West, which is a source of knowledge and nourishes Georgian winemaking with ideas and new creative impulses.

The development of both the economy and society in general is directly dependent on the degree of freedom in the country. Freedom is crucial in all aspects – as a moral and philosophical principle as well as giving special dynamism to any sphere of public life. Diversity, tolerance, peace, social capital … is an incomplete list of all the benefits that freedom brings to society. It is dangerous and in principle completely unacceptable for the country when the image of Georgia, from a dynamically developing, very interesting Western country, turns into a symbol of internal division, intolerance, chaos, backwardness. It will eventually bury all sectors of our economy, severely hurting our society and state.

We are signing this letter in the hope that the public will see other similar responses from various professional circles. We believe that it is our duty as a part of the society, together with other professional groups, to state our position and show that we, the business and creative part of the Georgian society, strongly distance ourselves and condemn homophobia, violence and anti-Western attitudes, which, unfortunately, the current government endorses.

We believe that our biggest enemy is intolerance toward minorities, which has had dire consequences in the past and will only threaten us with destruction and stagnation in the future. We also believe that the state must strictly protect the rights guaranteed to citizens by the Constitution and hold those accountable before the law who show signs of homophobia, intolerance, commits or calls for violence, be it a secular person or a clergyman, a government official, a businessman or a layman.

By signing this letter, we declare that the most precious thing for us is the development and identity of Georgia, the freedom of each of our citizens, the provision of constitutional rights, the protection of civil peace and unwavering integration with the West, where historically our civilized place has always been. We, Georgian winemakers, will always make personal decisions in the public arena according to these principles! “

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