History and activities
Georgia has more than 8,000 years of continuous winemaking history, which is evidenced by numerous archaeological discoveries. Georgians have shared the love for the grape the time immemorial and remain loyal to it through to modernity. Numerous displays related to wine making practices dating to millennia have been kept in Georgian museums.
Archaeologists discovered several grape pips of ancient millennia in Kvemo Kartli, to the south of Tbilisi, in the Marneuli Valley, in the ruins of the Dangreuli Gora and Gadachrili Gora. In accordance with morphological and ampelographic features, they then assigned the pips to a cultivated variety of grapevine, Vitis Vinifera Sativa.
The earliest traces of viticulture and wine were found in the ancient Neolithic settlements in the neighborhood of Dangreuli Gora (Shulaveri Hill, Cut Hill, Khrami Big Hill, Arukhlo Hill, Khizanaant Hill and others). Besides grape seeds, archaeologists have unearthed the remains of cultural wheat and legumes, agricultural implements and pottery, proving that in the Neolithic period, the inhabited humans developed agricultural activities including viticulture and wheat growing.
The qvevri vessels dating the Neolithic era were discovered during different archaeological excavations, as were cultural vine fossil seeds, tartaric acid sediment on the fragments of earthenware vessels for wine and resin the domesticated grapevine. The diversity of the wild and indigenous grape varieties, the unique wine vessel (the qvevri) and the oldest technologies of making wine by qvevri all confirm that Georgia is truly an ancient wine making country.
Since the pagan period, wine has had a ritual and mystical destination. In Georgian folk belief, the Aguna, or Angura, is considered a patron saint of viticulture. In Guria, the sacrifice ritual to Aguna is still well preserved as a theatrical performance.
With the spread of Christianity and wine’s association with the blood of Christ, vineyards and wine in Georgia gained even greater importance. A disseminator of Christianity named St. Nino appeared in Georgia with a cross tied with vine branches. Holy wine has always been made in large quantities in monasteries and old cellars (Marani) still remain in many monasteries.
The majority of linguists agree that semantic meaning of the word “wine” is rooted only in Georgian language, and supposedly it is derived the verb “Ghvivili”. The root of the word, “ghv,” is purely Georgian and is found in many Georgian words. Georgian name for wine is Ghvino.
Georgia has 525 endemic grape varieties but our wines are produced the 3 most common and widespread varieties of Khakheti region.