Viticulture and Oenology in Georgia

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Speakers


Dr. David Chichua

Presentation Title : Research and Education on Viticultre and Oenology in Georgia

In Georgia education and research in the direction of wine-making have been carried out for many centuries. The political and economic instability in Georgia caused a lot problems in this field. But now things are changing for the better. In 2011, Institute of Viticulture and Oenology joined Agrarian University and as a result of this activity, the research and education on viticulture and oenology were connected to each other. Besides this Institute, there are 2 VET schools and 2 other Universities in Georgia where one learns Wine Technology. Research at the Institute of Viticulture and Oenology at Agricultural University of Georgia is mainly focused on analyzing heritage and adapting it to modern challenges. From 525 autochthonic grape varieties described in literature, there are only 380 varieties in the ampelographic collection of the institute. Currently other grape varieties are being searched and selective potential of wild-grapes are being investigated. Nowadays, interest in Kvevri technology of wine making increases all over the world. Spontaneous microflora and phenolic compounds of the wines obtained by this technology are investigated intensively. Recently, on Georgian Government initiative, a huge project for reconstruction of wine-culture history has been started in Georgia. Main directions of research are: genetic analysis of different grape varieties, ethnographic, linguistic, archeological researches and finding connections between ancient vine-domestication centers in the Near Eastern and Mediterranean.


Soraya Bernard

Presentation Title : The project BIOPARTNERS and EU collaborations opportunities

The BIOPARTNERS project has been set up in 2012 with the objective to reinforce Georgian international cooperation capacities in the field of Food and Biotechnologies. The new EU Framework Programme “Horizon 2020” is providing a number of cooperation opportunities, in particular in the field of Biotechnology for EU but also for Georgia and other Caucasian countries.


Dr. Alexandre Didebulidze

Presentation Title : General aspects of the agriculture in Georgia

Throughout the difficult periods that Georgia has endured in its history, the agriculture and rural areas have proven their viability and improvement in this sector has a direct effect on the lives of the majority of Georgian people, because more than half of the employed is engaged in agriculture and 46% of the population lives in rural areas. Contemporary Georgia is a exporter of wine, mineral waters, fruit, vegetables, live animals etc, but the export of agricultural products and food amounted only 40% of the import in 2012, also the country of agricultural net-export before the restoration of independence in 1991 changed into country of net-import today, besides the lion’s share of imported food is of poor quality. Georgia’s agriculture is practically not subsidized, but the main reason for the reduction in productivity was that agriculture was not a priority of the former governments, other reasons were parcellation of land, high costs of agriculture inputs and no access to start-up capital, lack of extension and modern machinery services and processing facilities, Russian wine and mineral water trade embargo from 2006 to 2013, and a weak rural infrastructure: as result, the share of agriculture in the structure of GDP declined from 19.2% in 2002 to 8.6% in 2012. In existing conditions Georgia should define the priorities and essential vector of its agriculture. Namely, it is undoubted that the development will be caused by the general condition of the economy, the geopolitical situation and the policy of governmental structures. Agriculture is one of the main priorities of the new government, and the goal is to ensure the food security and based on sustainable development principles to create an environment that will increase competiveness, promote stable growth of production, ensure food safety and eliminate rural poverty.


Dr. Giorgi Kvesitadze

Presentation Title : Specific aspects of oenology in Georgia and Georgian wine biotechnology

Fermentation of grape juice is one of the oldest technologies created by human beings. History of Kakheti winegrowing takes a start from VI millennium BC. Grape leftovers, discovered by the archeologists, date back to the mentioned period and they are the oldest around the globe, which proves once again that Georgia is a homeland of wine. 500 out of world-known 2.000 grape species are Georgian endemic. Everyone can enjoy the world’s oldest wine culture and discover the unique Qvevri tradition of clay pots used to create delicious, unfiltered, organic wines.
Traditional Kakhety wines are made by simple old technology from genuine vines - Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane, Saperavi, which is collected in September. They crush the grape and put it in kvevri (large ceramic jugs, called amphora), buried in the ground. During fermentation they stir it two-three times per day. As fermentation stops - they tightly close the jug till the spring. At spring they decant wine to barrels, and age it for about a year, but usually drink it while the wine is young. The white wine has deep amber color, very extractive, and genuinely simple. The wine is perfect with fat meat, especially lamb. The content of phenolics prevails the same wine fermented by European technology almost ten times and reaches for white wine 2,0-2.8 gr/l in white wines and up to 4,5 gr/l for red wines. The amount of flavonoids is correspondingly increased.


Dr. Levan Mekhuzla

Presentation Title : Georgian Traditional Technologies of Wine Production

Georgians – one of the oldest nations of the world – have been living on the southern slope of the middle part of the Caucasus Range, near the Black Sea. Many believe that it is the place where man “domesticated” the first vine and made the first wine, as long ago as approximately 6000-8000 BC. In the course of its centuries-old history, the country has developed a unique winemaking technique - pouring grape juice into qvevris, the large clay vessels buried in the earth up to their tops, then sealed. Since antiquity, this knowledge has gradually developed and improved nourished by experience. The Qvevri Wine Making tradition is practiced throughout Georgia. It could therefore be argued that the entire Georgian nation is concerned with this tradition and considers it the most important attribute of its cultural identity. The living tradition of unique wine-making defines the lifestyle of Georgian communities. We will review the main tendencies in the field of viticulture-wine making in XIX-XX centuries, describes the viticulture-wine making technologies used in different regions of Georgia, especially technological specificities of making the traditional type of wine. It is shown that “qvevri” is a universal, steady vessel for fermentation, formation and storing of high quality traditional Georgian wine.

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June 2017
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