Purpose: There is limited participatory research, including, organic winemakers and none with natural winemakers. To get a preliminary insight into the perspectives of Georgian natural winemakers, this research aims to identify their perceptions regarding the major problems facing Georgia’s wine industry by applying Q-methodology. The research uncovers two existing perspectives and provides relevant policy suggestions for the Georgian wine sector. Design/methodology/approach: This research applied Q-methodology. Ten in-person Q-sorts and interviews were carried out in Georgia, with five natural winemakers filling out an additional follow-up survey rating 26 possible policy recommendations to increase the relevance of the study’s findings. Findings: The study revealed two groups of winemakers: the idealists and the pragmatists. The idealists are characterised by their focus on environmental awareness and a lack of trust of government institutions. The pragmatists focus on production-related issues, such as lack of financing and lack of irrigation infrastructure. The development of a local wine bottle supplier, regulation of agro-chemical use and a leading role for natural winemakers in teaching about organic viticulture were the most positively rated policy recommendations. Practical implications: Using the research results, relevant sectoral policies can be drawn up that support the sustainable development of Georgia’s wine sector and help with the establishment of Georgian wine on the international market. Social implications: The growth of natural winemaking through small-scale producers could improve the environmental sustainability of the wine industry in Georgia, as well as reduce rural poverty through increased rural household income and employment. Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, no participatory research currently exists that includes natural winemakers and their attitudes, and there are no participative studies with Georgian winemakers. This is the first study, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, to apply Q-methodology and a follow-up survey exclusively to Georgian natural winemakers and provides a first insight into their perceptions.
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