Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Georgia (Wine) on my Mind
The country of Georgia is nestled in the southeastern corner of Europe, or is it the far western side of Asia? No matter, this country, about the size of Austria, has a rugged landscape defined by the dramatic Caucasus mountains, which boast the highest peak in Europe, Mount Elbrus (ah, so that’s a vote for Europe).
Formerly enclosed behind the iron curtain, this post-communist country is not well-known nor well traveled by Americans. Which is a shame, because this land offers its own magnificent brand of hospitality, so well expressed in the lines of their famous poet Rustaveli: Spending on feasting and wine is better than hoarding our substance; That which we give makes us richer, that which is hoarded is lost. In addition, the country has a fascinating, ancient tradition of making wine.
In fact, Georgia is considered by many to be the birthplace of wine. While some may consider the Romans or Greeks to be the first to ferment grapes, it’s simply not true. There is evidence of winemaking in Georgia dating back 5000-7000 years.
Now the country is determined to bring this ancient tradition into the modern world, looking to send its wines to export markets far beyond its borders.
I am pleased to announce that I am joining a select group of wine experts organized by 2020DC on a journey of a lifetime: seven days criss-crossing Georgia, visiting wineries, feasting at the rowdy and extravagant Supras, and learning about and documenting the state of Georgian wine. While internet may be scarce in the most rural pockets of the country, I will be tweeting and blogging as I can. When I return, my notes and photos will be made into articles distributed to a number of outlets – and I’ll make sure to include links of these in future blog posts.
For now, my mind and heart are turning eastward -- farther east in Europe than I have ever gone before. To the ancient land of mountains and wine. To Georgia.