Why Georgian Qvevri are so efficient at making natural wine

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 61
Amber wines that are made in Qvevri are becoming increasingly well known in the UK – not only being imported from countries like Georgia and Armenia, but also through English winemakers who have decided to use Qvevri.
Raw, low-intervention, hand-made, artisanal, craft – when it comes to ‘naturally’ made wines, the vinicultural lexicon is as rich as it is imprecise. All of these descriptors are variously employed to distinguish wines made with minimal interference or the use of additives.
In Georgian winemaking, however, there is a clear and important defining feature and that is the Qvevri.
The name refers specifically to the large lemon-shaped terracotta pot that is buried in the ground up to its neck. The word literally means ‘that which is buried’ (not to be confused with ‘Amphora’ which are not).
Somewhat bizarrely the traditional way of spelling Qvevri is Kvevri but when Georgian is typed on a standard keyboard the key allocated to this ‘k’ is actually the ‘q’ key; Georgians therefore invariably spell the word with a ‘q’ in English, the Q spelling is increasingly being favoured by the Georgian wine industry because of its graphical resemblance to the oval-shaped Qvevri.
Crucially, the entire wine making process takes place within the Qvevri, from fermentation right through to maturation, with the fermenting grape juice often being left on the skins and even grape stems (the ‘mother’) to create wines of exceptional flavour, complexity and colour.
Notably, these include the amber wines that are made from indigenous grape varieties, Rkatsiteli, Kisi and Mtsvane that produce the characteristically dry but full-bodied, aromatic orange wines. Red wines, often made from the Saperavi grapes, are also produced in Qvevri, to produce wines that have an inky purple colour with intense aromatics and dense, supple texture.
Despite a recent revival in these methods, yields are low and currently account for less than 10 per cent of Georgia’s total wine production which adds to their cachet.
The Qvevri themselves are made today by less than a handful of surviving master craftsmen; Such is their importance to the history of winemaking that the United Nations placed them on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2014.
It takes on average three months to make one 2000 litre Qvevri (firing alone takes seven to eight days). A giant coil pot, its coils are added slowly and gradually to maintain the correct tension and strength needed to hold the shape and weight of the clay.
After firing, while still warm, it is coated on the inside with beeswax to clog the pores without sealing them completely, to allow some air to pass through during fermentation. Pure beeswax also has waterproofing and sterilizing properties that make the Qvevri more hygienic and easy to clean. A limestone paint or concrete outer coating is added to protect it during transportation.
Given Georgia’s reputation as the ‘Cradle of Wine’, it is impossible to ignore associations with creation, nurturing and birth. Like a giant egg, the vessel is sunken into the earth to prevent it from cracking or breaking from build-up of pressure during fermentation. There it will protect its embryonic wine for an average six-to-nine month gestation, safe from external threats such as potential earthquake and fluctuating temperatures.
Qvevri are used differently according to which part of Georgia you are in, often determined by the climate of the region. As the regions get hotter, the more skins and stems tend to be fermented with the grapes – if stems are left in the wine in the cooler regions it can produce wines that are far too ‘green’ and harsh.
Alcoholic fermentation begins naturally after a few days and continues for two to four weeks at which point the cap falls. The fermenting grapes are ‘punched down’ twice a day during fermentation. Once the cap falls, the red wines are generally removed from the lees, or ‘mother’ while the whites are left with her.
A stone lid is placed over the top of the Qvevri and malolactic fermentation begins spontaneously soon afterwards.
They are then left to mature for an average of six months during which time the unwanted lees, seeds and stalks fall into the nipple where they have limited contact with the wine.
After this time, the Qvevri is opened, to reveal the delicious, bright liquid. It is then put on its feet (either by pump, gravity or more low-tech ladles), and transferred into freshly cleaned Qvevri, barrels or other storage vessels until it is ready for bottling. At the end of the cycle, the empty Qvevri is scrubbed thoroughly from the inside with a brush made from St John’s Wort to ensure it is sterile before it is filled again.
There are varied and often opposing views on the use of additives, including cultured yeasts, enzymes and sulphates. Some growers eschew them entirely while others seem to adopt a more discretionary approach. Either is the prerogative of the winemaker and subject to ever-changing new developments, consumer demands and legislation. In the meantime, it seems that the essential art of Qvevri winemaking is likely to remain as it has for the past 8000 years.
Source: The-buyer.net

NY Times Includes Batumi in 52 Places to Go in 2019

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 61

The New York Times published a list of ‘52 Places to Go in 2019,’ which includes Georgia’s Black Sea coastal city Batumi.

