Georgia, Oldest Country of Wine!
Georgia, so far is the oldest wine (ღვინო) regions in the world. The fertile valleys and protective slopes of the Transcaucasia were home to grapevine cultivation and neolithic wine production for at least 8000 years. Due to the many millennia of wine in Georgian history and its prominent economic role, the traditions of wine are considered entwined with and inseparable from the national identity.
The earthenware jars containing residual wine compounds were found in two sites south of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, researchers said.
Some of the jars bore images of grape clusters and a man dancing.
Previously, the earliest evidence of wine-making was from pottery dating from about 7,000 years ago found in north-western Iran.
The latest finds were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
"We believe this is the oldest example of the domestication of a wild-growing Eurasian grapevine solely for the production of wine," said co-author Stephen Batiuk, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto.
"Wine is central to civilization as we know it in the West. As a medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance and highly valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopoeias, cuisines, economies and society in the ancient Near East."
The wine making technology of Georgia in its traditional form utilizes ancient methods reminiscent of other old world wine making cultures. The use of earthen amphorae placed in the ground for fermentation is a signature feature of Georgian wine making. While traditional methodology is used widespread for the production of authentic Georgian wines, European methods are also employed, pending on varietals and blends, their respective regions, and the desired quantity of output.
Let's see what says History, how it was found and when everything started?
The roots of Georgian viticulture have been traced back by archaeology to when people of the South Caucasus discovered that wild grape juice turned into wine when it was left buried through the winter in a shallow pit. This knowledge was nourished by experience, and from 6000 BC inhabitants of the current Georgia were cultivating grapes and burying clay vessels, kvevris, in which to store their wine ready for serving at ground temperature. When filled with the fermented juice of the harvest, the kvevris are topped with a wooden lid and then covered and sealed with earth. Some may remain entombed for up to 50 years. Not only kvevris were used to ferment grape juice and to store up wine, but also chapi and satskhao; others yet were used for drinking, such as khelada, doki, sura, chinchila, deda-khelada, dzhami and marani.
The vintage is harvested and delivered for processing to a special room called a marani (winery) and placed into a large vat called a satskhaneli which was historically made from a hollowed tree trunk. The grapes are pressed directly with feet as juice flows down along flutes into a huge clay amphora called a kvevri for fermentation. This is the gentlest way to obtain juicy pulp because seeds remain intact and do not release unnecessary tannins which might give the wine an excessively strong bitter taste. These jugs are dug into the earth with the hole accessible at floor level. This provides consistent temperature during fermentation. As the surface of the kvevri is rather porous, the inner walls are covered with a thin layer of natural beeswax - thus another peculiarity of Kakhetian wine making. Fermentation periods are different for red, amber and white wines. Volume varies from hundreds of liters to several tons.
Traditional Georgian grape varieties are little known in the World. Now that the wines of Eastern and Central Europe are coming to international awareness, grapes from this region are becoming better known. Although there are nearly 400 to choose from, only 38 varieties are officially grown for commercial viticulture in Georgia.
Wine and Grapes have very huge reflection on Georgians lives, traditions, culture and even on the religion. Georgians say, when man is born we meet him with wine and when he dies we pass him with wine. Georgians have special toast for wine...
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Blog By Shota Cherkezishvili