8,000 years of winemaking
It was over 8,000 years ago that grapes were first grown for winemaking in this area and nowadays there are over 500 varieties of indigenous grapes still in use. These varieties represent nearly one-sixth of all the world’s grape varieties and include many totally unique endangered versions. Saperavi and Rhatsiteli are among the most important grape varieties found throughout the country, while other popular ones include Aleksandrouli, Chkhaveri, Ojaleshi, and Otskhanuri Sapere.
Traditionally in Georgia wine producing was totally male dominated. This is now changing as Christine Deussen of WinesGeorgia.com explains, “There has been an entire revolution in Georgia’s wine scene thanks to the embargo Russia put on Georgian wine imports in 2006. The Georgian wine industry had to largely transform itself, resulting in a new generation – almost ‘breed’ – of winemakers, in particular those that focus on low-intervention wines.’ This is an era of artisan producers creating some of the most innovative, distinctive and unique wines in the world.
Georgia is proud of its wines and rightly so. It is the only country in the world which has the longest unbroken tradition of winemaking. Even the words for wine – vin, vino and wine – are believed to originate in the Georgian word gvino.