The article reads that Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, has been flooded with tourists over the past decade, adding Batumi, a “hushed seaside city where verdant mountains slope down to the Black Sea’s smooth stone beaches,” offers a different experience.

“Already a popular escape for Russians, Iranians, Turks and Israelis, the city is preparing itself for its inevitable discovery by the rest of the world: new hotels — including the Le Meridien Batumi and a Batumi installment of the design-centric boutique Rooms Hotel line — are rising, and a cable car will swing straight to the coast from the hilltop Batumi Botanical Garden,” the article reads.

Top 10 destinations of the list are:

  1. Puerto Rico
  2. Hampi
  3. Santa Barbara
  4. Panama
  5. Munich
  6. Eliat
  7. Setouchi Islands
  8. Aalborg
  9. The Azores
  10. Ontario Ice Caves

Source:Georgiatoday.ge

Georgia marks national flag day

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 68

The current national flag was officially introduced on 14 January 2004.

The flag was used by the Georgian patriotic movement following the country’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

By the late 1990s, the design had become widely known as ‘the Georgian historical national flag’ as vexillologists had pointed out the red-on-white Jerusalem cross shown as the flag of Tbilisi in a 14th-century map by Domenico and Francesco Pizzigano, the 14th century Venetian cartographers.

A majority of Georgians, including the Georgian church, supported the restoration of the flag that took place in 2004.

The winning entry replaced an earlier, three-colour flag first adopted for the 1918-1921 First Democratic Republic of Georgia before it was restored in 1990, ahead of Georgia’s proclamation of independence from the Soviet Union.

Drawn by painter Iakob Nikoladze, the design was selected for the original Republic that became independent  from Imperial Russia following the 1917 Russian Revolution.

The State Council of Heraldry called upon Georgian citizens today to set and raise the national flag on their home windows, balconies, fences, roofs and cars to honour Georgian statehood and independence, national and individual freedoms.

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili hosted a special event at her residency today and stated that the Georgian flag “symbolises the independence of the country, its freedom and everything which is valuable for us”.

The day of the national flag was first marked in 2012.

Source: Agenda.ge

Forbes Features “Unique” Georgian Wines

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 90

Forbes published an article this week by contributor Lana Bortolot titled ”Why Georgian wines are Among the Most Unique on the Planet”.

Bortolot is a wine, food, and travel reporter who holds the Advanced Wine & Spirits Education Trust certificate and has covered wine regions in more than 16 countries.

In the article, Bortolot explores Georgian wine culture, the role of wine in modern Georgian society, and the technical side of Georgian wine. The piece is peppered with quotes from Georgian wine lovers:

“Even where we think a culture like France or Italy is so wine-centric, Georgians just take it to a whole different level—much deeper than what we’re exposed,” – Taylor Parsons

“There’s something very particular about how Georgians love wine,” he said. “It’s a little eccentric but then you start looking into it and once you do, you’re truly amazed—it’s such an integral part of the culture and everyday life.” – Noel Brockett

“One of the most important things about Georgian wines is that it’s a window into a culture that most of us as Westerners simply don’t have,” – Simon J. Woolf

Bortolot goes on to focus on orange or amber wines, a style growing in popularity worldwide that has long been part of Georgia’s tradition. She also recounts a legend, which said that, in ancient times, “soldiers wove a piece of grapevine into the chain mail protecting their chests, so when they died in battle, a vine sprouted not just from their bodies, but their hearts.”

