Homeland of Wine
Wine is produced in eastern and western parts of Georgia, both in wineries and at domestic wine cellars. Each wine-growing region differs by the local method of wine-making, though traditional and inimitable vessel for keeping wine is Kvevri (big jar). Wine, kept in Kvevri contains tannin and has special flavor. Wine-making and vine culture is a dominant trend in Georgia. Samples of material culture and archaeological artifacts have been found throughout Georgia – both in the eastern and western regions. For instance, during the archaeological excavations in Kvemo Kartli region, there were found the grape seeds dating to VII-Vi centuries BC they also unearthed a very old, Stone Age wine cellar with huge ceramic jars (Kvevri) as well as golden, silver and bronze bowls and other ceremonial vessels; special cutters for wine, grape pit extractors, etc. the most remarkable artifacts of Trialeti Culture (III-II centuries BC) are unique wine goblets, chalices and pitchers, which have been found in the eastern Georgia. Introduction of Christianity in Georgia is also connected with the cult of vine. St.Nino made the cross out of vine twigs, tying them with her hair and preached the Christianity to the local population.
One will be hard pressed to find a wine cellar in Kakheti that has no kvevris inside. A kvevri is an earthenware vessel of various dimensions that is used for fermentation, storage and aging of wine. Usually, qvevri are buried in the ground, with only the nozzle sticking out. In Georgia, kvevris were used as early as 8 thousand years ago and this tradition survives to this day.
In 2013, UNESCO added the traditional Georgian method of making wine in kvevris to its list of intangible cultural heritage, sending a message to the entire world that wine is a component part of centuries-old Georgian culture.
Kindzmarauli is a demi-doux wine made of Saperavi grape. This wine is named after the place where it is produced. Kindzmarauli has the color of dark ruby; it is mild and aromatic wine. It is served with light dishes, fruit and pastry.
Saperavi is one of the most common sorts of Georgian grapes. It has deep cherry color. This wine is rich of tannin, it is very strong and tasty. Saperavi is very goes well with roasted meat.
Tsinandali is a blend of Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane. It is a straw-colored, balanced, aromatic light wine. It is served with vegetable salads, mushrooms and fish courses.
Tsolikouri is a straw-colored, sparkling and balanced wine, with gentle taste and fruit aroma. It is served with walnut dishes and fried fish.
In Lower Racha, at the right bank of Rioni River, stands a distinguished place for wine-making – Sakipiano, where Khvanchkara wine is made.
Khvanchkara is an appellation-of-origin, controlled, high quality, naturally semi-sweet red wine. It is made with Aleksandrouli and Mujuretuli species of grapes.
Khvanchkara wine is ruby in color and boasts a harmonious, velvety, delicate, pleasant sweetness in which a variety of fruit flavors can be felt.
Rkatsiteli is a dark-golden wine, made of the grape of the same name. it has soft, gentle acidic taste with fruity flavor. It is served with meat courses.
Usakhelauri is the rarest Georgian wine, which is made only of this grapes grown in Lechkhumi. It is demi-doux wine of dark ruby color with pleasant taste and acidity. It is served with sweets.
So, wine is the most popular Georgian alcoholic beverage, but Vodka, Beer and Brandy are traditional beverages as well. Beer is brewed for Khatoba. Different fruit and berries are used for preparing Vodka: mulberry, honey, grapes, plums, etc.
Beer is very popular drink. It is produced in great amounts. In the hillside of Georgia, beer is traditionally brewed for the Khatoba Festivity. Beer is consumed with Khinkali and smoked fish.
Chacha is a traditional high-degree vodka, which is made of chacha-product left after pressing the grape, which gave the name to this drink. It is very popular, they drink it with Khinkali, Khashi and various marinades.
It is made by mixing of aged spirits. The drink mature in oak casks. It is dark color, special aroma and pleasant , harmonic taste. It is served with chocolates and sweets.