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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Georgian Wine-making

On the front cover there is depicted the sculpture «Tamada». Georgia, Vani, VII century B.C.
On the back cover - ritual clay wine vessel «Kvevri». Georgia , Samadlo, IV-III centuries

Georgia is considered one of progenitress of wine making. The cultivation of cultural grapes and the wine production from it on the territory of Georgia were developed 6 thousand years B.C. This is confirmed by this seeds, found in the ancient burials on the territory of Georgia (Mtsxeta, Alazanskaya valley, Picunda), and the archaeological excavations of the ancient Georgian settlements, whose age is 8 thousand years, on the vessels discovered there frequently are pictured the image of the grapevine.
Remained historical monuments of the material culture of Georgia, and also a number of written sources confirm that as long ago as our era the level of the development of wine making in Georgia was the sufficiently high, the wine produced here was exported to the different countries of the world. In view of enormous practical experience, here were invented the local, specific technologies of the production of both the sparkling and quiet wines as well.
Sparkling wines have the older history of production, than champagne wines. The history of sparkling wines rises from the ancient Kolkhida (Georgia), where were produced natural sparkling demi-doux (semisweet) wines by the method of fermentation under the pressure.
According to the legends of Homer (10 c. B.C.) in Kolkhida were prepared “sparkling and fragrant wines”. In the later times for their quality were separated the sparkling wines, manufactured in Kartli and Imereti (Georgia). In the times of Queen Tamara in the cliffs Vardzia (Georgia) were prepared wine jugs with the double walls, like the thermos. This kinds of ware made it possible to regulate the temperature of the fermentation of must - the necessary condition for production of the high-quality wines.
At our days the purely empirically found methods of sparkling wines production in past were put to the basis of the contemporary technologies of Georgian sparkling wines production - “Atenuri”, “Chkhaveri”, “Aladasturi”, etc.
Sparkling wines in basically were fermented and stored in the buried clay jugs - kvevri, which protects the wine from temperatures fluctuation of the external environment.
In kvevri also were fermented Georgian quiet wines, which’s specific special feature of production technology was that the must of the white and red types of grapes were fermented on the pulp with the crests and then they maintained on the same pulp during 3-4 months for the ripening. In this time wine self-clarifies and as a result of physico chemical processes it acquires the specific organoleptic properties.
The technology used in East Georgia (Kakheti) provides the fermentation of must on the pulp, which contains the all quantity of grapes’ solid parts. As the raw material here in essence is used white grapes types: Rkatsiteli and red Saperavi.
Since olden times in the Western areas of Georgia from the Imeretian types of white grapes of Tsolikouri, Krakhuna, Tsitska prepare the table wines, like Kakhetian - with the fermentation of must without the crests on the preliminarily fermented pressed overflow in the natural conditions of environment, added to the must in quantity 4- 6%. Wine-making materials stay on the pulp for 2 months, then they remove 10 and process for the release of ordinary Imeretian wine Dimi or self-possessed in the barrels for two years the brand wine Sviri.
Thus, the specific special feature of the Georgian types of table wines is that both white and red wines obtain by the way of fermentation of musts and the following staying of obtained wine-making material on the pulp.
In the given monograph the scientific bases of the technology of obtaining the Georgian types of wines are presented for the first time. In the book also is information about the regions of wine making of Georgia.
Bagaturia N.Sh. GEORGIAN WINE-MAKING. Theory and Practice. Tbilisi, 2010 LINK