Cradle of Wine
Georgia is recognised as the motherland of the earliest wines. Archaeologists have discovered more than 8000 years old grape seeds in clay vessels indicating the world’s earliest developed viniculture back to these lands. For centuries, Georgians used the ancient technique of winemaking, which implies wine fermentation in Qvevri. Qvevri is a clay vessel to store and age wine. The first known Qvevri dates back to the 7th Century B.C.E. (early Iron Age). The shape of Qvevri transformed throughout time and reached the known form near the 4th century C.E. Nowadays, Qvevri can be considered as the symbol of Georgia.
The value of wine for Georgians is shown in different fields, such as traditional Georgian arts, songs, and poetry. In 2013, UNESCO gave this unique Georgian method of winemaking status of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Nowadays, more than 500 grape varieties grow on Georgian lands. Georgia’s diverse landscapes and climate zones create perfect conditions to produce unique wines. The wine regions of Georgia are Kakheti, Racha-Lechkhumi, Guria, Imereti, Samegrelo, Kartli and Adjara, each of which is famous for its unique sorts, for example, Kakheti is known for Saperavi and Rkatsiteli wines. Racha-Lechkhumi produces Aleksandrouli, Usakhelouri, and Mujuretuli, and The Samegrelo region produces Ojaleshi.
In recent years, Georgian wines become popular around the whole world. Now, we can say that Georgia holds a leading position in wine production. Every year, more and more tourists visit Georgia to taste local wines at the traditional wine cellars and even participate in the winemaking process.
When talking about Georgian wines, it is also essential to mention the traditional harvest festivity called Rtveli. Rtveli is the annual celebration at the end of the agricultural cycle with harvesting grapes and making wine. Usually, Rtveli takes place in late September or mid-October, depending on the region. At this time of the year, relatives gather in their ancestors’ homeland to participate in Rtveli. Of course, guests who are interested in the process are welcomed to join.
After all the hard work on the vineyard, all participants gather at Supra – traditional Georgian festive table to enjoy the rest of the day by tasting delicious Georgian dishes and wine, accompanied with Georgian folk songs.