Have the French just acknowledged that Georgia is the cradle of wine-making culture?
According to News 18 (India), France's Cite de Vin museum will salute Georgia's 9,000-year history as the birthplace of wine-making as it stages a new exhibition, which opened on Monday, July 31. The museum of wine history in the city of Bordeaux in southwest France will display 125 objects from Georgia that date back as far as the Neolithic era.
"We're trying to show how much the phenomenon of wine has been an inseparable part of daily Georgian life and culture since the very beginning," exhibit commissioner Nino Lordkipanidze told AFP. More than 39,000 people flocked to the museum in the French wine capital this year to see its first major exhibition, ‘Bistrot!’, gathering works of art portraying cafes and bars over the ages.
The Georgian exhibition will showcase pottery fragments as old as the 6th century BC – artifacts that contain traces of tartaric acid, which lends proof of the presence of wine. The exhibition will also feature a partially-reconstructed marani or wine cellar, as well as kvevri, Georgia’s iconic, egg-shaped cay vessels that remain in use today. The museum will also host a series of talks, concerts, film screenings and wine tastings during the course of the Georgian-themed exhibition.
Archaeological finds have shown that viticulture in Georgia dates as far back as 7,000 BC, well before western Europeans thought about drinking alcohol. Grapevine stems have even been found buried next to human remains.
"The vine accompanied the buried person on their journey to the hereafter," Lordkipanidze noted.
Early Georgians mulched grapes in their entirety – not wasting the juice, skins, pips or stems. After which, these items would be left to ferment in a kvevri, the large earthen pots stored in underground pits to keep the liquid cool. This winemaking process is employed by the majority of Georgian winemakers today in the production of both reds and white wines. Because the market for organic or naturally-made wines has started to increase in popularity, winemakers as far away as Australia and Italy are now simulating Georgia’s ancient winemaking techniques.