CULTURE
Qvevri Winemaking on UNESCO Cultural Heritage List
12 December, 2013
The ancient tradition of Qvevri winemaking in Georgia is now recognized by UNESCO as a significant intangible cultural heritage. The decision was made in Baku at the 8th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage that took place from 2nd to 7th of December. The session was chaired by Minister of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan Abulfas Garayev.
A statement by Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia emphasizes that this is very important
for the country because it is the “first monument of the intangible cultural heritage of Georgia that was approved by the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage convention;” it will help popularize Georgian wine throughout the world since “the new nomination will raise the awareness of our country as the possessor of ancient cultural traditions, which not only give winemaking an 8000 year history, but make it live today though traditions of Georgian hospitality, and relations between people.”
In 2011, Ministry of Culture of Georgia gave Qvevri winemaking the highest national monument status.
A Qvevri is a clay jug or amphora that is buried in the ground, and used for maturing and storing wine. The Qvevri tradition is practiced in Eastern and Western Georgia.
Georgia joined the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention in 2007. The country recognizes importance of protecting intangible cultural heritage through identification, keeping inventories, research, protection, popularization, etc.
Intangible cultural heritage includes oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festivals, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, or knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts. The deputy Minister of Culture Marine Mizandari, Director of Department of Cultural and Humanitarian Relations of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ketevan Kandelaki, Chief of International Relations Department of National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia Rusudan Mirzikashvili, the international expert on intangible cultural heritage Rusudan Tsurtsumia, and executive director of the Georgian Wine Association Tina Kezeli, all attended the 8th session of UNESCO in Baku.
The Georgian winemaking tradition was among 14 new entries this year, together with other intangible cultural monuments such as: Mongolian calligraphy, Italian violin craftsmanship, Chinese shadow puppetry, the traditional Japanese Washoku cooking method, and Korean kimchi-making.
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