This year's Geoffrey Roberts Award, the £3,000 international travel bursary, has been won by a 31 year-old Georgian who wishes to visit good quality wine producers in France and Italy during the 2004 vintage with a view to learning more about modern viticultural and oenological techniques. He will apply what he has learnt to his family wine farm in Imereti, Georgia and promises also to spread the word throughout Georgia, 'the cradle of viticulture' ,which has some truly magnificent indigenous grape varieties, admirable traditions and suitable natural resources but is at the moment a bit short of modern expertise. He also travels frequently to Moscow, is well plugged into the burgeoning wine scene there, and further promises to share what he learns with any Russian who is interested.
If all this sounds a good idea, I have to confess to a major stumbling block: language. Our young Georgian has very basic English and practically no French or Italian. Do you by any chance know of any superior wine producers in France or Italy who speak Russian or who have access to a local Russian interpreter? Or indeed in any other countries within reach of this travel budget? If so, could you kindly reply here with full contact details and I will make the relevant connections.
With very many thanks in advance. Georgia has such great raw materials, it seems a worthy cause to try to optimise them. He could of course travel with his own interpreter but it will slice what he is able to accomplish in half.