South African winemakers participate in the 2016 Georgian harvest season
By Ambassador Beka Dvali, Embassy of Georgia, Pretoria
13 October 2016
Four South African winemakers,two from Robertson Winery and one each from Van Loveren and Excelsior Wineries have left for Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, to participate in the Georgian harvest season which started on the 10th of September and lasts until the end of October 2016. Two of them are placed at Qimerioni Winery, and one each at Kheraba and Shilda Wineries. Khareba Winery is the largest winery in Georgia. The three Georgian wineries are located in the world famous Kakheti wine region bordering the Caucasus Mountains.
Georgia is globally known as the “Cradle of Wine”, boasting 8,000 years of scientifically proven, unbroken tradition of winemaking. Therefore, no surprise that the first exposition you see entering London’s famouse world wine museum - Vinopolis - is on Georgian wine and that the large-scale exhibition dedicated to Georgian viticulture and wine making will be conducted in 2017 at the Wine Museum and Cultural Center (http://www.laciteduvin.com/en) launched in Bordeaux, France just recently, in June 2016.
The Georgia-South Africa Winemaker Exchange Program is a joint initiative between the South Africa-Georgia Chamber of Commerce (SAGCC), the Embassy of Georgia in Pretoria and the Georgia National Wine Agency in Tbilisi. Winemakers and one micro-biologist from Georgia will be visiting South Africa during February 2017 and March 2017 to participate in the South African harvest season.
The South African winemakers visiting Georgia have been given opportunity to participate in the whole wine making chain – from the vineyard to the tank. They gain experience of different Georgian cultivars and winemaking processes. Georgia stands out in the world by having around 525 indigenous grape varieties for making some of the best wines in the world. The ancient Georgian methodology of making wine in clay pots called Kvevri will be a a very rare and unique encounter for South African winemakers to experience.
The winemakers exchange program will be followed by a visit by members of the Faculty of Wine Sciences at the University of Stellenbosch to the Free University and Agra University in Tbilisi and the Georgian State University in Telavi, capital of the Kakheti wine region in Georgia.
For more information on Georgia and Georgian wines see the following links: