Tradition of Winemaking
For many centuries winemaking was not only the basis of economic riches of Georgia but also a part of its spiritual culture. Wine for a Georgian is not just a drink. Wine is more like a religion there. Wine strengthens the national spirit, and unites guests of traditional Caucasian feasts. Grapevine is mentioned in the Georgian legends, stories and songs. Wine in Georgia is the national asset attracting tourists from all over the world.
Historically Georgia was the territory where winemaking cult prospered. Today nobody can tell when and where from the first grapevine appeared there, but the climate reigning there promoted the amber grape bunches growth. The grape leaves traces related to past geological epochs found on the territory of Georgia ; the jugs with the remains of grape seeds found in ancient burial places testify to the fact that Georgia was one of the progenitresses of winemaking. Winemaking equipment found by archeologists on the territory of the country – stone wine presses, various wine vessels from clay and metal related to the 3 rd – 2 nd millennia B.C. – are just other proofs. Of the deep roots of winemaking speak the grapevine images on huge dug-in conic vessels intended for wine storage – “kvevri” found in the settlements whose age, according to archeologists, is around 8,000 years old.
In process of wine growing and winemaking in Georgia appeared the most valuable grapes; people began to distinguish vines types and develop local ways of wine manufacture. Eastern Georgia – ancient Kakhetia has always been the centre of grapes cultivation and wine manufacturing. Alazani valley is the most glorified winemaking area of Kakhetia. Its unique geographical position, proximity of rivers, wind protection by the mountains of the Major Caucasus and the fertile soils of the valley create perfect conditions for cultivation of grapes resulting in really magnificent wines. Kakhetian wines are distinguished by original bouquet and taste.
Vintage is a special and cheerful holiday for Georgians accompanied by songs and dances. The The vintage is delivered for processing to a special room called “maranii” – winery – and placed into a big vat – “satskhaneli” - a hollowed tree trunk. Usually grapes (together with peel and seeds) are feet-pressed. This is the gentlest way to obtain juicy pulp because the seeds remain intact and do not give the wine strong bitter taste. The resulting pulp of grapes is placed into kvevri, a huge clay jug, for fermentation. These jugs are dug in the earth with the jug hole at floor level. It provides constant temperature during fermentation. Fermentation periods are different for red and white wines.