Red Corner: Indulging in Georgian Wine

For those of you who read yesterday’s post about Russian wine pirates counterfeiting Georgian vino, a simple thought may have crossed your mind: why bother? Just how good could Georgian wine possibly be for an entire black market to evolve?

Well, consider this: not only is southern Georgia blessed with very fertile, winegrowing conditions, but Georgians have been taking advantage of this climate since approximately 5000 BC. Some archeologists claim that wine was actually invented in what is now present-day Georgia.

The problem, however, is that during the time Georgia was part of the Soviet Union, wine production suffered the same fate as every other industry communism managed to ruin. Even worse, when communism fell and the Georgian economy went belly-up, its wine industry nearly followed.

There are, however, a collection of fine wines still produced. The very best I tasted last summer, however, was served out of plastic Pepsi bottles. Nearly every bed-and-breakfast and most family homes in southern Georgia make their own wine, and it was all excellent (Pepsi bottle notwithstanding). Although the area is currently struggling, and investors are wary of the region’s instability, winemaking remains in the blood of the Georgian people. And boy, do they do good job of it.