Raise a glass to Georgia, the official cradle of wine. გაუმარჯოს საქართველოს, ღვინის აკვანის სამშობლოს!

Raise a glass to Georgia, the official cradle of wine. გაუმარჯოს საქართველოს, ღვინის აკვანის სამშობლოს!
16 November 2017

Georgia, a country which straddles the fertile valleys of the south Caucasus Mountains between Europe and the Middle East, has been named as home to the first humans to conquer the common grape, giving rise to chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and thousands of other reds and whites we enjoy today.

So wrote Nicholas St. Fleur of The New York Times on Monday, as news of the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) study, published the same day, conclusively showed that the people of Gadachrili Gora were the planet’s earliest know vintners, producing large quantities of wine 8,000 years ago. The news spread like wildfire across international media outlets including National Geographic, The Guardian, The BBC, and many more.

The next morning, on November 14, the Georgian Wine Agency held an event dedicated to this issue at the Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, Tbilisi. The Minister of Agriculture, Levan Davitashvili, commended the significance of these findings, “It’s a very significant day for me personally, and for all those who participated in this project. I would like to remember the beginning of the project in 2013, when we met with then-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili to discuss how having a strong wine tradition in the country is one of Georgia’s key advantages; a crucial element that had to be examined to scientifically prove that Georgia is indeed the home of wine. It is extremely important for our culture, its communication abroad, and for our identity”.

As Davistashvili noted, back in 2013, UNESCO recognized the Georgian Traditional Qvevri winemaking method as a part of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. In 2014, the research began as a team of leading specialists from seven countries began their investigation into whether or not Georgia was truly the “cradle of wine”. The Minister thanked the National Wine Agency and the Georgian National Museum Director Davit Lortikipanidze, also present, for their efforts in the realization of the project.

“It is a great honor for any Georgian to participate in the process of introducing our culture to the international community. Indeed, this is a situation one can only dream of, when your heritage is studied on a global level and recognized by the world’s scientific society,” Lortkipanidze said, going on to outline the history of the archeological research that started back in the 1960s with classical archeological excavations, before this project in 2014 took the research and study to a landmark new level.

“Georgia has a strong school of fundamental science that proves to be an extremely important advantage. It’s a pragmatic approach for discovery to have the right strategy, and this project was an example of the best international cooperation between scientific groups, giving us the result we have today,” he added.

With the world now well and truly informed about this landmark discovery, and Georgia confirmed as the Cradle of Wine, the next step should be to significantly up the ante on marketing. For it is perhaps a true tragedy of our time that much of the world remains ignorant of the exceptional quality of Georgian vintages. It’s about time that changed.

Mate Foldi

16 November 2017 19:16