The History of Georgian Wine
Tradition Wine Making in Georgia
Georgia, the cradle of wine, with wine making history traced back to 6000 B.C to the people of South Caucasus by archaeologists. More evidences were found to support Georgia’s claims s the world’s oldest wine-producing country.
Studies of Scientists in 2015 uncovered that Georgian winemaking practices existed 3000 years before the invention of writing and 5000 years before the start of the Iron Age.
They are the first suppliers of wine and vines to the first cities of the Fertile Crescent: Babylon and Ur. During the times where Georgia was invaded back in the ancient days, Assyrian kings made exception for Georgians to pay their tribute in wine as compared to golds from the other nations.
Repeated assaults forced the Georgian to flee their vineyards but the Georgians had saved the saplings for cultivation in new locations due to their deep tradition of wine making which carried on till today. Especially the culture of making wines in Qveri.
Qveri, the proud wine making culture of Georgia
Traditionally, large earth vessels are used for fermentation, storage, and aging of Georgian wine. This large, egg-shaped amphorae without handles are known as Qveri. They are either buried underground or set on the floor of large wine cellars called Marani. The size of Qvevri varies with capacity ranging from 20 to around 10,000 litres, most common are the 800 litres.
After pressing the grapes, the juice, skins, stems and seeds are poured into the Qveri which is then sealed with a special black stone and the black stone is then being covered by clay which needs to be constantly kept moist to prevent cracking to prevent oxidation and other pollutants from entering the wine.
This would tell us that Georgian white wines would be more flavourful and well-structured as compared to wines made in stainless steel tanks due to the inclusion of skin in the grape juice that gives a darker tone of gold, amber and some even orange and yet stays as dry wine.
In 2013, UNESCO has inscribed this tradition as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Georgian winemaking methodology. This allows the people of today to still be able to taste the wine of the ancient culture.