To some, wine is more than just a drink, it is a lifestyle. The vast array of flavors display an extensive variety that many find fascinating. In the Republic of Georgia, wine has not only unique flavors, but also comes from several lush regions which all have their own rich history. Between archaeological discoveries and the Georgians clear appreciation for the creation of fine wine, this area has given the world delicious and recognizable bottles that can be enjoyed by any wine enthusiast.
There have been discoveries of wine making in Georgia dating back 8,000 years. Some of the very first cultivated grape vines were found in the South Caucasus. The people of the region discovered that grape juice would ferment and turn into wine after being left in shallow pits throughout the winter. The wine was stored in a clay pot called a kvevri. Storing the wine in the ground made it the perfect temperature for drinking, further showcasing the advanced techniques that were used in the very beginning. The creation of wine was held with great significance, there have been many artifacts found that depict grape clusters, vines and leaves. It seems that even in ancient times, everyone knew the importance of a good bottle of wine.
As the influence of Christianity grew in Georgia, so did wine making. Because it was associated with the blood of Christ, wine was thought to be sacred. The medieval hymn, “Thou Art a Vineyard,” shows that wine making had been prevalent in Georgia for hundreds of years by that time. St. Nino, who spread the word of Christianity in the Kartli region, is most often pictured with a cross made of wood from grape vines. For many years, especially during the Ottoman Empire, wine consumption was forbidden in other parts of the world, giving areas in Georgia much more time to advance than other countries. It can be seen through all the delicious varieties of wine that it is not a skill that was perfected overnight.
During Soviet times, Georgian wine was preferred to that of the more common wines from Moldavia and Crimea. Unfortunately, in the late 19th century an outbreak of mildew and phylloxera devastated hundreds of acres of vineyards, slowing the production of wine until after Soviet control ended. When the vines were replanted and grapes were once again available in abundance, modern wine making was once again perfected by the regions in Georgia’s lush countryside.
The Kakheti Region in Georgia is made up of two micro-regions, Telavi and Kvareli. Today it has become one of the most visited regions of Georgia because of its beautiful landscape and abundant accommodations. It is in this particular region where the famous Kindzmarauli red semi sweet wine, Tsinandali White wine is made. As with many Georgian wines, it is a blend of two types of grapes, Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane. This process of blending is similar to French wines, giving each bottle a distinctive taste of the place from which it came. Throughout the course of history, the Republic of Georgia has proven time and time again how important their experience actually is.
Today, Georgian wine is sold all over the world, and is becoming exceedingly popular in the United States. The vineyards in California have become somewhat common, and other flavors are being sought out all over the country. Georgian wines in the USA are in high demand all over the country because of the unique blends and original flavors. With dry reds and sweet whites, there is something to satisfy every taste. People all over the United States seem to be grateful for the skill and practice that Georgian wine country has to offer.
Wine making is so much more than providing a beverage. The process that goes into growing the grapes and turning them into wine is extensive. The Republic of Georgia has spent centuries perfecting their trade showing evidence that makes them the first region to learn such a procedure. Since ancient times, the people of the region have created wines that countries across the globe have come to know and love. By introducing their signature blends to people everywhere they have cemented their place in the history of wine. I just go to show that with the right experience wine can be made into art.
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