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Republic of Georgia’s wine industry

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Located between the Caspian- and Black Sea, this small republic is a considerable wine producer in the Caucasus and once was Russia’s biggest supplier.

After Georgia’s war attempting to neutralize and annex Ossetia and Azharia Russia imposed a ban under false pretences on Georgian wine imports.

This forced wineries to increase their export efforts to western countries. Packaging was improved, and quality refined.

Researchers concluded that grape cultivation from the beginning of civilization was at home in the Caucasus, and Georgia’s terroir allows noble grape varieties (vitis vinifera), descendents of vitis silvestris to thrive.

The Caucasus is considered the “cradle of wine” and wine in the region played an important role in the economies of both Georgia and Armenia.

Armenians who have been living there for centuries farm large swats of vineyards in Georgia.

Tblisi, the capital, has always been a magnet for Armenian traders and intellectuals.

The history of Georgia’s wine industry is turbulent, fraught with wars, natural disasters, fungal diseases, and the dreaded pyhlloxera, that devastated thousands of hectares of vineyards, but industrious Georgians have replanted, and now produce high-quality wines appreciated in many countries including Russia, which now again allows imports.

In Georgia, the climate varies from moderate to subtropical, with an annual precipitation of 300 – 600 mm in the east, and 1000 – 4000 mm in the west, closer to the Black Sea.

Georgia has five well-defined wine regions, Kakheti (grows 70 per cent of all grapes); Kartli (15 per cent); Imereti and Racha-Lechkumi

Kakheti has 25 sub-appellations of which Mukuzani, Kindzamarauli and Tsinandali are most important.

Racha-Lechkumi located north of Imereti, on the banks of the Rioni- and Tsekhenistskali Rivers is relatively hot and yields very sweet fruit. Kvanchkara is famous for its sweet wines.

The wine laws allow the use of 39 approved varieties including Rkatsiteli (the most popular white wine grapes variety), Tsolikouri, Tsitska, Chinuri, Saperavi, Garuli mtsvane, Mtasvane Kakhetinski, Ojaleski, Aladastuni, Khikhvi, Chkaveri, Dzvelshvari, Obchuri, Aligote, Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet sauvignon, and Saperavi severnyi are the most important and popular. Saperavi severny is a hybrid developed in the Potapenka Viticultural Institute, in Russia. Severnyi is the cold resistant parent and belongs to the vitis amurensis family of grapes.

Tblisi is the centre of sparkling wine production.

Some wineries specialize in wines fermented and egad in khivri (very large buried earthenware amphorae-shaped vessels), The fermentation occurs under temperature-controlled conditions resulting in high quality, uniquely flavoured wines.

Now, even some western European and American winemakers have started to use specially designed ‘amphorae-shaped or egg-shaped) earthenware or concrete vessels.

Georgian wines are produced naturally with minimal intervention. They reflect the terroir.

Georgia’s three biggest wineries (Maran, Tbilvini, and Teliani source their grapes from Kakheti.

Georgian brandy has been famous for centuries, and is being exported to many countries including the United Kingdom, the U S A, eastern and western European countries, Russia and many others.

Red wines are mostly full bodied, with a good grip and some residual sugar, but sufficient acidity to render them refreshing and palatable. These types of wines suit the palate of east European palates who consider sweetish red wines superior in quality to dry.

White wines are dry of to off dry, fruity, with adequate levels of alcohol, refreshing, and pleasant, especially suitable for Georgian specialties,

Georgian wines are available in Ontario as consignment or special import products.

For orders contact United Stars Agencies

www.unitedstars.ca
vgrouzman@unitedstars.ca
416 767 8639

Hrayr Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.

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