The article introduces readers to several Georgian wine makers – locals and expats, high end factories and garage operations – celebrating the varied, inclusive culture of Georgian wine.

The article ends with a wine sampler. Bortolot recommends Kisi, Mtsvane, Rkatsiteli, Saperavi, and Tsinandali for beginners.

 

 

By Samantha Guthrie, Source: Georgiatoday.ge

Arles Museum to Host the Exhibition of Niko Pirosmani Paintings

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 100

After famous Albertina Museum in Vienna, ‘Niko Pirosmani – A Wanderer between Worlds’ will continue its journey through other European countries.

The next ‘stop’ for the exhibition will be Arles Museum of Modern Art in the South of France. The works of the self-taught primitivist painter, who represents a unique figure of Georgian art will be displayed alongside the paintings of the prominent Dutch impressionist Vincent van Gogh, who lived in Arles for a time.

The exhibition is scheduled for March 2019 and will likely last until summer. It was stated by the Georgian National Museum that negotiations are ongoing about the details of the organization of the exposition. The exhibition is prepared by the Georgian National Museum (GNM) network and the Vincent van Gogh Foundation in Arles.

29 works of Pirsomani, currently being displayed at the Albertina Museum, will be showcased in Arles.

The opportunity to exhibit Pirosmani’s paintings at Albertina is considered an unprecedented success in promoting the country and its culture. General Director of the Georgian National Museum David Lordkipanidze told Imedi TV, the given exhibition had record-breaking viewer numbers.

After Austria, the French audience will also be presented a chance to observe the paintings of Pirosmani and explore the Georgian avant-garde.

 

 

By Ketevan Kvaratskheliya, Source: Georgiatoday.ge

Image source: imedinews.ge

Georgian Food Named as Cuisine of the Year by Af&co

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 73

Af&Co has named Georgian food as Cuisine of the Year and Khachapuri as its dish of the year in its 2019 Trends Report.

Based in San Francisco, af&co is a leading restaurant and hospitality consulting firm. Their report identifies the hottest key trends in restaurants, food and beverage, and hospitality marketing.

The Ajarian dish Khachapuri has been awarded the title of Dish of the Year thanks to its tasty combination of cheese and egg, and its instagramability. It’s already being served in some restaurants in the US, including Supra in Washington DC, Cheeseboat in Brooklyn and Barbounia in New York.

The Trends Report was the eleventh edition published by af&co. Founder Andrew Freeman noted that “the hospitality industry is leading the charge in creating the world we want to live in. Restaurants and hotels are gathering places for people to connect, creating the perfect grounds for people to come together, get personal, and embrace forward-thinking ideas.”

 

By Amy Jones, Source: Georgiatoday.ge

Photo source: reddit.com

Tbilisi gets ready to celebrate Christmas and New Year

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 106

Winter illuminations for Christmas and New Year are finally installed in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Tbilisi’s main Christmas Tree was officially lit up on the First Republic Square on the 22nd of December. The event was accompanied by Christmas songs and performances. The prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze and the Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze participated in the event and wished the gathered people Happy Christmas and New Year.

Festive decorations were put on Rustaveli, Tamarashvili and Cholokashvili Avenues as well as Kostava,Baratashvili and Melikishvili Streets, which has made night strolls in Tbilisi even more enjoyable.

Illuminated decorations of various shapes such as angels, deer, heart, candles, balls, and bows have made the central streets of Tbilisi brighter and created a festive atmosphere. Tbilisi City Hall allocated over 2 million GEL for the capital’s winter illuminations. Numerous cultural, sporting and children’s events are planned to take place during the holidays.
Source: Georgianjournal.ge

Top 10 Winter Experiences Of Georgia

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 166

We, Georgians, are the most welcoming people in the world! And we know how confusing it can be for you to plan your winter vacation in our country that has always been famous for its sea, sun, wine and mountains. That’s why we picked these ten experiences for you, so that you would make the most out of your holidays.

