Viticulture research launched
20 February, 2014
Georgia has launched a project for scientific research of its viticulture aiming to confirm its claim to be “the cradle of wine.” “I would say without exaggeration that the wine culture is identified with the nationality of Georgian man,” Irakli Gharibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia, stated during an event presenting the Georgian Vine and Wine Culture Research that took place at the National Museum of Georgia on 11 February. “The historical roots of the Georgian people are entwined with the
roots of the vine, and the history of Georgian wine producing is integrated with the history of the Georgian people.”
The PM indicated that development of the wine industry is a priority for Georgian authorities, and that serious work is planned. He believes Georgian wine has a great chance to improve its image, and be put next to the best wines on the global market. He also initiated two ideas: to set up a wine museum in Tbilisi, and celebrate Georgian Wine day on the last Sunday of each October.
”Our wine will become the image product of our country and each Georgian will be proud of it,” the PM said. However, convincing the world will not be easy; Georgia is hardly the only wine producing country which lays much emphasis on its ancient traditions.
But according to Levan Davitashvili, Head of the National Wine Agency, Georgia plans many scientific activities like analyzing the remnants of vines discovered in different historical epochs on Georgian territory, and bio-chemical tests of archeological materials in order to discover wine acid, that will prove the age of wine production in Georgia. The works also entails exploration and characterization of the soil-climate of Georgia, as well as the genetic resources of cultured and wild vines.
The South Caucasus region is where most ancient wine artifacts have been discovered – hence “the cradle of wine” claims. Some scientists narrow the area to Georgia, where proof may have been found in the form of archeological discoveries dated at 6-4 millennia BC, including cultured grape seeds, a jar with an engraved grape ornament, agriculture tools, etc. Scientists suggest that Georgian viticulture has been developing for 80 centuries, during which wild vines were made civilized and versatile.
They claim different wine-making technology developed in Georgia – specifically that of the Qvevri, a clay jar imbedded in the earth; and these have not changed for thousands of years; recently Qvevri technology entered the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Georgia has prided itself on all this for decades, but satisfactory international recognition is yet to follow.
Therefore the Wine Agency will cooperate not only with Georgian scientific institutes but also with outstanding foreign institutes and scientists such as Osvaldo Failla of Milan University, Laurent Boub, Bio-archeologist at Montpellier Bio-archeological Center, Patrick E. McGovern from the Center of Bio-molecular Archeology at Pennsylvania University, Roberto Bachilieri, a scientist from Agriculture Research National Institute at Montpellier, and Patric Tisi, Deputy Director of Agriculture Research National Institute. The Consultants Council, including famous international scientists, will be consulting with the Scientific Council that will plan and approve the scientific programs of the project. Davitashvili is in charge of project administration and control.