“…the only country in the world where winemaking methods that were developed up to 8,000 years ago have not been abandoned, but remain in many ways best practice.”
Where the vine is rooted in the heart.
There’s likely no place on Earth where wine is so interwoven into culture as it is in Georgia. In the countryside, where most people still grow their own grapes and make their own wine, homes typically have dedicated wine cellars (marani). Even in Georgia’s cities, urbanites who balance progress with tradition nurture their own vines.
Before Eastern Orthodox Christianity emerged as Georgia’s predominant religion in the fourth century, Georgians were pagan, and the influence of Dionysus—the god of wine and ecstasy—remains rooted in Georgian culture. In fact to many, the mantra “life without feasting is meaningless,”—is one they prove at every opportunity.
The opening of a qvevri—a buried clay pot in which most Georgian households make their wine—is a celebrated event, a reason for feasting in and of itself. At the heart of communal life’s many milestones—happy and sad—is the supra, a feast with a succession of toasts. Often compared to an “academy of learning,” these ritual feasts draw from monastic tradition—in which an abbot would introduce topics for discussion in the form of a toast. To this day, drinking wine during a meal is a vehicle for examining life’s deep questions and answers. Feasting in Georgia is an unforgettable experience in which wine, the “Nectar of the Sun,” plays the central role; and the supra serves up a welcome table.
“Give me a vine and you can make me live on sands,” goes an old Georgian saying. Georgians, however, have much more than sands; they have some of the oldest and most distinct grape-growing terroirs on the planet - where they have cultivated not just vines, but a world-class wine culture.