Wine Tours in Georgia
Georgia is known as a cradle of wine. Most archaeologist believe that wine production began on the territory of Georgia more than 8 thousand years ago. Due to the so long history of wine in Georgian history, the traditions of its viticulture are entwined and inseparable with the country’s national identity.
Different shape, size and design wine vessels made from clay were discovered by Georgian archaeologists. The most impressive wine vessel is kvevri that is a giant clay vessel in which wine is fermented and stored up. Georgians used to dig kvevir into soil. Khelada, doki, sura, chinchila, deda-khelada, dzhami and marani are wine vessels used for drinking.
Many of the wine vessels discovered by the archaeologists were made from gold, silver and bronze. These artifacts dated back to the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC and bear chased imprints of the vine, grape clusters and leaves. Lots of sarcophagi with wine pitchers and ornamented wine cups, found in ancient tombs, are a proof that wine was nothing unusual for Georgians at all times. Based on these artifacts we dare say that viticulture is a pre-eminent theme in the long record of Georgian history.
Georgia ranks second among the countries of the former Soviet Union. Almost every family has its own vineyards and Georgian peasants still produce wine using the traditional Georgian technology.
About 400 vine species grow in Georgia but only 38 varieties are officially grown for commercial viticulture.
Due to these reasons, wine tours are most popular in Georgia. Wine tours in Georgia mean not only tasting good wines and delicious Georgian cuisine but learning about the country’s history and culture. During the tour visitors taste various Georgian wines, make traditional sweet – Churchkhela and visit ancient churches and castles. Also they enjoy Georgian folk songs that are included in the list of UNESCO immaterial heritage.
As a rule wine tours in Georgia include tasting of Georgian dishes. Georgian cuisine is very popular among the foreign tourists. During wine tours tourists participate in various activities such as rtveli (collecting of grape harvest), making of churchkhela that is a traditional Georgian sweet and baking of Georgian bread with the old technologies. Visit old enotecas and wine cellars is a part of wine tours, too. Besides, programs usually include wine factories where visitors can test various kinds of wine and visit a peasant’s wine cellar to attend the process of wine making with the traditional Georgian methods.
Since vine is an integral part of the Georgian culture and decorations such as vine leaves and grapes are used on the facades of the churches and monasteries, monuments of material heritage are listed in the program of wine tours. too. But immaterial heritage – Georgian folk songs and dances that are extremely popular is one of the basic component of these tours. Visitors enjoy the performances of folk ensembles.
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