The fertile valleys of the South Caucasus, which Georgia straddles, are believed by many archaeologists to be the source of the world\'s first cultivated grapevines and neolithic wine production, over 8,000 years ago. Due to many millennia of wine in Georgia history, the tradition of its viticulture are entwined and inseparable with the country\'s national identity. The roots of Georgian viticulture have been traced back by archaeology to ar least 6000 BC, when people of South Caucasus discovered that wild grape juice turned into wine when it was left buried through the winter in a shallow pit. This knowledge was nourished by experience, and from 4000 BC Georgian were cultivating grapes.
Reasons to choose Georgia.
- Georgia is thought to be the world\'s first cultivated grapevines area.
- History of wine-making stretches goes back over 8,000 years.
- Vineyard Sector is one of the most advantageous investable sectors.
- Georgian government has taken steps to protect and encourage the industry.
- Georgian agriculture is in a period of transformation, which creates a vast number of investment opportunities
Georgia ranks 2nd (in terms of volume) in grape production in the former Soviet Union behind Moldova, and Georgian wines have always been the most highly prized and sought after in the Soviet space.
- Extremes of weather are unusual: summers tend to be short-sleeve sunny, and winters mild and frost-free. Natural springs abound, and the Caucasian Mountain streams drain mineral-rich water into the valleys.
- Georgia\'s moderate climate and moist air, influenced by the Black Sea, provide the best conditions for vine cultivating.
- The soil in vineyards is so intensively cultivated that the grape vines grow up the trunks of fruit trees eventually hanging down along the fruit when they ripen.
- So ingrained is viticulture in the country that imagery of grapevines can be seen adorning churches and public monuments.
- With only 45,000 hectares of vineyards (one of the world\'s largest wine producers, Spain, has over one million hectares) Georgian wine will always be a relatively bespoke operation.
- In 1950 vineyards in Georgia occupied 143,000 acres and in1985 it increased to 316,000 acres due to increase in demand. With over 500 endemic varieties of grapes it is one of the world\'s most diverse for types of wine, with most families owning small vineyards using traditional wine-making methods -- typically in huge, underground amphorae-like vessels called "qveri".
With its huge potential:
- Since 2004 the Georgian government has taken steps to protect and encourage the Wine industry, has given big boost to the Vineyard sector also.
- Wine is very important for the country and so is the Vineyard sector.
- Vineyard is the backbone of the Wine Sector
- It’s one of the high quality products of the country.
- The key instrument to raise awareness, plus the uniqueness gives the opportunity to attract international attention.
Following factors have given immense boost to the Vineyard sector:-
- Sales of Georgian wine have been increasing for the last three years.
- Western consumers have better expectations rather than those who have an established history of drinking Georgian wines.
- 300,000 bottles that Schuchmann Wine produces each year could be expanded to one million, as China\'s thirst for wine increases each year.
- It could still take another five years for the volume of sales to surpass pre-2006 levels.
- In 1985 wine production was 881,000 tons>
- As per Agriculture Ministry of Georgia, grapes harvest in 2009 was 130000 tons and wine production has increased from 13.8 million wine bottles in 2009 to 15.8 million wine bottles in 2010 with bottle size 0.75 l (11.85 thousand tons in 2010).
- In 2009 Georgia exported 10.968 million bottles of wine in 45 countries.
- In 2010 Georgia exported wines in: Ukraine - about 7.5 million bottles, Kazakhstan - about 2.0 million bottles, Belarus - about 1.2 million bottles, Poland - about 870 thousands bottles and Latvia - 590 thousands bottles.
- Georgia ranks 2nd (in terms of volume) in grape production in the former Soviet Union behind Moldova, and Georgian wines have always been the most highly prized and sought after in the Soviet space.
Wine-producing regions of Georgia .
There are five main regions of viniculture, the principal region being Kakheti, which produces seventy percent of Georgia\'s grapes. Traditionally, Georgian wines carry the name of the source region, district, or village, much like French regional wines such as Bordeaux or Burgundy. As with these French wines, Georgian wines are usually a blend of two or more grapes. For instance, one of the best-known white wines, Tsinandali, is a blend of Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane grapes from the micro regions of Telavi and Kvareli in the Kakheti region.
- Kakheti, containing the micro-regions Telavi and Kvareli
- Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti
Grape varieties in Georgia
Traditional Georgian grape varieties are little known in the West. Now that the wines of Eastern and Central Europe are coming to international awareness, grapes from this region are becoming better known. Although there are nearly 400 to choose from, only 38 varieties are officially grown for commercial viticulture in Georgia:-
- Rkatsiteli (white)- is a variety that is so widely grown in Eastern and Central Europe that it ranks third in the world in hectares grown. It is the most important grape variety used to make Georgian white wines. It is high in acidity and is capable of producing wines with fine character.
- Saperavi (red)- produces substantial deep red wines that are suitable for extended aging, perhaps up to fifty years. Saperavi has the potential to produce high alcohol levels and is used extensively for blending with other lesser varieties. It is the most important grape variety used to make Georgian red wines.
- Mtsvani (or Mtsvane)- (white) is also important in Georgian wines, and is often blended with Rkatsiteli to which it adds a fruity, aromatic balance. In the Georgian language Mtsvane means green.
- Alexandrouli (Alexandreuli,Alexsandrouli, red).
- Tsolikauri (white).
- Tetra (white).