Alazani Valley, Pitsunda, etc). Such a deep love for the vine, the wealth of vine varieties with characteristic economic and morphological properties as well as ancient traditions of vine cultivation, which even the great Homer and such outstanding figures of the Antiquity as Appolo of Rhodes and Strabon and Procopius of Caesaria used to mention in their works all this allows modern scientists to assume, that it was the Transcaucasus, especially Georgia, which was the native land of the first known cultured grape varieties. Xenophon(401-400) remembered about Georgian wine: that Caucasian tribe who lived in the Black sea coast prepared strong wine. When Jason and Argonauts arrived in Colchis to claim the Golden fleece they witnessed many wonders and among them hanging vineyards and fountains that spurted wine.
Wine's name itself is of Georgians origin "GVINO" ("Beii","vin","wein","vine"...) Even the Georgian alphabet uses the shapes of the vine.
Georgian wine's God "BADAGONI" is revealed in Dionise's cult, it's mosaic floors and appearance was discovered in the town-type Dzalisa (2th-3th cc).
Winemaking. Survived historical monuments of Georgia’s tangible culture as well as number of records confirm that the winemaking growth level was rather high in Georgia far before Christ (B.C) and, that the wine was exported from Georgia to Europe. After adoption of Christianity (at the beginning of the 4-th century) wine was broadly used in religious ceremonies. It is evidenced by the discovered wine church plates. After Georgia’s liberalization from Arabian yoke (in 11-th century), technology and technique of wine production was improved along with other sectors of national economy. There were elaborated preparation methods of domestic wines, such as those of Kakheti, Imereti and Kartli. There have emerged stone and wooden presses as well as double-walled earthenware jugs of large capacity (known as Kvevri), where the fermentation temperature of the must is adjusted.
First evidences on production of sparkling wine and cognac were emerged in 40-80s of 19-th century. In the first half of 1870s, Georgia had been producing 7,6 million decalitre of wine. And by 1913, volume of the wine achieved 9,2 million decalitre.
At present, main direction of Georgian winemaking is the production of table dry and semisweet wines; Georgian wine manufacturing is generally concentrated in three areas – Kakheti (about 60-70%), Kartli and Imereti. Vintage and ordinary table wines of European and Kakhetian types are produced in Kakheti; Wines of European type and cognac and champagne materials are prepared in Kartli; Wines of European and Imeretian types and cognac materials as well as 80% of the country’s sparkling wine-materials are manufactured in Imereti. High-quality semisweet wines such as “Khvanchkara”, “Usakhelouri” and “Tvishi” are produced in Racha-Lechkhumi region.
Wine is a part of Georgian heritage, including architecture, poetry, songs, and associated with celebrations, holidays, rituals and what’s most important, religion.
The vine in Georgia has an iconic significance. It is a symbol of regeneration, of wealth and plenty.
Georgian named October as "GVINOBISTVE" (the month of wine). In Georgia Christianity was adopted together with a wine. St. Nino brought Christianity to Georgia, made a cross from vine stems and tied them together with her hair. Most of churches are decorated with the vine ornaments. By the medieval king poet the new blossomed vine was compared with the Virgin. Among existing 4000 vine sorts 500 are of Georgian origin.
In Georgia a solemn or mournful ritual, as it is seen from the Georgian folklore and history, has always had distinctive features of its own. It was a habit with the Georgians to use wine in ample quantities and people in the Antique countries were amazed at the fact, that the Georgians never diluted wine with water while performing their rituals. Our ancestors used to drink the wine that is mentioned as "fragrant wine" in the great Homer's "Odyssey".
A French traveler of the 17th century, Chardin by name, wrote that there was no other country in the world in which wine was so good and drunk so amply, as in Georgia.
In present day Georgia the number of praiseworthy wines keeps growing and their quality is continuously improved. Jan Goldheimer in his "Concise Dictionary of drinks" lists up to 40 kinds of Georgian wines, among them such world-famous wines as Tsinandali, Gurdjaani, Khvanchkara and many others.