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  • Photo du rédacteurDaviti Mtchedliani

The Georgian Viticulture

The Origins of Georgian wine-making

Georgia (with a population of just under 4 million) is considered the cradle of wine. Archaeo-

logical findings have traced the history of Georgian viticulture back to the Neolithic period (9000 to 3000 BC). Grape seeds dating back 8,000 years have been found in ancient clay vases, as well as wine presses. Georgia is said to have the oldest uninterrupted tradition of wine-making in the world. A large proportion of its wines are still made using the ancient Qvevri method, which has been protected by UNESCO since 2013 as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. This process, also known as Kvevri, consists of leaving whole bunches of grapes to ferment for four to twelve months inside huge egg-shaped earthenware jars inlaid with beeswax and buried. Qvevri winemaking also received PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status in 2021. This is the first time that a PGI has been given to a non-food item.

Georgian wines, like French wines, offer a great diversity of red, white and rosé wines. There are more than 530 different grape varieties cultivated in the country's 18 appellations, a world record. Still not well known in Europe, Georgian wines are increasingly attracting wine lovers because of their history, methods and particular aromas. Already 40% of the production is exported, mainly to Russia and China. In 2021, nearly 107 million bottles of Georgian wine were exported to 62 countries.

Favourable Weather and Geographic Conditions

Georgia, located near Turkey at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe on the Black Sea, is characterised by a great diversity of landscapes and a temperate continental climate. There are green hills (where the vineyards are located) but also fine sandy beaches and high mountains up to 4,000 meters high. Thanks to the protection of the Caucasus, which cuts off the Siberian winds from the north, Georgia enjoys a mild climate brought by the Black Sea to the east. With warm, sunny summers and mild winters, the climate is perfect for viticulture. In addition, the land is full of natural rivers and streams rich in minerals, another asset.

Different types of Georgian Wines

To enjoy a Georgian wine you must be prepared to travel as the primitive aromas of these grape varieties, made using an ancient method, will transport you to the tastes of the past. The Georgian vineyards cover 100,000 hectares in 4 regions, slightly less than the vineyards of Bordeaux. Georgia produces dry, semi-dry and sometimes sweet white wines with a colour ranging from pale yellow to dark orange. These amber-coloured wines (be careful not to say "orange wines") are a local speciality, produced using the qvevris method with long-macerated white grapes. They express an incredible richness in the mouth: structure, character, depth and a real aromatic complexity.

In the north of the country, Racha, a small region which holds the favourite appellation of Georgians, the AOP Khvanchkara and its two red grape varieties with a sweet and semi-sweet taste. To the east, Kakheti, from which the famous Saperavi originates, is one of the best known red grape varieties. This region produces structured, colourful and tannic wines with good ageing potential. And to the west lies the Imereti, with its milder climate, from which Tsolikouri comes.

As you can see, Georgia with its temperate climate is the mother of many grape varieties and a traditional wine-making process still in use. So, the wines that come out of it are numerous and with tasty aromas. So, now that you know more, how about trying some of these wines made using a thousand-year-old wine-making technique? Contact us!

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