Georgia the Cradle of Viticulture
Georgia the Cradle of Viticulture
Wine and Georgian Identity
Georgia is distinguished by its magnificent landscapes, diverse and unique endemic fauna and flora, and five climate zones that range from the humid sub-tropical on the Black Sea to the rural wetlands, high plateau and alpine regions, and even to the semi-desert areas of the southeast. Its rich natural resources have supported uninterrupted human habitation for thousands of years.
Georgian language belongs to the Caucasian (Kartvelian) language family. It has its own particular alphabet, created in the 4th century AD. In Georgian, people refer to the country as “Sakartvelo”, or the land of the Kartvels (Georgians). The name “Georgia” was given to the country by Europeans, and is linked to the Greek word georgos , meaning farmer and ‒ by extension ‒ winegrower.
There are several universally important archeological sites that have been discovered in the Caucasus that are significant for the history of mankind. Archaeological research and many exceptional findings have brought our region into the spotlight of the world’s scientific community. Highlights include discoveries made in southeastern Georgia such as the remains of our human ancestors; the oldest known traces of winemaking; and archaeological evidence of the mythical land of the Golden Fleece in Colchis, a term still used for western Georgia. These discoveries have given Georgian scholars the possibility to work with international institutions and become respected members of the wider scientific community. I believe that both, art and science are unique instruments for spreading values and are strong tools for diplomacy. They can be key mechanisms for engaging in wider discussions, such as a country’s national identity.
Seeking identity is a natural evolutionary process for human societies. The formation of a national identity is influenced by geographic, political, cultural, religious, anthropological, technological and other factors. Although I do not intend to discuss how identity is formed or to propose my own definition of national identity, it is obvious that the national identity of the Georgians is closely linked to the cult of wine, which has a long and uninterrupted history in the region, going back 8000 years.
Using archaeological discoveries for nationalistic purposes, however, is a common practice and many countries claim to be “First”, “the Cradle” or “a unique culture”. This sometimes manifests itself as a form of competition, a rivalry to boost a country’s importance. An example is the argument about the “earliest Europeans”. Various countries have claimed this title after finding very early (they sometimes believe “earliest”) discoveries of hominids, our biological ancestors. In the early 20th century a lower jaw found in Mauer, Germany, near Heidelberg, was the earliest known human relic in Europe until the 1970s, when a discovery from the French village of Tautavel became the earliest “European”, estimated at 450,000 years of age. Even today, signs for tourists indicate that Tautavel is “the birthplace of the first European”. In the early 1990s discoveries from Ceprano, Italy and Atapuerca, Spain were dated back 800,000 years, making them the new “First Europeans”. Although in recent years Georgia, too, has become known as the country of the “First Europeans”, it would be very naïve to consider creatures that are 1.8 million years old as “Europeans”! The Dmanisi hominid discovery is indeed of immense importance for science, yet our approach has been to universalize the knowledge and understanding of human migration, rather than claim a distinction for being “first”.
Another source of rivalry between nations continues to be the site of the “cradle of wine”. Again, Georgia is in line for the distinction, since the earliest traces of viniculture have been found here. The Caucasus occupies a territory within the Near East zone, one of the seven global “Centers of Origin” of food plants, a geographic center where crops like grains and other plants originated, but also where they were domesticated and cultivated. The varieties and forms of cultivated plants that originated in the wider Caucasus region have shown that the area was indeed an ancient center for the domestication and diversification of food plant species.
In my opinion we should move away from contentions about who is “first winemaker” towards multidisciplinary research on the history of wine and other cultivated foods. The beginning of agriculture is a key period in human history, and it offers a unique opportunity for researchers to develop high-level international interdisciplinary collaboration. This was our motivation in 2014 when the Georgian National Museum and I took the scientific lead of an international multidisciplinary project on the “Research of Georgian Grape and Wine Culture” supervised by the National Wine Agency and directed by Levan Davitashvili, later continued by Giorgi Samanishvili. This initiative, by the Georgian Wine Association, was supported by the Georgian government. I would like to thank all participants of this project, particularly David Maghradze who efficiently coordinated the process.
Research studies on wine and in archaeology were not entirely new in Georgia, as many projects leading up to this multidisciplinary and international project had previously included archaeological excavations, beginning in the 1960s, as well as wine research programs. These studies had not, however, been integrated. Instead they were carried out as different disciplines, in separate research directions. This is why the time was ripe to build on these former accomplishments, and to incorporate them into an integrated, multidisciplinary project at the international level. Research on Neolithic period sites (6th millennium BC) on what is today Georgian territory began in the 1960s with the Georgian Academy of Sciences S. Janashia State Museum expeditions. Over time, research was led by Aleksandre Javakhishvili, Otar Japaridze and Tamaz Kiguradze. The oldest wine vessels were discovered at these sites, and as early as the 1960s these discoveries gave the scientific community grounds to believe that Georgia might well be the cradle of wine.
In 1999, a wine city, “Vinopolis”, was opened in London where a Georgian corner entitled “Georgia – Cradle of Wine” was created at the initiative of the Georgian Wine and Spirits (GWS) Company headed by Levan Gachechiladze and Tamaz Kandelaki. The initiative was supported by the Embassy of Georgia in the UK. The history of Georgian wine was presented in the exhibition hall of Vinopolis with replicas from the Georgian State Museum. Afterwards, Levan Chilashvili dedicated a book-album to the topic.
The theory that Georgia is the cradle of wine had already appeared in international literature when the famous writer Hugh Johnson expressed this idea in his 1989 book “The Story of Wine”. Later, the same assumption was made by an internationally recognized researcher of wine history, Pennsylvania University Professor Patrick McGovern. He travelled to Georgia in 1998, and in 2003, published his work, “Ancient Wine”, designating the Caucasus as the likely homeland of wine. These theories were based principally on the study of grape seeds discovered during the excavations but, unfortunately the international scientific community did not recognize these finds at the time, since absolute dating was not yet possible.
I became involved with the topic of wine in 2006 when the National Museum was tasked with renewing the exhibition in Vinopolis. Since that time, research on wine-related issues and informing the international community of our results became one of our main targets. At the same time excavations of Neolithic archaeological sites were resumed and the Wine History Foundation was created under the Georgian Chamber of Trade and Industry. The President was Jemal Inaishvili, and the goal was to support research on wine culture. Around the same time, a bronze statuette of a Georgian toastmaster, the “Tamada”, was discovered in Vani, dating back to the 7th century BC. It was chosen as the symbol of the Foundation.
In 2008, Patrick McGovern visited Georgia again and gave a lecture about chemical research on ancient wine. Symposiums were held dedicated to the topic of wine, including qvevri, however all of these activities were occasional, and it was only in 2014 that an international multidisciplinary project, “Research of Georgian Grape and Wine Culture” began. This project involved Georgian scientists and researchers from Pennsylvania, Montpellier, Milan, Copenhagen and Toronto universities, as well as the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel) and the National Institute for Agricultural Research ‒ Montpellier Center (INRA).
The biomolecular research conducted under the supervision of Patrick McGovern confirmed the presence of organic acids (tartaric, malic, succinic and citric), typical for wine, on the walls of clay vessels discovered during new excavations at the Neolithic archaeological sites of Shulaveris Gora and Gadachrili Gora in the Marneuli District, led by Dr. Mindia Jalabadze. These acids are markers of wine from Vitis vinifera grapes. Paleobotanical studies conducted by Georgian National Museum scientists Eliso Kvavadze and Nana Rusishvili showed that viniculture was widespread in this region during the early Neolithic period. Researchers from the University of Milan, led by Osvaldo Failla, studied the climate of the 6th millennium BC and confirmed that conditions in Kvemo Kartli (South-east part of Georgia) 8000 years ago were suitable for grape cultivation. Laboratory studies conducted in the Weizmann Institute in Israel supervised by Elisabetta Boaretto used C14 dating to determine that the samples dated back to 6000-5800 BC, and are thus 600 years older than previously earliest-known wine traces from the Zagros Mountains of Iran.
