Georgia – The Cradle of Viticulture

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For generations, Georgia has proudly claimed the title of the birthplace of wine.

Archeological findings are now adding material evidence to support Georgia’s claim as the world’s oldest wine-producing country.

Researchers analyzing the residue contained within the vessels — the remains of grapes and grape seeds — dated the material to 6000 BCE. This establishes ancient Georgia as the first known location of grape winemaking.

Georgian winemaking practices existed 3,000 years before the invention of writing and 5,000 years before the start of the Iron Age.

Situated at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East — and enjoying a climate and terrain perfectly suited for the cultivation of grapes — ancient Georgia supplied wines and vines to the first cities of the Fertile Crescent: Babylon and Ur.

Georgia’s location has made it vulnerable to a host of adversaries throughout history.

While ancient civilizations like Egypt and Greece developed wine cultures of their own, all owe a debt to Georgian viticulture. The ancient Greek writings of both Homer and Apollonius of Rhodes include mentions of Georgia’s traditions of vine growing and winemaking.

Many of the vines cultivated in Europe and Asia today are known to have Georgian origins. The Western words for wine — vin, vino, wine, and others — likely come from the Georgian word ghvino (or gvino).

Winemaking has long been the engine of the Georgian economy, elevating the vine to a symbol of endurance, rebirth, and prosperity. Shared fervor for the grape continues as winemakers explore new markets, reexamine centuries-old terroirs, and carve out a new place for their wines on the world stage.

As the Georgian wine revival gathers steam, today’s local winemakers are harnessing their national heritage to produce some of the world’s most distinctive wines. In the process, they’re transforming into an emerging artisanal powerhouse — tying wine’s deep past to a dynamic future.

Winemaking in Georgia stretches back over 8,000 years of history. According to archaeological evidence, the first Georgian wines were made and stored in earthenware vessels called kvevri (or qvevri). The kvevri is Georgia’s most important and best-known winemaking vessel, and it remains the centerpiece of traditional winemaking in Georgia.

The tradition of making wine in kvevri is so embedded in Georgian culture that in 2013 UNESCO added it to its catalog of humanity’s intangible cultural heritage. This marked the kvevri a symbol of the deep cultural roots of Georgian wine and the authenticity of Georgian winemaking.

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