Georgia has one of the world's oldest and most vibrant wine cultures. She can and frequently does lay claim to being the birthplace of viticulture and attributes the longevity of many Georgians to their enthusiastic wine consumption.
Georgia is the birthplace of several fine grape varieties, chief amongst them Rkatsiteli for crisp whites and Saperavi for fiery, deeply coloured and potentially long-lived reds. It also retains some distinctive winemaking traditions, most notably the use of qvevri, giant clay amphorae, for fermentation and maturation. At harvest trodden grapes, skins and stalks are deposited in these vessels which are buried deep in the ground and left to their own devices, producing wines of real character.
Like Moldova, Georgia had to concentrate harder on finding new export markets since its imports to Russia were blocked in 2006, embracing an EU-compatible appellation system to define key areas of production. Although the Russian embargo has now been lifted, it remains to be seen whether this will have a positive effect on Georgian wine production.
Some favourite producers: Pheasant’s Tears, Teleda, Vinoterra.