In November this year, the International scientific journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) published an article entitled “Early Neolithic wine of Georgia in the South Caucasus”, describing the research project and its results, also confirming that tribes inhabiting this area made wine as early as 6000-5800 BC, or 8000 years ago.
The contemporary scientific community has become increasingly convinced that Georgia is the “cradle of wine”. On one hand this has been confirmed by ancient archaeological finds related to the culture of grapes and wine and, on the other, to archeobotanical data. The global scientific community recognizes that the oldest indications of winemaking were discovered clearly on what is now the territory of Georgia, from where the practices spread throughout the world, making a significant impact on agriculture, human culture, biology, medicine and the development of civilizations. Large jars known as qvevri, similar to the Neolithic vessels, are still used to make wine in Georgia today. This is a strong indication that the region’s wine culture has deep historical roots and a solid continuity. Here we don’t find only one episode of the wine saga – but the whole picture. We began making wine in this region in ancient times and continue to do so.
It is as a result of this research that Georgia was invited to be the first “Guest Wine Region” at “La Cité du Vin” in Bordeaux, France. Collections of the Georgian National Museum were displayed at the exhibition representing the 8000-year history of Georgian wine. The exhibition was inaugurated by Alain Juppé, Mayor of Bordeaux and Former Prime Minister and by Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia. It was co-organized and financed by the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture through Levan Davitashvili, Minister of Agriculture, and Ekaterine Siradze-Delaunay, Ambassador of Georgia to France. The project was supported by the National Wine Agency, the Georgian Wine Association, and the National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia.
We are grateful to a devoted friend of Georgia, Jacques Fleury, Board Member of the Georgian Wine Association, who took the initiative to create this exhibition. We also express our gratitude to Sylvie Cazes, President of the Foundation for Wine Culture and Civilisations, Philippe Massol, General Director, Laurence Chesneau-Dupin, Cultural Director at the Cité du Vin and Tina Kezeli, Director of the Georgian Wine Association, Andro Aslanishvili and David Tkemaladze from Georgian Wine Agency. Recognition of this project and the success of the exhibition is the fruit of international cooperation. I express my gratitude to all colleagues involved in the research project and the exhibition.
Here we offer beautifully written story Ghost of the Vine about Georgian wine written by the National Geographic author and twice Pulitzer Prize winner, Paul Salopek, who travelled to Georgia few years ago as part of his Out of Eden Walk around the globe and the scientific research paper Early Neolithic wine of Georgia in the South Caucasus published in November 2017 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. You can have a glance at the highlights of the exhibition, Georgia, the Cradle of Wine, below.
Georgia the Cradle of Viticulture
The newly created Foundation for Wine Culture and Civilisations in Bordeaux, France offers an opportunity to present a cultural exhibition to a “Guest Wine Region”. The first Guest Wine Region exhibition at Cité du Vin was “Georgia, the Cradle of Viticulture”, which took place from 31 July to 5 November 2017.
Wine, a ubiquitous part of Georgia’s history, has accompanied the development of culture in this region from the Neolithic era to present day Georgia. This history has long been linked to the rich variety of the region’s soils and climates: more than 500 of the grape varieties grown in Georgia are indigenous. The country’s contribution to the development of the global wine industry, in particular to the unique qvevri winemaking method in large buried jars, has been recognized by UNESCO.
In Bordeaux, a world center of wine-making, Neolithic pottery fragments discovered in southeastern Georgia were exhibited for the first time, studied during interdisciplinary research in the Caucasus, representing the oldest biomolecular archaeological findings for grape-based wine. The archaeological and ethnographic objects, and works of art from the Georgian National Museum collections, as well as contemporary installations and video screenings were presented at the exhibition to testify that viticulture has always been an inseparable part of the region’s culture from the 6th millennium BC to modern day.
The exhibition was organized by the Georgian National Museum in collaboration with the Foundation for Wine Culture and Civilizations and funded by the Georgian Government.
