The History of Georgian Wine

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The History of Georgian Wine

Tradition Wine Making in Georgia

Georgia is often referred to as the cradle of wine due to its rich and ancient wine-making history. According to archaeologists, wine has been made in Georgia for over 8,000 years, with evidence of winemaking dating back to 6000 B.C.

In fact, recent studies have shown that Georgian winemaking practices existed 3,000 years before the invention of writing and 5,000 years before the start of the Iron Age. This makes Georgia the oldest wine-producing country in the world.

The Georgians were the first to supply wine and vines to the first cities of the Fertile Crescent, including Babylon and Ur. Even during times of invasion, Assyrian kings made exceptions for Georgians to pay their tribute in wine, rather than gold like other nations.

Despite repeated assaults and invasions, the Georgians have preserved their deep tradition of winemaking. When they were forced to flee their vineyards, they saved the saplings for cultivation in new locations. One of the most notable and unique wine-making traditions in Georgia is the use of Qveri, an earthenware vessel buried underground, which has been used for thousands of years to produce distinctive and delicious wines.

Overall, the history and traditions of winemaking in Georgia are truly remarkable and have contributed greatly to the development and evolution of wine as we know it today.


Qveri, the proud wine making culture of Georgia


Georgian winemaking tradition is unique and ancient, using large earthen vessels known as Qveri for fermentation, storage, and aging of wine. These egg-shaped amphorae, without handles, can hold between 20 to 10,000 litres of wine, with the most common size being around 800 litres. Qveri can be buried underground or set on the floor of large wine cellars called Marani.

After grapes are pressed, the juice, skins, stems, and seeds are poured into the Qveri, which is sealed with a special black stone. The stone is then covered with clay, which is constantly kept moist to prevent cracking and prevent oxidation and other pollutants from entering the wine. This process results in white wines that are more flavourful and well-structured compared to wines made in stainless steel tanks. The inclusion of skin in the grape juice gives these wines a darker tone of gold, amber, and even orange, yet remaining a dry wine.

In 2013, UNESCO recognized this winemaking methodology as Intangible Cultural Heritage, ensuring that the ancient wine culture can still be tasted by people today.

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