Cultural Travel - Georgia

    close to people - close to tradition


Wonders of wine


Georgia is one of the oldest winemaking nations in the world, and by some experts even considered as the birth-place of wine. This is supported by 8000 years old arche- ological findings of grape-stones inside antique clay pots. Wine is one of Georgia's main cultural heritages, and has always been playing an important role in celebrations and rituals, both in pre-Christian and Christian time.

In Georgia the conditions are well suited for winemaking, as the climate is moderate and extreme weather-condi- tions are rare. The summers are not too hot and the winters are mild. Also, the surrounding mountains are full of natural springs, with rivers providing mineral-rich waters into the valleys.

Wine is a main sacred symbol in the Georgian Orthodox Church. Christian architectural monuments, icons and fres- cos do often include wine-motifs. As for other Christian traditions, also in Georgia wine and bread is the symbol of the blood and flesh of Christ. In the Georgian Orthodox tradition however, this does not apply only for communion and other Christian ceremonies. For Georgians wine is truly synonymous with the blood of Christ in all situations, and Georgians with respect for their culture and tradition will always treat the wine with honor and dedication.

In villages in the wine-producing regions of Georgia, many families and small local manufacturers are cultivating and producing wine in the same way that has been tradition for thousands of years. This tradition gives the Georgian wine very specific characteristics with regard to the flavor and body.  Furthermore,  the  local  produced



wines are mostly cultivated as a 100% natural product without any additives.

Traditionally the wine has been cultivated in huge clay-pots being digged down in the ground, only with the circle-formed opening visible. Tasting the wine directly from the clay-pot together with a small wine-producer or a family is an extraordinary experience, as no mass-produced or bottled wines will come close to the nature of such a local wine. Also from a human and traditional point of view it is special to experience a local's dedication and passion, fulfilling and bringing forward the ancient heritage of his ancestors.


Facts about Georgian wine


In ancient times, wild grapes flourished across Georgia, with stocks of native species from natural selection and from intentional cross-pollination. This has resulted in more than 550 varieties. Around 40 of these are used in commercial wine production.

Today the Georgian winemaking is concentrated on dry and semisweet table wines. Winemaking is generally concentrated in three regions: Kakheti, Kartli and Imereti, where Kakheti alone contributes to approximately 60-70% of the total production. Cognac and champagne are prepared in Kartli, while brandy as well as 80 percent of Georgia's sparkling wine is produced in Imereti. High-quality semisweet wines are mainly produced in the Racha-Lechkhumi region.


Drinking wine from the "qvevri".

Photo Christian Kjelstrup © all rights reserved.


Marani - Georgian winecellar.

Photo: John Wyrdeman © all rights reserved.