Exhibitions and programs were co-organized by the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture and the Embassy of Georgia in France. The project was supported by the National Wine Agency, the Georgian Wine Association, and the National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia.
The National Bank of Georgia decided to honor this event, and issued a five-lari silver collector’s coin to support and recognize Georgian viticulture, to promote Georgia’s reputation and pay tribute to their contribution to viticulture. The coin’s design was selected through an open competition, and its creator is Nino Gongadze. It was minted in Japan.
The Origins Of Wine
The Neolithic Era, marked by the passage from a hunter-gathering society and economy to one of agriculture and farming, was one of the key stages in the story of humanity. The domestication of plants included that of wild vines, attributed to this period, were part of the “Neolithic revolution” like other important cultivars from the Near East and Caucasus regions. Neolithic wine embodied the Era’s developing agriculture and began to influence social and economic life.
Archaeological findings indicate that wine-growing from the 6th-5th millennia BC originated in southeastern Georgia. The domestication of vines and their cultivation expanded within agriculture-based Neolithic culture, known as Shulaveri-Shomutepe. The area covered by this culture included the South Caucasus as a prolongation of the Fertile Crescent, and is famed for its rich and fertile soils.
Pottery fragments discovered in the Kvemo Kartli region represent the oldest biomolecular archaeological discoveries of grape-based wine. Traces of the components of wine in Neolithic pottery fragments testify to the importance of its development in the region and, subsequently, in the world.
An Ancient Center of Agriculture and Metalwork
The Caucasus Mountains are a rich source for the types of metals used to manufacture tools vital for the development of agriculture. This includes winegrowing and winemaking. In Greek mythology, Prometheus was chained to these legendary mountains by Zeus for having defied the gods and given fire and knowledge to humans. The Caucasian peoples known as Tiberanians and the Chalybes are referenced in the Old Testament. In ancient Greek and oriental sources they are known as people who invented steel and with advance knowledge of metalwork.
Archaeological finds from Georgia show that in the 4th-3rd millennia BC, agriculture and metalwork appear to have been the primary economic and cultural indicators of the Caucasian culture known as Kura-Araxes. Georgia was one of the key centers of the Kura-Araxes culture which covered the South Caucasus (except for the Black Sea region) and eastern areas of the North Caucasus (eastern Anatolia, northwest Iran, Syria and Palestine) during the second half of the 4th millennium to the first half of the 3rd millenium BC. Thus wine found cultural expression in the abundance and variety of the terracotta vessels of the era, retaining close links to metalwork. These ceramic items imitated metal and were decorated with the same symbols as bronze jewellery, and pins in particular.
Wine and Royalty
The Kingdom if Colchis, Land of the Golden Fleece
“And close by, garden vines covered with green foliage were in full bloom, lifted high in the air. And beneath them ran four fountains, ever-flowing, which Hephaestus had delved out. One was gushing with milk, one with wine, while the third flowed with fragrant oil and the fourth ran with water…” (description of the Palace of Aeetes). – Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica, Book III, 220-225
Wine and gold became inseparable from royalty, especially in the Colchis, Kingdom of Aeetes, who was the son of the Greek god, Helios. The poet Eumelus of Corinth first wrote about Colchis in the 8th century BC as being the mythical destination of the Argonauts led by Jason. The fifty Greek heroes set out aboard their ship the Argo, “known to all”, according to Homer in the Odyssey, to retrieve the Golden Fleece. They were received and aided by the Colchian princess, Medea. What is now a western part of Georgia is still known as Colchis, and the people in one of the mountainous regions, Svaneti, still use an ancient method of searching for gold by using a sheepskin to catch the nuggets in streams and rivers. According to historians of the Greek and Roman worlds, such sparkling sheepskins shining with gold, could be at the origin of the myth of the Golden Fleece.
Numerous rich graves discovered in Colchis demonstrate that wine, silver and gold were prized, as exemplified by a silver belt found in a grave in Vani from the 4th century BC. The belt depicts a banquet offered by a Colchian nobleman (perhaps the person buried in this grave). There were hundreds of gold objects and different luxurious wine vessels in the grave, like those illustrated on the belt.
