“Wine fills the human heart with joy, and joy is the mother of all virtues,” Goethe once wrote. The cradle of wine industry is the sunny and colourful Georgia and it is a Georgian wine that is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest one in the world. The oldest wine container – kvevri (a large clay jug) – was also discovered in Georgia. It is from six thousand years ago – from before Christ. This holy drink, as it is called in Georgia, has a soul and a character. Personality of a winemaker can be recognized by the taste of their wine.
Wine is like poetry. According to R. L. Stevenson, wine is “poetry in a bottle.” Many poets have written about this blessed drink and likened it to freedom, liberty, courage, youth, and, of course, joy – saw in it a remedy for any illness, pain, or injustice. According to Federico Fellini, “a good wine is like a good movie: lasts a moment and leaves you in the mouth a taste of glory, is new in every sip and, as with movies, born and reborn in each taster.”
Georgian wine production techniques currently being used:
- Kakhetian (eastern Georgia),
- Imeretian (western Georgia), and
When using the Kakhetian technique, fermentation and ripening take place in the presence of the press cake (grape vine seeds, skins, and tendrils).
Using the Imeretian technique, fermentation and ripening take place in the presence of only the seeds and skins. The tendrils are separated beforehand and do not participate in these processes.
Using the European technique, fermentation takes place without the press cake. Everything is separated from the grape juice beforehand.
Wine consisting of just one grape variety is produced only in Kakheti (eastern Georgia). In other areas, it is a mixture of several varieties. The Georgian technique is unparalleled in the world and, together with the kvevri jug, was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The following wines are produced according to the Kakhetian technique: Saperavi, Mukuzani, Rkatsiteli, Kakheti, Shuamta and others. The following are produced according to the Imeretian technique: Svir, Dimi, Tsitska, and Tbilisuri. According to the European technology: Gurjaani, Napareuli, Manavi, and Tsinandali.
Huge kvevri jugs are buried into the ground of a cellar and that is how the grape juice turns into an excellent drink of an authentic taste. From the inside, kvevri are treated with beeswax, which allows the wine to stay as clean as possible without any unwanted flavours and odours. The overall aroma of the wine is called its bouquet. The term originated in France in the first half of the 19th century. The aroma matures for years, sometimes even decades, thus creating the wine bouquet.
At present, in addition to kvevri, metal containers are also being used.