Winemaking history in Georgia

October 8, 2020

Winemaking history in Georgia

Georgia is a warm and friendly country with ancient culture, great names and the first and unique experience of winemaking. As it is impossible to imagine the ocean without water, so it is impossible to imagine Georgia without wine. It seems as if the universe itself conceived and created Georgia as a pioneer and producer of various and unusual wines. And despite the fact that no holiday, feast or friendly gathering takes place in Georgia without wine, few people know that the history of Georgian winemaking dates back many centuries and dates back to the XIX-X centuries BC. In that distant period there was a study and development of new wine-growing microzones, the use of new devices and tools for cultivation of land, care for growing grapes and harvesting. It was the inhabitants of Georgia at that time sought to improve the methods of obtaining wine, creating new technologies, such as Imereti and Kakheti. These technologies have survived to the present day almost in its original form. And even in ancient times, Georgian winemakers realized that you can get the best and finest wine by cooking and aging it in clay vessels of a special shape. These vessels still exist today and are called Qvevri. Undoubtedly, the adoption of Christianity played a fundamental role in the development of the wine industry in Georgia. As soon as this religion began to be recognized at the state level, the wine has acquired the status of a special drink used for religious rituals. By this time there were already many works on the art of winemaking and the exceptional properties and benefits of wine. Healers and healers used in their practice white and red wine in the treatment of diseases, to restore the body after diseases, injuries and wounds. For special wine special storages were created and separate places in them were allocated. They kept wine of the most excellent quality, it was also used during the ceremonies and services.

Winemaking during the wars of Georgia

As time went on, and for Georgia it was the turn of the bloody and devastating wars. For many centuries, beginning in the thirteenth century, the country embarked on a path of endless tiresome battles with its invaders. First, the khorezmians led by their ruler Jalal-ed-Din made their attacks on Georgia, and after a long time the country was harassed and tyrannized by the Mongols. Since the XVI century, Georgia became the subject of struggle and division between Iran and Turkey, which could threaten the complete destruction of the country. All this time, the wine industry of Georgia suffered from wars and repartitions, because each new conqueror tried to destroy the vineyards. However, the fierce love of the inhabitants for their land and gardens again and again raised them to restore and develop new crops. Using the breaks between the wars, winemakers recreated vineyards and produced wine. which has become the pride, heritage and culture of the country. Despite the endless and destructive wars, the inhabitants of Georgia in that difficult time brought more than 500 varieties of grapes, and also learned to produce new brands of wine.

Time of development of winemaking of Georgia in the XIX century

Over time, the state was revived: domestic and foreign policy was strengthened, economic and trade relations developed, the population grew, cities and roads were built, and agriculture was restored. And with it, wine-making was restored. The economy of the Specific Department played its role in this. It was founded in the second half of the XIX century and had belonging to the Russian Tsar, also including the famous to this day vineyards and production Mukuzani, Napareuli, Tbilisi, Tsinadali. Excellent European and Georgian winemakers worked at such plants and productions, recreating and bringing new ideas to the wine industry. In addition, Georgians tried to improve their skills and went to other countries, applying the acquired knowledge on their return. Thus, in 1877, the first highly specialized school was established in Georgia, the founder and head of which was Tsinamdzgvrishvili. It was here that future specialists in wine production and grape cultivation were trained. Another important event occurred in 1876, when Prince Bagration - Mukhransky laid the production of champagne. A little later in 1889 at the Paris wine exhibition Georgian champagne was awarded the First Prize. Full-scale production of champagne in Georgia was organized by a major industrialist Mihran Alexandrovich Ananov. Using modern equipment and improving its technology, it has gained wide fame and an excellent reputation in the wine industry. Thus began the flowering of Georgian winemaking.

Georgian winemaking in our days

Unfortunately, at the end of the twentieth century, the Georgian wine industry suffered huge losses. In connection with the beginning of the anti-alcohol campaign in the USSR in the 80s, alcohol production was significantly reduced. And despite the fact that the mass felling of vineyards affected Georgia to an incomplete extent, the laying and cultivation of new ones stopped altogether. That had a devastating effect on the industry as a whole. However, history is cyclical. And Georgia would not be itself if it did not restore the culture of winemaking. To date, more than 520 varieties of grapes are grown again in the country. More and more young and talented winemakers contribute to the development of the industry. Experts from Europe and the United States come to Georgia and stay here to bring something new to the wine industry of the country.