Colchian Bronze Culture
2nd-1st millennia BC
The Colchian bronze culture, based on metalwork and agriculture (in particular viticulture), appeared in the 3rd-2nd millennia BC.
From the 2nd-1st millennia BC, the ram – a symbol of strength and fertility – was a characteristic element decorating ritual objects and jewellery. This was the era in which the expedition of the Argonauts to retrieve the Golden Fleece was believed to have occurred.
Colchians paid tribute to agriculture and viticulture through funerary rites in this region. Graves from the 8th-6th centuries BC contained agricultural tools, including pruning knives designed to trim vines. This phenomenon is attested only in Colchis.
“Colchis Rich in Gold”
5th-4th centuries BC
Colchian goldsmiths mastered extremely complex technical processes (forging, spinning, granulation, filigree) and invented their very own style, for example creating new types of diadems and earrings. Their work was instrumental in Colchis becoming known as “rich in gold”.
In Greek literature, the description “rich in gold” is only applied to cities famed for their wealth, such as Mycenae, Sardis or Babylon. Gold ornaments, always accompanied by luxury wine containers, appear in large quantities in the graves of Sairkhe and Vani, the two main centers of the kingdom. The Colchian school of goldsmithery was formed thanks to cultural links with Greece and Achaemenid Persia. Trade played a key role in this cultural process.
The Kingdom of Kartli –
Towns began to be established in the Kartli region of eastern Georgia during the second half of the 4th century BC. Archaeological evidence of this process comes from the discovery of remains from the 4th-3rd centuries BC. Economic and cultural progress could be described as an “urban explosion” in the region at that time, followed by the creation of the kingdom of Kartli by the 3rd century BC. The Kingdom of Kartli is referred to in Greco-Roman writings as “Caucasian Iberia”. Winegrowing played a key role in the formation of the kingdom. In the towns, workshops with highly developed craftsmanship, including gold working, were key trade centers. Urbanized areas were surrounded by vast expanses of agricultural land, in particular vineyards. One of the best examples was the site of Tsikhiagora. At the time, wine was accompanied by new cultural technologies that are seen painted on huge terracotta amphora and architectural decors such as a mosaic floor depicting Dionysus and his companions.
Situated at a crossroads between East and West, and faced with the simultaneous political and cultural expansion of both Rome and Persia, the Kingdom of Kartli nevertheless managed to retain its independence and artistic originality, derived largely from its ancient local traditions. The powerful Kingdom of Kartli from the 2nd-3rd century AD formed the foundation for the creation of the unified State of Georgia.
Numerous discoveries of amphorae to transport wine that were produced locally or in Greece and of foreign and Colchian coins minted from the 6th century BC and later, attest to the fact that the Kingdom of Colchis traded with Greece and Achaemenid Persia. Elaborate imported wine vessels also confirm the importance of wine in these trade relations.
Wine in Religious Beliefs
In ancient times, wine was considered a divine drink, and people made offerings of wine to the gods to win their favor or thank them for favors granted. Although wine was ubiquitous in the funeral rites and worship practices on the territory of Georgia throughout the Neolithic era, it was not until the Hellenistic period that representations of Dionysus and his circle began to appear, bearing witness to the spread of his cult.
The bronze appliqués in the shape of the heads of two Maenads and a Satyr, were discovered in a sanctuary from the 2nd-1st centuries BC in Vani, the “temple city” of Colchis. Appliqués depicting other mythological characters such as Ariadne, Pan and a statuette of Nike, goddess of victory decorate a ritual vessel. This Dionysian object, a remarkable example of Hellenistic art that was most likely produced in a workshop in Asia Minor, symbolizes the homage paid by the Colchians to Dionysus. The vessel was seriously damaged by a fire when the city was destroyed in the 1st century BC.
Holy wine was poured in the sanctuary during worship rituals, as evidenced by approximately forty amphorae for offerings, and a large qvevri. Wine reserved for the god was kept in this qvevri, a tradition continued by Christian religious beliefs in Georgia.
