On September 14, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia, officially opened the 'Georgia- Cradle of Wine' exhibition at 'La Cité du Vin', the Center of Wine Civilization in Bordeaux, France. Other Georgian government officials were also in attendance at the official opening. Georgia is the first country invited to open a range of different exhibitions dedicated to winemaking, and is to be the museum's honorary guest.
Cité Des Civilizations Du Vin is spread over 14,000 square meters and introduces the history and traditions of winemaking through to ultra-modern technologies.
In honor of the ancient Georgian traditional Qvevri winemaking method being on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, a large Qvevri vessel, specially made for the exhibition, is situated at the main entrance, and will remain there as part of the permanent exposition.
“We are proud of our ancestors who invented the winemaking process called Qvevri, all those many years ago," the PM said. "Qvevri symbolizes the essence of Georgian history and culture; today, as Georgia is returning to Europe, to the culture it belonged to, but was estranged from for some time, we are also joining the winemaking culture there. We are particularly grateful to the French people, to the city of Bordeaux, and especially to the administration of the La Cite du Vin, for enabling Georgia to be the first country as Guest of Honor, and for inviting our vineyards to share their excellent wines with the world”.
The Georgian National Museum prepared an exposition that will showcase Georgian wine culture and its history which counts 8000 years and displays Qvevri vessels that were found in Georgia dated back to the VI-V centuries B.C. Ancient ethnographic and archeological materials from the National Museum are also being presented at the exhibition in Bordeaux.
For the three months that it is open, the exhibition will regularly host events, including scientific seminars, cultural events, conferences and wine degustations. Figures show that that for the first week of the exhibition alone (the exhibition ends on November 5), almost 4,000 people attended.
"The country's greatest success is that the wine industry specialists, experts and wine companies representing Georgia, will be presented as the heritage of winemaking," the PM said. "This is a result of many years of research and hard work. We prepared well for this exhibition. There will be cultural events, as well as high-level meetings. This very important event opens a completely new perspective of Georgia not only in terms of wine but also in the cultural world, as a homeland of wine and being the country's oldest form culture and civilization".
“8000 years is enough time to turn a leisure activity into a critical element of national identity and that’s exactly what happened to Georgia. Wine is the major marker of Georgia’s national identity.” the Prime Minister pointed out.
“Leading specialists from seven different countries have recently confirmed after the three years of research that Georgia is the homeland of wine," he added. "The earliest traces of wine have been identified in a ceramic vessel unearthed in Georgia, dated by leading laboratory experts to the period around 8000 years ago. In addition, Vitis Viniferas, the oldest known wine varietal, has been discovered in Georgia and also dates back to the same period,” Kvirikashvili said, thanking both foreign and Georgian scientists for their priceless work for Georgia.
On October 11, at the Center of Wine Civilization in Bordeaux, La Cite Du Vin, Mr. Patrick Edward McGovern, Professor at Pennsylvania University, is to introduce the research findings, following the project initiated by the National Wine Agency of Georgia which was initiated three years ago, which explored whether Georgia is indeed the “Cradle of Wine”. The group of leading scientists from seven counties around the world will reunite to present the results of their research to the public, confirming that Georgia truly is the 'Cradle of Wine'.
“Georgian culture is saturated with the history of winemaking. Wine is everywhere: in music, poetry, frescoes, in Georgian ornaments and indeed in the fact that we invented Qvevri, a historic clay vessel for fermenting wine,” the PM added.
“I would like to ask you to come to Georgia and to savour and taste Georgian wine as a very strong part of Georgian national identity,” Giorgi Kvirikashvili concluded.