History of Georgian Wine

Georgia is rightly called "The cradle of wine", reaffirmed by UNESCO in December 2013, when the oldest Georgian method of winemaking in Qvevriwas inscribed in the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of the humanity. Several years ago archeologists have foundgrape pips that date to VI millennium BC in the ruins of the Dangreuli Gora, Marneuli Valley, Kvemo Kartli region, south of Tbilisi.According to the morphological and ampelographic features, the pips belong to the Vitis Vinifera Sativavariety of vine.

From this time on, the culture of viticulture and winemaking did not discontinue in Georgia. It has been constantly evolving,butstill managing to maintain its ancient nature and traditions. That is why Georgia is considered to be the country of 8000 harvests; the country where wine was made in the pre-Qvevri vessels as early as in Neolithic period.

Georgia boasts more than 500 varieties of indigenous grapes, nearly one-sixth of the world’s grape varieties, including endangered varieties found nowhere else on Earth. 

Winemakers employ several winemaking techniquesto create Georgian wine.Traditional Georgian method of fermenting wine in clay qvevri,European technology andhybrid approach that incorporates elements of each.  

It must be mentioned that the word winehas the same origin in all European languages. As the linguists suggest, it comes from the Georgian word "ghvino". Vinum, Wine, Vin, Wein, Вино, etc.

GRAPE VARIETIES (EN)

We are lucky enough in Georgia to enjoy the vast diversity of all the styles of wine. Classics – dry white and red, semi-dry and semi-sweet white and red, different rosé wines, sweet, fortified, sparkling, ice wine, Qvevri white, amber, rosé and red. In recent years, the development of traditional Qvevri wines has seen remarkable progress. Almost every region of Georgia has been producing Qvevri (Churi) wines. More importantly, they have a lot of admirers abroad.

The Qvevri prototype vessels were created in Georgia in the Neolithic period. The shape of the Qvevri has been improved and perfected for all this time.

The Qvevri is primarily involved in the technological process of grape juice fermentation. It is also an excellent utensil for wine storage. Its main advantage is that in the Qvevri, planted in the underground wine cellar, the wine storage temperature is almost unchanged in winter and summer time. We can distinguish the Eastern (Kakhetian primarily) and Western (Imeretian, etc.) methods of making wine in Qvevri. The Kakhetian method implies winemaking on skin and stem, while in Western Georgia, they usually make wine without skin, or use it in small amount.

Classical dry wine is another style in terms of quantity and popularity. White wine is usually made in the reservoirs without skin, while red wine is made with several days or several weeks of ageing. Classic wines sometimes aged in oak barrels, along with white semi-sweet or dry wines are also popular.

Georgian sparkling wines are the subject for a separate chapter, made primarily from Imeretian, Kartli and Kakhetian varieties.

To sum it up, Georgia offers diversity of varieties and styles, meeting the expectations of all tastes.