“Dionysus, son of Zeus and Demeter, was ripped apart by the children of the earth, who tore him to pieces and boiled him; but Demeter gathered up his limbs and brought him back to life.”
Diodorus Siculus, “Bibliotheca Historica”, 1st century BC
Cut vine canes, carefully wrapped in silver foil, foreshadow a much later myth of Dionysus’s rebirth at the hands of Demeter, goddess of the Earth. Beliefs in rebirth and eternal life inspired the creators of these unique objects, unearthed in a large tumulus or ‘kurgan’. Through numerous gold and silver adornments, vines accompanied deceased persons on their journey into the afterlife.
In the early 4th century, Christianity became the official religion of Georgia, making it one of the first countries in the world to convert to this religion. Georgian written sources attribute this conversion to Saint Nino, “Equal to the Apostles”, who carried a cross made of grapevine canes, said to have been given her by the Virgin Mary. This cross remains a key symbol in Georgian Christianity. The adoption of this new religion meant that Georgian Christian culture would blend with older traditions, as witnessed by the arts in murals, painted and carved icons, manuscript miniatures and cloisonné enamel work.
The first churches were erected in Georgia in the 4th century, some of which still exist. The subsequent creation of the Georgian alphabet and written literature in the Georgian language in the 5th century is also linked to Christianity as it was used first by the Church. Representations of grapevines play a prominent role in facade decorations on Georgian churches as wine remained inextricably linked to religion and the Christian liturgy, and occupied a vital position in monastic life. Viticulture formed part of the key lessons or ‘liberal arts’ (trivium and quadrivium) taught at the Ikalto Academy, modeled after the famous Mangana Academy of Constantinople, founded in the 12th century near its namesake monastery, built in the 6th century.
The Grapevine Cross of Saint Nino
The importance of vine and wine in the Christian beliefs of the Georgian people is attested by another symbolic object: the grapevine cross of Saint Nino. The cross is made of vine canes held together with strands of hair from the Saint herself. This precious ancient relic is housed at Sioni Cathedral in Tbilisi.
Appearing in pre-Christian beliefs, vine-related religious symbolism naturally merged with the Christian belief system. The Christianization of Georgians using a cross of grapevine was effective and elevated the plant to the sacred. After receiving the blessing of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Nino of Cappadocia left for Georgia to spread Christianity. In the town of Mtskheta, where Christ’s mantle was buried, she preached the New Testament, performed miracles, and converted King Mirian and Queen Nana to Christianity. The miracles of St. Nino’s life are depicted on an 18th century chiseled reliquary created to hold the cross. Six of the scenes on the reliquary narrate her extraordinary salvation; the moment when the Virgin Mary gave the cross to Saint Nino; the appearance of an angel near her as she slept near Lake Paravan; the destruction of pagan statues by St. Nino; the healing of Queen Nana by Saint Nino; and the healing of Prince Revi by Saint Nino.
The relationship between humans and grapevines began in the 6th-5th millennia BC according to many archaeological studies. A unique feature of Georgian viticulture is the distinctive technology used and developed over centuries. А qvevri is а clay vessel that is buried in the cellar, or marani, and used in vinification. The shape of the qvevri is designed to allow wine to mature in the earthenware vessels at even temperatures. This process is unique and has been listed with UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Today this technology is being adopted by other winemaking countries.
The photographs taken by Dimitri Ermakov, а great photographer of the 19th and 20th centuries, offer insights into Georgian everyday life. Qvevri were made by specialized craftsmen in villages all over the country, working out of permanent or itinerant workshops. Qvevri craftsmen still produce these vessels in various regions of the country.
