The Morning Claret: The Real Story Behind Georgian Wine

The famous wine magazine, The Morning Claret, has published an in-depth, perhaps even controversial story about Georgian wine, and its role over the soviet times.

Whilst Georgians are incredibly proud about their wine-making history, with the country being official named ‘The Cradle of Wine’ by Le Cite Du Vin in Bordeaux, France, for its ancient Qvevri wine-making; this article puts a different spin on things.

“This romantic tale of clay pots and peasant farmers toiling in the fields is a heavily abridged edit of the full story. The iconic qvevri albeit died out in commercial winemaking during the late 20th century, and to date traditionally made qvevri wines account for perhaps 3% or less of Georgia’s total wine production”, the author, Simon Woolf, says.

Yet, while it may seem as if this is a criticism towards Georgia, the reality, according to the article, is on the contrary. Woolf explains that 60% of exported Georgian wine ends up in Russia, and that the demand for it, during soviet times anyway, was so strong that new, quicker methods of making wine had to be considered. 

“It’s also a tale of mass produced semi-sweet wine, made to satisfy a thirsty Russian market. This ever popular product, epitomised by wines such as Alazani Valley (a generic style, even though it sounds like a producer) or Kindzmarauli, represents around 50% of the country’s total output. And Russia is still the biggest customer, lapping up about 60% of Georgia’s total wine exports by volume.” 

It is worth reading the whole article to really understand the authors point, as the message, otherwise, could be easily misconstrued. Times were different under soviet occupation, and Georgians have, proudly, kept their wine-making traditions alive during some of its hardest times. 

Full article here 

By Tamzin Whitewood

09 February 2018 10:46