Bolnisi, Oct 13 (EFE).- Considered as “the cradle of wine”, wine and viticulture are deeply entrenched in Georgia’s national identity and culture. Evidence of wine-making from as far back as the Neolithic period has been found by archeologists in the small transcontinental country, and nowadays, the industry is one of the nation’s most profitable sectors.
According to archaeological evidence, more than 8,000 years ago people of the South Caucasus (now Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan) discovered that wild grape juice could be transformed into wine after leaving it through the winter buried inside clay vessels known as “qvevri” (or kvevri), a distinctive egg-shaped object that has recently been used as an unofficial symbol for the country.
Wine has been an important part of the culture in Georgia ever since. People consider grapevines as a symbol of life and traces of them can be found at ruins and old burial grounds. In 2013, UNESCO recognised the qvevri wine-making method as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Georgia is home to optimal conditions for the growing and harvesting of grapevines: the weather conditions are not extreme, the air from the Black Sea is moist and rich in minerals, and natural springs abound.
During the years of the Soviet Union, the industry began to thrive as the wines were much better than others available on the Russian market.
Today, wine has a strategic importance to the country’s economy as it is one of the most exported commodities. In 2021, it generated a record revenue of nearly $400 million dollars.
This year that figure has taken a hit as Georgia lost the Ukrainian market due to the outset of the war. Until 2021, Ukraine was the second largest consumer of Georgian wine, only behind Russia that bought 62 million bottles in the last year.
Since Russia is their top customer and the country’s economy depends on it, Georgia has not imposed economic sanctions on Russia but has condemned the invasion of Ukraine. EFE