The marani, or Georgian wine cellar, is the place where wine is made and stored. It is a longitudinally shaped building generally made of local stone, which can be separate or attached to the house. There are two types of marani in Georgia. In the eastern part of the country, which has a fairly warm climate, the cellar is closed and the qvevris are buried inside, whereas in the western Georgia with its damp climate, the jars are buried in a courtyard in front of the cellar, shaded by plants. The marani contains various tools, which are vital for working with wine: the satskhi (cherry bark qvevri brush which also has antiseptic properties), an orchimo (a long-handled ladle made of a pumpkin), a samtita (special fork used to mix the grape must), a wooden shovel used to prise the covers of the qvevris, and more. Over the centuries, the marani has continued to be of sacred and religious importance. A reverential place, it also hosted large-scale celebrations such as baptisms and weddings. Popular belief associates the cellar with the Garden of Eden, home to the tree of life, which produces grapes.
8000 Years of History
The table installation, presented by 50 wine vessels selected from among collections of the Georgian National Museum, retraces more than 8000 years of Georgian winemaking history. These vessels have been used to hold wine, both sacred and profane, since the Neolithic era and they symbolize wine flowing from vessel to vessel over the centuries.
Niko Pirosmanashvili’s art is unique for its representation of both his epoch, the early 20th century, and the spirit and nature of Georgian culture. Subject matter related to viticulture and winemaking and scenes of feasting make up a unique part of his work. These scenes represent a very specific genre among his works, allowing us to perceive the order, hierarchy, originality and charm that have characterized the Georgian feast since ancient times. Another essential element of Georgian feasts is music, especially Georgian polyphonic singing. Such occasions share common traits with religious rituals, and in particular with the Eucharistic liturgy. It is likely that Georgian feast resulted directly from a secular transformation of a religious blessing. In Georgia it is believed that “guests are sent by God”.
Exhibition: Georgia, the Cradle of Viticulture
Bordeaux, La Cite du Vin
31 July – 5 November 2017
General Curator and Exhibition Director
Salome Guruli, Nino Lordkipanidze, Merab Mikeladze
Roberto Bacilieri, Stephen Batiuk, Laurent Bouby, Osvaldo Failla, Thomas P. Gilbert, Mindia Jalabadze, Tina Kezeli, Erekle Koridze, Eliso Kvavadze, David Maghradze, Zurab Makharadze, Patrick McGovern, Eldar Nadiradze, Nana Rusishvili, Nathan Wales
Lina Lopez, Tornike Lordkipanidze
Jean Louis Tartarin (En phase)
Nino Kalandadze, Nino Kebuladze, Tea Kinturashvili, Joni Akhobadze, Artistic Installation, Lina Lopez
Vakhtang Khoshtaria, Fridon Lobjanidze, Levan Mindorashvili, Mamuka Sagharadze, George Datiashvili
The exhibition was organized in collaboration with
Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia through Mr. Levan Davitashvili, Minister of Agriculture and Ms. Ekaterine Siradze-Delaunay, Ambassador of Georgia to France
National Wine Agency
Giorgi Samanishvili, President; Andro Aslanishvili, Vice President; David Tkemaladze, Bordeaux Project Manager; David Maghradze, Researcher
Georgian Wine Association
Tina Kezeli, General Director; Jacques Marie Fleury, Member of the Board; Tata Jaliani, Communication and Business Development Manager; Giorgi Khachidze, Administrative Manager/Lawyer
Foundation for Culture and Wine Civilizations
Sylvie Cazes, President; Philippe Massol, General Director; Laurence Chesneau-Dupin, Cultural Director; Marion Eybert, Temporary exhibitions manager; Sandra Mazière, Exhibition Manager; Pierre Michaud, Exhibition production manager
Electronic Publication: Georgia, the Cradle of Viticulture is prepared by the National
Geographic Magazine-Georgia in collaboration with the Georgian National Museum
Scientific Editor and Editor in Chief
Salome Guruli, Natia Khuluzauri, Nino Lordkipanidze, Nino Tabutsadze
Mary Ellen Chatwin
Mirian Kiladze, Fernando Javier Urquijo
Hardcopy of the publication ”Georgia the Cradle of Viticulture” was printed in Georgia, Printing house: CEZANNE,
ISBN: 978-9941-0-7865-1, © Georgian National Museum. 2017