Forbes: Why Georgia is the next great food and wine destination
04 May, 2018
Forbes: Why Georgia is the next great food and wine destination
Georgian culture, traditions and hospitality often attract the attention of the leading international media. World-famous publications such as Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Independent, Forbes, National Geographic, Culture Trip, etc. often publish the articles about famous Georgian wine, tourist attractions, ancient traditions still preserved in Georgia’s mountains and special hospitality characteristic for the Georgian people.

This time, Forbes explores the wine regions of Georgia, which, according to the publication, “are worth
the journey.”

“Along the way you’ll experience Georgia’s natural beauty, the monasteries and churches that dot the hillsides and rivers — even monasteries that make wine — and learn the ways of the Supra, a true Georgian feast,” reads the article written by Adam Morganstern, the journalist and professional photographer.
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Kakheti Region, the hub of winemaking in Georgia

The journalist starts his journey in Georgia with one of the most distinctive and important wine regions, Kakheti, which is considered to be the hub of winemaking. He stresses Pheasant’s Tears, the winery founded in 2007 by American John Wurdeman and Georgian Gela Patalishvili, located in the hillside town of Sighnaghi, which not only makes fantastic wines, but has a must-visit restaurant and wine bar.
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Vineyards in Kakheti

“Schuchmann Wines also runs a beautiful hotel and spa. Château Mere in Telavi, home of Winiveria Winery, has a castle tower, outdoor pool and restaurant and hotel. Winery Khareba will not only spoil you with wine and food at their fabulous restaurant, but also has an extensive network of tunnels built into the mountain, some half a mile long, where their wines are stored. Temi Winery makes wine for a good cause — they support a community of “socially vulnerable people,” providing housing and education,” suggests the journalist.
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Grape harvest (Rtveli) in Georgia

According to the article, for seeing the modern side of Georgian winemaking, visiting Kindzmarauli Marani is recommended. It grows over 400 different types of grapes.
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Georgia is famous for its ancient winemaking traditions

“For the opposite experience, make an appointment to see Kakha Berishvili, a small rural winery with a father-daughter winemaking team,” reads the article.
Other large producers of Georgian wine in Kakheti are: Iago’s Wine, Château Mukhrani. As for the Georgia’s Imereti Region, here appointments can be made with small producers Ramaz Nikoladze and Simon Chkheidze.

Monasteris that make wine

“Throughout your travels in Georgia, you will see some of the most beautiful monasteries and churches in the world — they are inseparable from the culture,” Forbes informs its readers.
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Motsameta Monastery in Kutaisi, Imereti Region of Geoorgia. Photo courtesy Giorgi Nikolava

According to the publication, the Motsameta Monastery in Kutaisi, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Gelati Monastery and Vardzia, a cave monastery carved into the Erusheti Mountain are their own reason to tour around the country.
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Gelati Monastery

However, if wine is your main interest, you can have both – visit Georgia’s historic monasteries and taste unforgettable wine at the same time.

“There is a direct link with the grape and religion here,” says Father Gerasime of the Alaverdi Monastery, where they have been making wine for over a thousand years. “There is no country in the world that converted to Christianity like Georgia, and the cross made for the grape.”
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Vardzia, a cave monastery located in the historic region of Samtskhe-Javakheti

Closer to Tbilisi, the Shavnabada Monastery restored their centuries-old cellar, and began producing wine again in 1998.

The Supras, The Toasting, The People

The author of the article stresses that almost any gathering with Georgians seems like a feast, but “then there is the Supra (a feasting table filled with various dishes)— where wine and dishes will flow to the table for hours. “

“The name (Supra) derives from “tablecloth,” not that you’ll be able to see it, with all the plates on top of it,” this is how the journalist describes traditional Georgian feasting table. Then he explains the importance of the traditional toasts and toastmaster (Tamada in Georgian), that are an inseparable parts of Georgian culture.
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Traditional Georgian feasting table (Supra)

“There are various rules and traditions, but in my experience, there is only one you need to remember — speak from your heart. Georgians take toasting very seriously, and whatever their profession was beforehand, they turn into poets when it’s their turn to speak,” explains the author.

Afterwards, the journalist makes a comparison between the feasting traditions in United States and Georgia. According to him, toasting is not a mere pause before drinking, it is communication as essential to the evening as any other part.

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Georgian nobles enjoying Supra. Painting by renowned artist Niko Pirosmani

At the end of the article, the author describes Georgian feast and its traditional characteristics in quite funny and heartwarming manner. As he tells to its readers, Georgians make the feasting table endless by speaking numerous toasts, and no one can guess which toast is actually the last one.

“Georgians will make sure a feast never ends by cycling through a “last toast” and a “goodbye toast,” and never telling you which is truly the end one — as the evening continues, the wine will be replaced by chacha, which is Georgian brandy.”

The article also mentions famous Georgian polyphonic songs and says that if you are very lucky, your supra, winery or another visit, will include a performance from Georgian polyphonic singers. It is also characteristic for Georgians – they often sing traditional songs while feasting, as it makes their gathering more beautiful and memorable and also reveals the national spirit.
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Georgian feast

Forbes also gives its readers the instructions how to get in this small and hospitable country:

Getting There: Turkish Airlines operates flights from the United States to Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, and offers multi-day stopovers in Istanbul, as well as free day tours for long layovers. And, if you’re flying Business or First Class, be sure to check out the incredible two-story Lounge Istanbul, complete with pool table, golf simulator, multiple food stations (and olive bar), bars and massage beds.

Related stories:

From Georgia to Lebanon: exploring the best wines of the ancient world

How to Toast in Tbilisi: Georgian Food Is Nothing Without Supra

Why Georgia is a hotspot for natural wines – The Guardian

Guinness Book of Records declares Georgian wine as world's oldest wine
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