ABOUT THE BUILDERS OF THE BRAND
Rather than directly commencing the brand’s core identity, values and aims let’s get down to the rabbit hole and learn more about the two builders of this brand/GoE. As they say in East/Turkey “Water belongs to a kid, the word belongs to a man” in this case we have to start with Henry Mchedlishvili, the eldest. He is the wiser and more experienced member of the team (aahhh! almost forgetting to mention his great accountant attributes with an analytical mindset). Henry is a solid Caucasian, in Bilal’s term he is Marani or Caucasian Superman from the heart of Kakheti, Georgia. His beverage journey starts long before he officially involves wine and spirits business, as he is a Georgian born wolf, where the alcohol, most particularly wine, brandy, and vodka is a member of any Georgian family (ooohh these crazy Caucasians). Henry’s UK wine journey didn’t start as soon as he landed mother UK in 2003. In the early twenties, he launched his own building company in London and pretty shortly after, this young man (he is a bit aged now, as a decent wine) started to make a good amount of money till selling his building business and involving in the wine world by exporting from Georgia to the UK. Before we carry on with Henry’s wine journey it is relevant to mention he is still a handyman and still builds every single corner of his houses and Marani on his own, getting support by Bilal every now and then (usually, after Bilal involves in this helping stage to Henry, the paint does not come off Bilal’s hands for bloody two weeks). If Henry is not the first, most likely he is one of the first lads from Georgia started importing big quantities of Georgia’s most well-known wine brands and introducing to the UK society. Each man has a unique challenge on his/her business journey and one of the most challenging stages in the wine business for Henry was representing an ancient nation of Georgia, who respects and adores alcoholic beverages a lot, however, was not much known as a country back then.
Despite the fact that this diligent Georgian wolf became the top seller amongst the other Georgian importers and cemented his position on the wine market with his unorthodox alcoholic beverage selection. Since then Henry maintained importing and selling wine and spirits from his initial country and simultaneously expending his beverage portfolio till he has accomplished something in 2018, where any other human being has not achieved, even tend to do so. In 2018 Henry launched Westen world’s first Marani (means winery in Georgian) in Plumpton College, England. Where he imported fourteen Qvevris (means clay vessel) in various sizes from mother Georgia and started to make wines in these Qvevris by using 8000-year-old Kakheti wine technique protected by UNESCO in his boutique Marani in Plumpton. Henry maintained fermenting luscious wines to the UK wine enthusiast in his Qvevris, unknowingly that his pathway and common interest will come across with the young Turk, Bilal.
The journey of Bilal Gundogdu started in 2010 by moving to London to get a BA Product Design degree at Central Saint Martins. During his five-years student life, Bilal had always been the edgy one, by the description of his tutors’ he was an official pain in the ars for the whole university, and occasionally Bilal was complaining about the lack of marketing and sales lectures at the world’s top design college. While his second year at the uni he launched his own firm and started to design and manufacture his own goods and importing them from his motherland, Turkey. At one stage he was making reasonable amounts of money, where he was very keen to drop the uni (he was distinctly believing that, uni is an official waste of time for agile ones), thanks to his intelligent and authoritative mother, Bilal got his P.D. degree from CSM.
After the college life, he started to work for UK based firms as a designer along with that he was working as a fully commissioned salesman, where he was having lots of fun out of these various sales roles (he is also damn good at sales any way). In August 2016 his destiny meant to change hundred eighty degrees and his life would not be the same ever again. It was a mild summer Thursday night, where he got a phone call from the security agency. Back then he was working as a security man on the weekends for extra cash to cover the bills (oohh boy, this lad literally grew up on the streets of London). He was not very keen on that evening to acquire any shift, however, eventually, he confirmed the shift and made his way towards Mayfair (he went to work at one of the most prestigious restaurants just recently launched at that period). On the advancing hours of the night, there were two gentlemen talking in French by the door of the restaurant, right beside Bilal’s standing point. Even this young stubborn Turk has no clue about French, he simply participated in these two customers’ conversation and asked them “Gentlemen I have got no clue about French, however, my instincts are yelling at me to participate in your talk. What are your professions?”
WELL!! Ladies & Gents, the English one is the owner and the French one is the director of one of the UK’s biggest wine firms. Less than a minute time, the French director proposed Bilal a sales role at the company and assertively promised him to make him the UK’s top wine seller due to Bilal’s assertive, but, at the same time modest participation to their conversation. Meanwhile, Bilal was trying to analyze; why the fakkk this French man offered me sales role in a high profile wine company, where actually his wine knowledge is much less than any of the waiters from inside. The French director immediately responded to him, “It is not about inside the beverage, it is more about how you introduce the beverage“. After all the tussle on top of Bilal’s head, he decided to involve in a wine world from scratch, at the same time, he was quite excited and importantly willing to involve in. He worked for the UK’s or even the world’s most prestigious and biggest wine and alcohol firms. He eventually reached in a stage, where he decided to build his own empire rather than making the others rich, and in 2019 he had launched his firm and became a commissioner at the early stages of his business (purchasing from importers and selling them to venues). He was supplying the Georgian wines from Henry, after a while, due to these two men’s’ common interests, goals, and vitally understanding their strengths and weaknesses, after a while, they found themselves working together for the one and the same goal, becoming the best on their own field. This is the true story of two men, who built this brand…