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History of Georgian wine

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

A bronze statue of "tamada" toastmaster sitting with a horn of wine in Tbilisi

Winemaking in Georgia dates back to a period about 8000 years ago when the fertile valleys of Transcaucasia allowed for extensive grapevine cultivation. Viticulture was the base on which the pillars of Georgian wine making processes were erected. Georgia holds a long history of wine making and the quality of the wines has only got better as centuries have passed on. One noteworthy thing is that the winemaking farms are still managed by the families themselves. The culture of wine-making seems to have passed down from generation to generation. Commercialised units are undoubtedly there in the country but the majority of the wine that is produced and exported is obtained from the family-run businesses of wine production. Wine making thus can be called upon as a cultural symbol in Georgia. The country holds a long history of exporting wines to different countries. Russian markets were the first of all the foreign markets where the wines from Georgia began to be exported. In the modern times, Russia alone consumed over 80% of the total wine produced annually in Georgia till 2006 (Mateshvili, 2020). The year of 2006 saw Russia imposing a heavy duty on the Georgian wines forcing it to seek other export markets in the West. It was only in 2013 that Russia resumed importing Georgian wine after it heard that the duties on the imported products were to be lessened to a large extent in the agreement to be held next year. The agreement was held in 2014 between Georgia and the European Union over the issue of removing trade tariffs on Georgian wine. This further boosted the popularity of the wine by adding to the financial flexibility of shipping it overseas (Mateshvili, 2020).

Mateshvili, N., (2020). Georgian Wine--Production and International Sales Trends.

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