Organizing training seminars for wine makers in Bolnisi, sponsored by RMG by the Bolnises Mineral Processing Union.
The Bolnisi Winemaking Union is holding a series of educational seminars for winemakers in the Bolnisi municipality September 13-21 with the support of RMG. RMG (Rich Metals Group) is a precious metals mining company that operates gold mines in and near Bolnisi.
The Union organized educational trainings on viticulture and winemaking topics, with a focu on small, family-type wineries. The trainings focus on new, modern technologies and techniques that winemakers can apply to their businesses now and in the future.
The Mayor of Bolnisi, Davit Sherazadishvili, is also supporting the training series. Up to 20 Bolnisi winemakers and vendors will attend the seminars, which are free of charge. The professional trainers will be: Irma Chanturia, Tinatin Jajanidze and Mikheil Meskhi.
This summer, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between RMG, the Bolnisi Municipality and the Bolnisi Winemaking Union. As the largest business operating in Georgia, RMG has committed to participate in corporate social responsibility projects in the Bolnisi region.
In June 2018, with the support of RMG, Bolnisi winemakers participated in the 11th International Exhibition of Wine and Spirits, held in Tbilisi. Bolnisi qvevri wines won 16 prizes.
RMG has a sordid history in Bolnisi. Transparency International Georgia reports that “There are long standing questions about the negative effects of gold mining in Bolnisi. In previous years the main concern was damage inflicted to the environment and the health of local population. More recent concerns have to do with the damage and destruction of the cultural heritage sites in Sakdrisi gold mine.”
There are also questions about who actually owns the mining company and its subsidiaries. Transparency International “attempted to trace the ultimate beneficiaries of these companies, but encountered problems with offshore registrations that render public sources of information useless.”
In March of this year, a resident of the village Didi Dmanisi, in the Bolnisi municipality, was assaulted by a member of the Dmanisi sakrebulo (local administration) who represents the Georgian Dream party. The victim, Murad Martiashvili, claimed that he was beaten because he continually crossed land owned by RMG to access his own plot, and when he brought the issue to the sakrebulo, they sided with the company.
Mayor Sherazadishvili denied any connection between the local government and RMG, and brushed off the accusations that the conflict was related to the company, saying, “Conflict can be between individuals and speculation directed to something else.”