Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world. The fertile valleys of the South Caucasus house the source of the cultivated grapevines and neolithic wine production, from over 8,000 years ago. Due to the many millennia of wine in Georgian history, and its key economical role, the traditions of its viticulture are entwined and inseparable with the country’s national identity.
Among the best-known regions of Georgia where wine (Georgian: ღვინო, ɣvino) is produced are Kakheti (further divided onto micro-regions of Telavi and Kvareli), Kartli, Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, Adjara and Abkhazia.
The roots of Georgian viticulture have been traced back by archeology to when people of the South Caucasus discovered that wild grape juice turned into wine when it was left buried through the winter in a shallow pit. This knowledge was nourished by experience, and from 6000 BC inhabitants of the current Georgia were cultivating grapes and burying clay vessels, kvevris, in which to store their wine ready for serving at ground temperature. When filled with the fermented juice of the harvest, the kvevris are topped with a wooden lid and then covered and sealed with earth. Some may remain entombed for up to 50 years.
Wine vessels of every shape, size and design have been the crucial part of pottery in Georgia for millennia. Ancient artifacts attest to the high skill of local craftsmen. Among vessels, the most ubiquitous and unique to Georgian wine-making culture are probably the Kvevris, very large earthenware vessels with an inside coat of beeswax. Not only kvevris were used to ferment grape juice and to store up wine, but also chapi and satskhao; others yet were used for drinking, such as khelada, doki, sura, chinchila, deda-khelada, dzhami and marani
Georgia is a host country of the World Congress on Wine and Vine OIV 2010. Love and respect a man holding a bowl in hand as he brings only good, justice, openness and love to life.
Wine-making – viticulture is one of the strong bases of Georgian agriculture from the ancient times. “Argonauts arriving to Kolkhida saw fountains in the palace of the king of Kolkhida (the present Samegrelo) Aiet, welling out wine” and, thus, foreign conquerors, first, cut down vineyards, trying to shake the Georgian economy, like Genghis-Khan, Shakh-Abbas and others.
The continuous importance of winemaking and drinking in Georgian culture is also visible in various antique works of art. Many of the unearthed silver, gold and bronze artifacts of the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC bear chased imprints of the vine, grape clusters and leaves. The State Museum of Georgia has on display a cup of high-carat gold set with gems, an ornamented silver pitcher and some other artifacts dated to the 2nd millennium BC. From classical Antiquity, Georgian museums display a cameo depicting Bacchus, and numerous sarcophagi with wine pitchers and ornamented wine cups found in ancient tombs.
During Soviet times wines produced in Georgia were very popular. In comparison with other wines from Moldavia and Crimea that were available on the Soviet market Georgian wines had been more preferable for Soviets. In 1950 vineyards in Georgia occupied 143,000 acres, but in 1985 already 316,000 acres due to increasing demand. In 1985 wine production was 881,000 tons. During Mikhail Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign, many old Georgian vineyards were cut off..
Georgia is a country which has maintained and cared its individuality to the being time. You can find special people in the country of specific character.
In the old days, the Georgian wine was exported to Greece, Persian Empire and Jerusalem. The University of Wine existed in Georgia circa in 800 year B.C. In the former Soviet Union the Georgian wine was of great demand and, thus, it was exported in million liters. And today people are trying to find new ways as this little country is characterized with its diversity in wine-making.