Georgia is one of the most ancient countries in the world with an uninterrupted tradition of viticulture and winemaking. In fact, cultivated grape pips were discovered and that indicates that Georgia has been making wine for some 8000 years, leading experts believe that Georgia is the birthplace of wine.
Numerous artifacts dating back IV-III and older have also been found adding evidence to the fact that Georgia is probably the oldest wine country in the world.
Traditional Georgian grape varietals are less known in the world. Even though the country has almost 400 different types of grapes, only 38 are grown for commercial winemaking.
Similar to French wines, Georgian wines are also named according to the source region, village, or district. Also, like French wines, Georgian wines are mostly made from the blend of two or more grape varietals.
Here, you can try sweet, dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet, sparkling, and fortified wines.
Georgian winemaking – The Qvevri (clay vessel used for fermentation of wine) Method is listed as part of UNESCO Intangible Heritage.
WHAT MAKES QVEVRI SO UNIQUE?
The making of wine in Qvevri is the oldest known method of wine production. Approximately 5000 years ago, this method spread from the region around the Caucasus across the world. The oldest clay jugs, found in Georgia, are more than 7.000 years old and appear similar to the current Qvevri jugs. There are several archaeological finds within the Mediterranean area, which diversity in shape and size equates to their functional diversity in use of these clay jugs.
Qvevri is a traditional Georgian vessel used for making, ageing and storing wine. It is made of a type of clay historically used for qvevri-making in artisanal families according to traditional technology, these families possess the centuries-old knowledge of the ion of appropriate clay in their respective regions. The vessel is buried in the ground, which guarantees an optimal temperature for the ageing and storage of wine and its egg-like shape favours the processes inside: the chacha (grape skins, stalks and pips) sinks to the bottom; the wine becomes enriched by its volatile and non-volatile elements; later wine is separated the latter and gets stabilized.
Qvevri wine quality is also influenced by the quality of the qvevri cleaning process, which has to be done each year before making wine. In every village there are a few experienced qvevri cleaners. The cleaning process involves washing the vessel with herbal cleansers and water. Qvevris are traditionally disinfected with sulphur vapours. The internal surface is sometimes lined with beeswax, and the outer surface is traditionally covered with a lime-based mortar before burying.