Georgia has protected its artistic heritage and been able to maintain the vibrancy of its unique traditions. It has conserved a biodiversity greater than that of some continents, and has a magnetism which draws people back to visit over and over again. Although as small as Switzerland, Georgia is big in all aspects; a progressive nation, European in attitude and Western in spirit; a real Caucasian country with the joy of the Mediterranean.
The vast vineyards of the Eastern Region of Kakheti, home to the largest wineries in the nation, are a clear illustration of this passion. In Georgia, there are a considerable number of grape varieties, more than anywhere else in the world. Most of them are used to make high-quality wines as prestigious as Tsinandali, Mukuzani, Theliani or Napareuli, all of which have received gold, silver and bronze medal awards in international competitions.
The care of the grape pickers and the meticulous selection process during the harvest, have led to Georgian wines enjoying worldwide recognition. According to archaeological research, Georgia is at the very cradle of wine culture, as grapes have been cultivated in this area for 7,000 years. It may even be true that the generic word for this most ancient of alcoholic drinks is derived from the Georgian word “gvino” And in some “marani”, or traditional wine cellars, such as this one in the town of Gurjaani, grapes are still pressed by foot in wooden vats to avoid crushing the seeds, which would give the wine a bitter taste.
In Kakheti, almost everything revolves around wine. Proof of this is the XVI century wine cellar in Velistsikhe, in which the traditional “kvevri” are still used: clay barrels buried underground that maintain a constant temperature to ensure optimal fermentation.
These fossilized grapes from the Neolithic Age and the discovery of vessels from the III century B.C., prove that since Prehistory, wine has played a key socioeconomic role in this region.