Georgian wine

By | Category: Travel news

a family vineyard in Georgia

By everybody’s bedside, no doubt, sits the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. In the latest fun-packed volume is an article entitled, “Early Neolithic wine of Georgia in the South Caucasus.”

The story has eighteen different authors spread across universities and institutions across seven different countries suggesting that the subject had been fairly widely considered by they got together and announced to the world that an area south of the Georgian capital of Tbilisi provides the earliest evidence of wine or in the words of the eighteen, “the earliest biomolecular archaeological evidence for grape wine and viniculture from the Near East, at ca. 6,000–5,800 BC.

The evidence is based upon chemical research of “ancient organic compounds absorbed into the pottery fabrics” and “including grape pollen, starch, and epidermal remains associated with a jar of similar type and date.”

It all boils down to that single conclusion that the oldest evidence of wine so far found comes from Georgia and that Neolithic man had some sophisticated tastes. He just probably didn’t know that he had.

There are a few places to find Georgian wine in the UK. I tasted some whilst I was there a few years’ ago and it – as is the case in most countries – varies. Of significance though is that there are more varieties (some 500 in all I was told) of grape, many that are largely unknown over here and that is due to local farmers nurturing them as each cultivated and produced their own wines. When the Russians – for many years the largest buyer of Georgian wines – banned them, vineyards could have declined to extinction if they had been on a western scale. As it was a cottage industry the vines were maintained and, eventually, new markets were found.

The fact that the story of Georgian viticulture can now be traced back some 8,000 years is going to be of significance as it will stimulate sales of Georgian wines and tourism.

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