Prime Minister of Georgia Officially Opens Wine Exhibition in Bordeaux

On September 14, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia, is to officially open the 'Georgia- Cradle of Wine' exhibition at 'La Cité du Vin', the Center of Wine Civilization in Bordeaux, France. Other Georgian government officials will also be in attendance at the official opening. Georgia is the first country invited to open a range of different exhibitions dedicated to wine-making, and is said to be the museum's honorary guest. 

Cité Des Civilizations Du Vin is spread out over 14,000 square metres, introducing the history and traditions of wine making to its visitors, through to the ultra-modern technologies. 

In honor of the ancient Georgian traditional Kvevri wine making method being on the list of intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO, a large Qvevri vessel, specially made for the exhibition, is situated at the main entrance, and will remain there as part of the permanent exposition. 

“Our tiny nation, covering such a small area of land, managed to domesticate and cultivate more than 500 indigenous varieties of wine, in no other field have we been as inventive and successful. We are proud of our ancestors who invented the winemaking process called Kvevri, all those many years ago. Kvevri symbolizes the essence of Georgian history and culture; today, as Georgia is returning to Europe, to the culture it belonged to, but was estranged from for some time, we are also joining the wine making culture in Europe. We are particularly grateful to the French people, to the city of Bordeaux, and especially to the administration of the La Cite du Vin, for enabling Georgia to be the first country present, and for inviting vineyard to present and share its excellent wines to the world” Georgia’s Prime Minister stated while addressing the guests of the exhibition. 

“Kvevri is recognized by UNESCO and is included in the list of intangible cultural heritage of mankind and Kvevri symbolizes a great deal for all Georgians”, the Prime Minister of Georgia noted.

The Georgian National Museum has prepared an exposition that will showcase Georgian wine culture and its history that counts back 8000 years, and displays Qvevri vessels that were found in Georgia dating back to the VI-V centuries, BC. Ancient Ethnographic and archeological materials from the National Museum are also being presented at the exhibition in Bordeaux. 

For the three months that it is open, the exhibition will regularly host events, including scientific seminars, cultural events, conferences and wine degustation’s. Figures show that that for the first week of the exhibition alone, (the exhibition ends on November 5) almost 4,000 people attended. 

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said of the event "The country's greatest success is that the wine industry specialists, experts and wine companies representing Georgia, will be presented as the heritage of winemaking. This is a result of many years of research and hard work. We prepared well for this exhibition. There will be cultural events, as well as high-level meetings. This very important event opens a completely new perspective of Georgia not only in terms of wine but also in the cultural world, as a homeland of wine and being the country's oldest form culture and civilization"

“This is a great opportunity for us, and I would like to first of all thank you all for coming together to celebrate a truly historic event for Georgia. This is about celebrating a cradle of winemaking - Georgia, in a citadel of winemaking - Bordeaux. This is a truly important opportunity for us to present Georgia as a country of ancient culture with 8000 years of winemaking history” Prime Minister Kvirikashvili said while addressing the audience at the exhibition opening. 

In his speech, Giorgi Kvirikashvili thanked the former Prime Minister of France and Mayor of Bordeaux, Mr. Alain Juppé, and the President of Foundation for the Cultures and Civilizations of Wine Mrs. Sylvie Cazes. 

“8000 years is enough time to turn a leisure activity into a critical element of national identity and that’s exactly what happened to Georgia. Wine is the major marker of Georgia’s national identity.” the Prime Minister pointed out. 

“Leading specialists from seven different countries have recently confirmed after the three years of research that Georgia is the homeland of wine. The earliest traces of wine have been identified on a ceramic vessel unearthed in Georgia, dated by leading laboratory experts to the period around 8000 years ago. In addition, Vitis Viniferas, the oldest known wine varietal, has been discovered in Georgia and also dates back to the same period,” Kvirikashvili said, thanking both foreign and Georgian scientists for their priceless work for Georgia. 

On October 11, at the Center of Wine Civilization in Bordeaux, La Cite Du Vin, Mr. Patrick Edward McGovern, Professor at Pennsylvania University, is to introduce the research findings, following the project initiated by the National Wine Agency of Georgia which was initiated three years ago, which explored whether Georgia is indeed the “Cradle of Wine”. The group of leading scientists from seven counties around the world will reunite to present the results of their research to the public, confirming that Georgia truly is the 'Cradle of Wine'. 

“Georgian culture is saturated with the history of winemaking. Wine is everywhere, it’s in music, poetry, frescoes, in Georgian ornaments and indeed the fact that we invented Kvevri, a historic clay vessel of fermenting wine” He added. 

“I would like to ask you to come to Georgia and to savour and taste Georgian wine as a very strong part of Georgian national identity,” Giorgi Kvirikashvili concluded. 

12:26 GEORGIA TODAY contacted Nika Zautashvili, CEO of Winery Khareba and representing the full assortment of Khareba wines in Bordeaux, including Mukuzani Dry Red Wine, gold winner of the Mundus Vini International Wine Award 2017. According to Zautashvili, the winery of Khareba’s chacha was served at the official dinner, which is a great honor for the company. “I would like to thank the Georgian government for supporting such an ambitious project aiming to promote Georgian wine culture. Hundreds of world renowned wine masters, wine exporters and wine industry stakeholders have learned directly from the presentations made by Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and ministers of Economy and Agriculture- Giorgi Gakharia and Levan Davitashvili, about Georgia’s unique Qvevri winemaking tradition, and the potential the Georgian wine industry has today. As a result of the Bordeaux wine expo, we expect a significant increase in our export numbers in such important markets as China, Europe and the US,” Zautashvili concluded. 

Photo: A Georgian 'kvevri' at the entrance of La Cité du Vin, Bordeaux, France.  

By Nino Gugunishvili


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14 September 2017 10:40