Georgian Wine Education

Wine Making Techniques

Monuments and documents have survived that confirm that winemaking was well advanced in Georgia long before Christ, and even that the wine was exported from Georgia to Europe at this time. With the coming of Christianity to Georgia at the beginning of the 4th Century, wine was used widely in religious ceremonies, a finding that is strengthened by the discovery of church wine plates. When Arab domination of Georgia retreated in the 11th Century, wine making techniques and the attendant technology improved markedly. Among the most innovative developments, for example in Kakheti, Imereti and Kartli, were the introduction of stone and wooden wine presses, and, especially, the famous double-walled earthenware jugs of large capacity (known as Kvevri), where the fermentation temperature of the must is regulated.

In the 17th Century, the French traveler Monsieur Sharden observed that Georgia produced a greater quantity of high quality wine than any other country. The production of sparkling wine and brandy emerged in 19th Century. By the 1870s, Georgia was producing 7.6 million decalitres of wine per annum, according to existing records. By 1913, this volume exceeded 9 million decalitres.

Today the main thrust of Georgian winemaking is the production of vintage, table dry and semisweet wines. Winemaking is generally concentrated in three regions: Kakheti, which produces from 60-70 percent of the total, Kartli and Imereti. Vintage and ordinary table wines of European and Kakhetian types are produced in Kakheti; wines of European type, as well as cognac and champagne, are prepared in Kartli; and wines of European and Imeretian types and brandy, as well as 80 percent of Georgia's sparkling wine, are produced in Imereti. High-quality semisweet wines such as Khvanchkara, Usakhelouri and Tvishi come mainly from the Racha-Lechkhumi region.