our team

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Ia Tabagari

Co founder; Managing Director

Ia Tabagari has been involved in developing sustainable tourism in Georgia for more than 19 years, from managing and leading inbound tourism companies to consulting for the World Bank, USAID, and the Georgian governmental institutions. Her passions include Georgian ethnology, alpine sports, horseback riding and developing constructive, sustaining development projects of Georgia’s most vulnerable and remote regions.    
John Wurdeman

Co founder; Creative Director

John is an American-born artist, who came to Georgia in search of authentic Georgian polyphony and to paint the country’s beauty. Georgian music and dance has remained central in his life, as he has built up archives and supported traditional music schools and ensembles. John has been deeply involved in preserving and developing ancient wine making methods and culinary traditions in Georgia. He is the co-owner of Pheasant’s Tears Winery and a number of restaurants in Tbilisi. He loves sharing Georgia’s rare wines and culinary arts with our visitors. .
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Elene Bukhaidze

Director

Elene manages our special events, festivals, symposiums, and conferences. After her education in business administration and tourism marketing, Elene earned hands-on experience as a sommelier at Azarpesha and Rooms Hotel. Elene has gone on to co-found the Wine Tourism Association, with whom Living Roots runs innovative and creative wine tourism projects.  Since an early age she has traveled throughout Georgia, filming travel documentaries and coordinating successful events. Elene is outgoing and loves to meet new people.
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Tamara Natenadze

Product Manager; Tour Coordinator

Tamara Natenadze is one of the most experienced guides in Georgia, and is our tour coordinator and product  manager. She worked as a freelancer for Living Roots since our beginning before joining us as a full time team member in 2014. She is a knowledgeable and informative guide as well as an absolute joy to take journeys with. We are blessed to have her aboard.    

 

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Mariam Iosebidze

Sales Manager; Tour Coordinator

Mariam was one of the very first to join the Living Roots family. Young, intelligent and passionate about food and wine, she is always a delightful person to be around. Mariam is one of the very first female Georgian wine makers who started producing natural wine in qvevri. Today Mariam’s wines, made from the endemic grape variety Tavkveri, can be found in top natural wine restaurants and bars around the word. With great care and precision Mariam has successfully led and organized many wine and culinary events and tours. With this knowledge and experience you can be sure that you are in good hands.

Anna Butkhuzi

office manager, accountant assistant

Living Roots’ assistant accountant, Anna studied finances/business administration and marketing. She dreams to use her knowledge and experience for the development of her homeland. Although a new addition to the Living Roots family, Anna has won our hearts with her loving and caring nature.

 

 

 

 

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Tiko Otarashvili

Accountant

Tiko is one of the most humorous accountants one can find. She is one of the biggest wine lovers and loves to participate in wine festivals and events Living Roots organizes.   Tiko is devoted to her work and enjoys doing it. Living Roots is lucky to have such a joyful person in the team.

 

 

 

Arsen Jaliashvili

Living Root’s Horse Ranch Keeper; Host

Arsen Jaliashvili has had a passion for horses his whole life, he met John Wurdeman 16 years ago when he was working on a farm in Khornabudji, Kakheti, John had horses and needed help looking after them.  Together they have explored countless stretches of Georgia’s national parks and wilderness by horseback. When Living Roots decided to found the Living Roots Ranch, our trusted friend Arsen became paramount to make sure the horses and our guests had a warm, responsible host and guide.
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Nato Jaliashvili

Living Root’s Horse Ranch Keeper; Hostess

Natalia Jaliashvili is Arsen's wife.  She also met John during the old days when their horses were kept at Khornabudji.  She lives on the ranch with Arsen looking after the horses, rabbits, pheasants, doves, chickens, dogs and cats.  She is an able cook in the rustic village tradition and helps with the kitchen garden as well.  Arsen will likely be your guide on the trails, so you can be greeted with a warm beverage or village picnic prepared by the amiable hands of Natalia.  
 

ana japaridzeAnna Japaridze

PR and Marketing Manager

Ana Japaridze PR and marketing Manager Ana has joined Living Roots family in 2016. With the bachelor degree in business administration, she continued her education in Pr and marketing school. After successful graduation she worked for Agency of Protected Areas for 6 years as PR and Marketing Manager. Ana is a creative person and loves new challenges, throughout her professional career she has successfully completed many projects. We happy to have Ana on the board of Living Roots Family  

Mariam Kiasashvili

Tour Cordinator; Sales Manager

Mariam has been working in Marketing and PR in a leading local tea producing company for four years; recently she became interested in responsible tourism and winemaking, so gladly took the opportunity to join our team. She is eager to assist our clients in discovering all the treasures that Georgia has to offer. Mariam is a freelance journalist, translator, gender equality advocate and has a passion for travel and entrepreneurship.