Rituals related to wine-making in old Georgia
02 November, 2018
Rituals related to wine-making in old Georgia
In old times, wine cellars used to be considered as a sacred place where certain rituals took place. The rituals were held in order to bring prosperity into the life of folks.


Arcangelo Lamberti about Georgia


In his writings about Georgia, the Italian missionary Arcangelo Lamberti points out that Georgians celebrated weddings in a wine cellar. According to the French traveler Jean Chardin, the ceremony of baptism would also take place in the cellars. The latter would have been unusual and rare
to the Christian liturgy.
geotv.ge
A wine cellar in Georgia

Wine cellars used to house large earthenware vessels called Qvevri or Kvevri used for the fermentation, storage, and aging of traditional Georgian wine.

Georgia – a cradle of wine


Georgia is the country where the earliest evidence of grape wine-making was found. Telltale chemical signs of wine in the pottery jars, discovered in two Neolithic villages (called Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora about 50km (30 miles) south of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia) dates back 5,980 BC. Previously, the earliest evidence of grape wine-making had been found in the Zagros Mountains of Iran and dated to 5,400-5,000 BC.

Read more: Is Georgia the world's cradle of wine? - CNN

Winemaking rituals in other parts of Georgia


Some of the rituals still take place in Georgia. In the villages of Guria (the western part of Georgia), the ritual of Kalandoba has remained a popular celebration to the present day. Kalandoba takes place on a New Year day. The family bakes rolls of bread in the shapes of vines, bunches of grape and udders of a cow. The oldest in the family put the head of a pig over a stick, places bread and sweet around it. Accompanied by his family, he goes to the wine cellar and drinks wine. The members of the family take the tools of the cellar and hit them against storage where the grapes are pressed, making some melody as a prayer for a rich harvest.
geotv.ge

A wine cellar in Georgia


There were several other rituals popular in different regions of Georgia. One of them was to decorate a vineyard with the branches of elms and dog roses or splatter it with holy water. Sometimes, folks would build a sharp iron sickle or set a fire in a vineyard. All those rituals were believed to scare away evil powers.

Besides, there were certain prohibitions as part of the rituals laid out by the folks. For example, during the blooming cycle of the grapes in May, it was prohibited to enter the vineyards. It was believed, they would interfere with the flowering of the plants.
geotv.ge
The special tools in a cellar used for winemaking

Related stories:

"Georgia: A guide to the cradle of wine" – Precious book for wine-lovers released

Kakheti: Georgia’s cradle of wine - Euronews

Georgian vintners proud of their ancient winemaking tradition

The Art of Winemaking in Georgia



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