The Remarkable Evolution of Georgia's Wine Industry 1

The Remarkable Evolution of Georgia’s Wine Industry

From Russia with Love

Georgia is often dubbed as the “Cradle of Wine” as the country’s winemaking history dates back to more than 8,000 years. Traces of viniculture in Georgia were discovered during archaeological digs near the capital, Tbilisi. Making wine is deeply embedded in Georgian culture, so it’s not surprising that its production has continued to thrive after the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. In 2001, Georgia exported 13 million bottles of wine, mostly to Russia. However, the 2006 embargo imposed by Moscow due to political reasons dealt a huge blow to the industry. Looking to expand your understanding of the topic? Visit this external source we’ve selected for you, with additional and relevant information to expand your understanding of the topic. Verify this.

Revival and Sustainability

Georgia’s winemakers had to pivot and shift their focus to the European market, which became a viable alternative. However, entering the European market was not easy as the competition was tough, and Georgia had to establish itself as a producer of quality wines. The efforts of the Georgian government and winemakers didn’t go unnoticed as Georgia was granted a Geographical Indication (GI) status from the European Union (EU) in 2019. The GI recognition for wine produced in the regions of Kakheti, Kartli, Racha-Lechkhumi-Kvemo Svaneti, and Imereti places Georgia on the same level of recognition as the French champagne or Italian parmesan cheese.

The Georgian wine industry’s commitment to sustainability has garnered global recognition, too. In 2018, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) named Georgia as the top country in the world for sustainability efforts regarding wine production. Georgian winemakers employ traditional winemaking methods using clay vessels called “qvevri” buried underground. Unlike using oak barrels often used in modern winemaking, using qvevri avoids contaminating wine with wood and also eliminates the need for electricity. The result is wine made with minimal intervention that has unique taste and structure.

Innovation from Tradition

The wine industry’s evolution in Georgia is not limited to sustainability efforts—innovation plays a big role in its success as well. Recently, Georgian winemakers have looked at tradition through the lens of modern technology to produce wines that appeal to the younger generation. One such innovation is the creation of “orange wine.” It’s not made with oranges, but rather with white grapes that are macerated with the skin left on for a long time, resulting in an orange or amber-colored wine with a unique flavor combination of a white wine’s freshness and red wine’s depth.

Another innovative approach is the use of indigenous grape varieties that are now making a comeback. In the early 2000s, most of Georgia’s wine exports were from the Saperavi grape variety. However, Georgia has more than 500 different grape varieties that are native to the region, and winemakers are exploring the potential of each. The revival of these indigenous grapes has not only been critical to the wine industry’s survival but also to the preservation of Georgia’s cultural heritage.

The Remarkable Evolution of Georgia's Wine Industry 2

Building a Brand

The Georgian wine industry’s latest evolution revolves around developing the country’s brand instead of just promoting individual wineries. In 2019, the National Wine Agency of Georgia launched a new campaign called “Georgian Wine: Unexpected Discoveries.” The campaign is designed to market Georgian wine as a product that’s unique, diverse, and has a rich history, bridging the gap between winemaking in Georgia’s past and present. By marketing Georgian wine as a category instead of individual wineries, the new approach encourages tourists to experience different wineries and visit wine regions.

In conclusion, the Georgian wine industry’s evolution has been remarkable. From the setbacks of a Russian embargo to the achievements of the GI status and recognition for sustainability efforts, the industry has achieved significant milestones. The industry’s focus on innovation through traditional approaches, the use of indigenous grapes, and building a brand has placed Georgian wine at the forefront of the global wine industry. Find extra information on the subject in this external resource we suggest. georgia wine tours, keep learning!

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