Georgian Wine & Cuisine

Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world. The roots of Georgian viticulture have been traced back by archeology 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. Kvevri is the most unique Georgian wine-making culture.

Among the best-known Georgian wine regions   are Kakheti Kartli, Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, Adjara and Abkhazia.

Georgia ranks 2nd (in terms of volume) in grape production in the former Soviet Union behind Moldova, and Georgian wines have always been the most highly prized and sought after in the Soviet space.

Presently, the wine is produced by thousands of small farmers (using primarily traditional techniques of wine-making), as well as certain monasteries, and modern wineries.

Traditionally, Georgian wines carry the name of the source region, district, or village. Georgian wines are usually a blend of two or more grapes. Georgian wines are classified as sweet, semi-sweet, semi-dry, dry, fortified and sparkling. The semi-sweet varieties are the most popular.

The Georgian cuisine is unique to the country, but also carries some influences from other European and nearby Middle Eastern culinary traditions. Each historical province of Georgia has its own distinct culinary tradition, with variations such as Megrelian, Kakhetian, and Imeretian cuisines. Rich with meat dishes, the Georgian cuisine also offers a variety of vegetarian dishes.

Georgian cuisine is the result of the broad interplay of culinary ideas carried along the trade routes by merchants and travelers alike. The importance of both food and drink to Georgian culture is best observed during a feast called supra, when a huge assortment of dishes are prepared, always accompanied by large amount of wine. In a Georgian feast, the role of the Tamada (toastmaster) is an important and honored position.