Georgia is the cradle of wine-making. The fact is confirmed with various historic and geological artifacts from Bronze Age.
Cultural sorts of grapes found on the territory of Georgia date back to 5000 BC. The vessels for drinking wine and other crafts, discovered by archeologists, belong to the same period. Wine-making proved to be the main field of agriculture. Furthermore, in 11th century, wine-making was taught as a subject at the Academy of Ikalto.
One of the most popular and widespread methods of making wine has always been, so-called, Kakhetian, during which wine is kept in a pitcher. It is usually hidden under the ground, touching the floor only partially. They are of different size. The quality of wine made in pitchers depends on the way the latter is made, as well as how they are looked after. The average temperature in the pitcher kept underground is about 14 degrees Celsius, which is ideal for keeping the liquid under stable temperature.
Farmers make and keep wine in a special basement, called Marani, i.e. wine cellar. It is situated partially under the ground, which guarantees optimal temperature for keeping wine as long as needed.
Although wine is mass produced nowadays and sold for reasonable price, farmers carry on preparing it at home and treat guests with homemade wine, as a sign of genuine hospitality. Taking care of vineyard is a very respected and ritualized occupation is Georgia. Almost every farmer has his own vineyard near his house, thus, growing his own vine. In autumn starts vintage when whole families, neighbors and, sometimes, specially invited relatives and friends from nearby towns collect grapes together. It is followed by celebration party.
Wine is the main ingredient of Georgian party. Traditionally, Georgians prefer dry and semi-dry sorts of white wine. Homemade wine is never above 9%. Bottled-dry, prepared by modern technologies, go up to 12-13%.
Besides wine, at a party one can come across Chacha, kind of vodka made of grape. It is similar to Italian Grappa.
Kakheti, in the eastern part of Georgia, is the main region of winemaking. Most of the Georgian bottled wines took names from various villages of that region. Some parts of central and western Georgia also produce good wine.
See the section ‘Georgian Wines’ to get familiar with famous Georgian wines.