1. Learning to ski (if you still couldn’t)

There are really good ski instructors and ski camps for adults and kids at our ski resorts. The biggest amount of them is in Gudauri and Bakuriani.

2. Trying heli-ski (if you tried everything possible before)

If you are experienced enough, and your seek for adrenaline, heli-ski is something you would really enjoy! Untouched snow, fabulous altitude and crazy landscapes are waiting for you in Gudauri, Kazbegi and Mestia.

3. Visiting sulfur baths in Tbilisi

Everyone has heard about them, but not everybody knows that it’s not your average touristic thing. We go there too, when we are tired and want to recover. Strong massage with immense amounts of soap and hot sulfuric water do their thing pretty well!

4. Raving in Bassiani

The most famous Georgian club is not a place where you can easily walk it, which makes it more appealing to the fans of high class electronic music. Only top DJs, only right people!

5. Treating yourself with healing waters

Book spa treatment in one of the hotels in Borjomi, Sairme or Likani, or simply jump into the natural steaming water in the Mineral Waters Park in the center of Borjomi. The pools are located in its very end.

6. Having a wine tour

Even if the harvest season (Rtveli) is over, the wineries are always happy to welcome the guests. Encounter with 8000-years-old tradition of winemaking and sample the most interesting Georgian wines, so rich on tannins, so flavourful, so unique!

7. Visiting mysterious caves

Not far from Kutaisi, there are two caves that are accessible for the travelers – Sataplia and Prometheus are the names. Both of them are very impressive! The first one preserves the fossilized footprints of the dinosaurs, the second one is a bit bigger and offers a boat trip along the underground river in the end. Be aware of the fact that both are closed on Mondays!

8. Tracing different civilizations and cultures

Georgia was always in the middle of regional events, that’s why many cultures have influenced us. Visit the cave town Uplistsikhe to see how humans made the whole town out of rock several thousands years ago. A visit to the archaeological sites Dmanisi and Samshvilde will showcase the life of ancient people, and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, David Gareji cave monastery, Nekresi Monastery hidden in the forest on the mount will show you the different aspects of early Christianity in Georgia.

9. Enjoy subtropical nature

Going to the West gives you a refreshing experience of seeing green plants in winter. For example, Batumi Botanical Garden is simply fantastic!

10. Shop Georgian!

Clothes made by the Georgian designers as well as food and spices made in Georgia are always on the shopping list of a person who wants to bring home something special. We are sure that you will find the best and most interesting accessories, clothes and jewelry for you and your friends and family!

 

Source: Georgia.travel

Winter In Georgia: Skiing And Spa

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 202

Georgia is getting more prominence as a ski destination – first of all, due to its long season (snowfalls in the mountains in April are something normal for Gudauri and Svaneti) and affordable prices for ski passes. The other reason is that it is still quite exotic for those who used to go skiing in Alps, Tatra or Carpathians.

We want to bring our country closer to you, so here are our options for those who like to combine skiing and spa treatment.

BAKURIANI

Number one choice in this case will be Bakuriani. This resort is located in central Georgia, climate is mild, and the local waters make good impact on health. They are softly mineralized, contain potassium, calcium, sodium and magnesium. The springs are located in the townlet Tsagveri and Mitarbi area, and you will also find bottled still water branded as “Bakuriani” in every Georgian shop.

The ski resort itself is the oldest one in Georgia, which means that the infrastructure has existed here for around 50 years, and recently it is getting updated and expanded. The new hotels and apartments grow there every year.

The most convenient area to stay for skiers is around Didveli Ski Lift or Mitarbi Ski Lift – you will have the direct access to the skiing area, and in the evening going to the cozy center of the resort with local restaurants, bars, ski rink, park and little cinema won’t be a problem. Just get a number of taxi driver in advance or ask for it in your hotel.

Talking about on site spa facilities – Orbi Palace, Crystal Bakuriani and Hotel Mgzavrebi are those hotels who have them. Indoor swimming pool and saunas are something you will definitely need after an active day on the slopes!

BORJOMI

If you want a leisure break during your skiing vacation, consider Borjomi at least for a day or two. This mineral resort is one of the oldest in Georgia – the spring was discovered in 1841, and with the time a beautiful park grew around.

The most relaxing option is to stay in one of four spa hotels in the town – Borjomi Palace, Crowne Plaza, Golden Tulip or Rixos Borjomi. Swimming pool and saunas are usually included in the room rate. Besides it, each hotel provides a wide range of healing and relaxing procedures, massages and cosmetology services.

The more budget-friendly option is to stay in one of the guesthouses that are many, and spend hilarious 5 lari for the chance to bath in the thermal spring in the end of the Mineral Waters Park. The spring is clean, and there are changing rooms on site too. The entrance to the park is 2 lari.

A walk toward the spring might take 30-40 minutes, and you will truly enjoy it: fresh air, sound of river Borjomi streaming towards river Mtkvari through the park, and the pleasant contrast of air and water temperature!

GUDAURI

The biggest and the most popular among freeriders, this resort is located in only 2.5 hours drive from Tbilisi. Seven ski-lifts (3 three-chair, 2 four-chair, 1 six-chair, 1 gondola), total altitude difference of 1258 meters, pistes from blue to black, breathtaking panoramas – simply awesome for a weekend break or a longer holiday!

For the guests that want to get decent spa and relaxation time, there are several places that offer it: Marco Polo Gudauri, Hotel Club 2100, Gudauri Hut Hotel, Carpe Diem Hotel, GoodAura Hotel and Tsar Bani Resort. New Gudauri Aparthotel also has a spa part – you should request this service before booking an apartment or hotel room there!

Also, famous Rooms Hotel Kazbegi has swimming pool with great view and good choice of extra procedures. Kazbegi (Stepantsminda village) is located in 30-40 minute drive from Gudauri, so you might go for a day trip there.

The choice is yours, and we are sure that you will have a great time in Georgia!

 

Source: Georgia.travel

Bakuriani – Skiing resort in Georgia

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 111
Bakuriani – a favorite resort in summer and winter for kids and adults, beauty of the Borjomi Gauge, is located on the northern slope of the Trialeti Range on the banks of the river Bakurianistskali at around 1700 meters above sea level, it lies 30 kilometers from Borjomi and 180 kilometers from Tbilisi, the capital.

Bakuriani is known for days with long sunshine, for 2052 hours a year and long snowy winter from December to March. Winters are cold and experience sufficient snowfall while summers are long. Average January temperature is – 7 and in August +15 degrees by Celsius. Average snow cover makes 64 cm.
Cristal clean air of high mountains, predominantly coniferous (mainly made up of spruce) forest filled with the perfume of beech trees, Kokhtagora, Kokhtagora II and views of mountains of Tskhratskaro attract attention of visitors during all seasons of the year.

No wonder that Bakuriani is one of the most famous mountain resorts among Georgian international ski resorts. Its climate and relief is ideal for the development of varieties of winter sports. First skiers were fixed here in 1932.
During winter seasons families with kids and fans of skiing adults equally enjoy staying here. Cable ways can be found in several places, on the Kokhtagora mount (1.3 km), Kokhtagora II, Sakhvelo mount (3.8km), under 90 and 25 m. ski jumps and there are also places for tobogganing in the park. The Kokhtagora along with other ski runs is one of the best difficult skiing runs for professional skiers.

Bakuriani is a mountain-climate resort with its main curative factors: mountain air, long time sunshine, high activity of ultraviolet rays. One can be cured here from lymphadenitis, chronic non-tuberculosis illnesses of respiratory tract and anemia. One can visit High-Mountain Botanical Gardens, the branch of the Tbilisi Botanical Institute (founded in 1919) with the best collection of alpine flora in Europe.

 

5 Things Not to Miss:

1. Snowmobile sightseeing

2. Sledges and horse riding

3. Parks for kids

4. Panoramic views

5. Après ski

 

Source: Skigeorgia.ge