A Fierce Toast From Alice Feiring’s Drinking Horn - The New York Times
22 April, 2016
A Fierce Toast From Alice Feiring’s Drinking Horn - The New York Times
The New York Times has dedicated an article to natural-wine advocate Alice Feiring, the author of the famous book named ‘For the Love of Wine: My Odyssey Through the World’s Most Ancient Wine Culture’ and  Kantsi, a traditional Georgian drinking horn, she was presented while her visit to the country. Her book features her journey throughout Georgia and stories regarding Georgian wine and the culture of winemaking. Here is what the article says:

"There are certain criteria for guests invited
to dinner at Alice Feiring’s railroad one-bedroom, fourth-floor walk-up in a former tenement on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan.

They must be comfortable dining next to the bathtub, which sits in the kitchen. Adept at extemporizing poetic toasts. And ready to down, in one gulp, all the wine that can fit inside a ram’s horn.

“Like a shot of vodka,” said Ms. Feiring, a champion of natural wines who writes a blog and a subscription-only newsletter called “The Feiring Line.”

The horn, or khantsi as it is called in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, has a lip cuffed in silver and a finely wrought raven’s head at the tip. A slender chain joins the two, for hanging on the kitchen wall — or “from your sword belt,” Ms. Feiring said. “Georgians are very fierce about their wines.”

In 2011, she made her first trip to Georgia, where traces of wine residue have been found dating back to 6000 B.C. She was struck by the number of vintners who, despite decades of Soviet industrialization, still make wine in buried qvevri, giant earthen vessels sealed with beeswax.

They shun sulfites, which are often added to wine, in part because of sulfur’s tinge of the devil. “It’s religious for them,” she said. “Are you saying that God hasn’t given the grape everything it needs, to make wine naturally?”

Her khantsi was a gift from John Wurdeman, an American who, alongside an eighth-generation Georgian winemaker, runs the vineyard Pheasant’s Tears in Sighnaghi, in Georgia’s east. He made no concessions to her drinking habits, which are slightly less lusty than demanded at Georgian feasts: The horn is deep and daunting to drain. “Couldn’t you have got me a smaller one?” she asked him.

She keeps it on her kitchen wall until guests arrive. “You don’t drink from it on your own,” she said. “It’s only for company.”

Her first wine was likely Manischewitz, which her mother used to caramelize onions for chopped liver. Her family lived in Brooklyn, then Long Island, and Ms. Feiring hasn’t strayed far: She moved into her NoLIta rental in 1989, a short walk from the store on the Bowery where her mother has sold jewelry for more than 40 years.

She chose the apartment because she wanted to be able to host 10 people for dinner. That’s possible (if quite intimate) at her dining table, which is equidistant from the bathtub and the apartment’s one sink.

The tub has housed wine bottles, watermelons, impromptu go-go dancers and, one evening, two carp bought in Chinatown. (They did not survive.) These days, her parties culminate in the passing of the horn and ritual toasts in the Georgian style, which at their best mix philosophy, wit, gratitude and memory.

The wine in the khantsi is always Georgian, as is often true of the accompanying food, like lobio, a kidney-bean stew steeped with blue fenugreek and marigolds. (Ms. Feiring, an occasional contributor to The New York Times, includes recipes in her new book “For the Love of Wine: My Odyssey Through the World’s Most Ancient Wine Culture.” )

She doesn’t make her guests lock arms as they drink, another Georgian custom. But all must press lips to the same horn, one by one. She said, “People have balked, but nobody’s said no,” - Reads the article by Ligaya Mishan.

Related stories:

A Toast to Georgian Wine – The Wall Street Journal



Print
Other Stories
4 Estonians and a Lithuanian who farm tea in Georgia
What comes to your mind when you hear Georgia? Lots of things: wine first of all, cuisine, nature and mountains covered with snow all year, tourism, but what about tea?
Georgia celebrates National Flag Day
Today on the 14th of January Georgia celebrates National Flag Day.
Imeretian vine species: Black Acorn
Georgia boasts more than 500 varieties of indigenous grapes, some of them are not found anywhere in the world.
The New York Times advices Americans to visit Batumi in 2019
“Tbilisi, Georgia’s charming capital, has been flooded with tourists over the past decade”
Georgian mountain town Mestia on the travel hotlist
The daily newspaper Daily Express in the United Kingdom has recently published an article about the top up-and-coming travel destinations for this year.
Washington Post about Georgian wine on Mars and Chakrulo
Washington Post has recently published an article about the IX Millennium project and the Georgian team experimenting on grape varieties and Mars-like soil.
Tbilisi covered with fireworks on the New Year’s Eve
Old Tbilisi was entirely covered with fireworks on the New Year’s Eve in Georgia.
Alilo – Christmas tradition in Georgia
Alilo is a traditional Georgian Christmas song performed the night before Christmas.
Georgian wines to taste for Christmas and New Year
Georgia is the country where the earliest evidence of grape wine-making was found.
8 Georgian buildings nominated at the Mies van der Rohe Award
8 Georgian buildings have been nominated at the European Union Prize of Contemporary Architecture, Mies van der Rohe Award 2019.
Georgian wine wins gold medals in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Georgian wines have recently received gold medals at the International Wine Tasting Competition “Vine East”.
Founder of brandy tradition in Georgia – David Sarajishvili
Wine making has long tradition in Georgia. It has been made for centuries in this country and scientists sometimes call Georgia a cradle of wine.
“Mekvleoba” and “Bedoba” – New Year traditions in Georgia
New Year is one of the main celebrations in the wintertime.
Wintertime paintings by Georgian artists
The wintertime is always associated with snow, Christmas and New Year.
Festive decorations in different parts of Georgia
Georgia gets ready for Christmas and New Year.
Pokany – A blend of traditional and modern enamel technology
Pokany is a Georgian enterprise creating Cloisonné enamel, ceramics and mosaic.
Georgian alcohol drinks: wine and Chacha
Georgian alcohol drinks are very popular throughout the world.
Georgian Chacha is among the world’s ten warming winter drinks
The leading British daily newspaper The Guardian nominates 10 of the best warming winter drinks around the world.
5 Places to visit in Georgia in winter
Georgia is distinguished by its fascinating mountainous regions, winter resorts and lakes.
Tbilisi gets ready to celebrate Christmas and New Year
Winter illuminations for Christmas and New Year are finally installed in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
Forbidden Christmas, repressed Santa Clause and Christmas trees from gloomy 90s of Georgia
In the past, Christmas trees in Georgia used to be decorated with religious ornaments and accessories as an indication of the holy-day.
The Calendar of Georgian Winegrowers
Every year vineyards in Georgia undergo the same procedure.
Baby skin thanks to the traditional Georgian exfoliating method
During the cold season, there is no better place to go in Tbilisi to warm up and relax: a sulfur bath.
Georgia – ideal climate conditions for Icewine
Georgia is widely considered as a cradle of wine. It is the country where the earliest evidence of grape wine-making was found.
Mtkvari-Araksi Culture: the oldest settlements in Georgia
Georgia preserves the oldest settlements of an outstanding culture of Mtkvari-Araksi people, the distant ancestors of Georgians.
PHOTO OF THE DAY

Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
15.01.2019
16.01.2019
USD
1
USD
2.6650
2.6644
EUR
1
EUR
3.0546
3.0449
GBP
1
GBP
3.4227
3.4203
RUB
100
RUB
3.9631
3.9687