This is something that I have always meant to blog about since it first captured my imagination. From simply doing research for a book project I was working on, I have always wanted to travel to the country of Georgia. To venture into the Caucasus Mountains that form its northern border and roam the streets of it’s capital city Tbilisi.
Set between the Black and Caspian Seas, Georgia first caught my attention in a series of videos called Vintage : A History of Wine which are narrated by the author of the original book by Hugh Johnson. It is in this small, beautiful country that the story of wine begins.
In his film, Hugh explains that not only is Georgian Wine still made by the same ancient process of aging in gourds underground but that the history of winemaking there goes back to 10,000 B.C.
I could almost finish my blog there and just let your imagination take things from that point. This country on the border of Europe and Asia was making wine, something that requires patience and planning (and most importantly, civilisation) before most of the great empires of history took their first steps. As an example they were making wine long before the construction of the first of the Egyptian pyramids with the earliest being the Pyramid of Djoser between 2630 and 2611 B.C.
The vineyard owners that Hugh Johnson interviewed were very humble and friendly which is exactly what I experienced myself when I made contact with people from this country myself. Long before the Internet was what it is today I emailed some folks for more information on Georgia. I was sent not only the phrasebook I sent for but a sheet of Georgian recipes and another sheet that contained facts about the country. I still have my copy of this wonderful book by Patricia Hall and Tatyana Bukia which goes over everything from basic survival phrases to what to say at a Georgian Dinner.
What is also interesting has been the increase of archeological discoveries in the countryside. They have found the existence of dinosaurs in the area, ancient caves and more importantly, the evidence of human activity. Near the town of Dmanisi, sixty kilometers south of Tbilisi that go back 1.7 million years. For those who believe in the accounts of the Bible, Mount Ararat of the story of Noah’s Ark is a stone’s throw away.
What ever one believes I am personally enchanted by the wonder of Georgia as one of Europe’s most fascinating treasures. Due to its military position as the border between two continents, its truth may be locked away under centuries of soldiers, horses and the endless scouring of time.
If you are a Victoria, BC based reader you can find Georgian Wine as I have at the BC Liquor Store at the corner of Fort and Foul Bay.
Thank you for reading!