This Tuesday, I will be off on another BC wine-promotion adventure with Allison Markin of All She Wrote Consulting. She and I are flying to Georgia to speak at the 2014 International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC) and to take part in a media/FAM tour before and after the conference. Now, most of you may be thinking of Atlanta and Georgia Peaches and wondering why we would go there for a wine conference but in fact, we’re off to the other side of the planet, to the former Soviet Republic of Georgia; Tbilisi, Georgia to be precise.
Georgia has an amazing history in growing grapes and making wine – many archeologists believe that the valleys of the South Caucasus are the source of the world’s first cultivated grapevines, dating back 8000 years, to the Neolithic era. The clay vessels in which the Georgian wines have traditionally been made are called Qvevris, and they have been added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.As part of the FAM tour, I will be able to experience Georgian culture, food and wine at an assortment of wineries,distilleries, monasteries and restaurants in and around Tbilisi, Telavi, Kvareli, and Sighnaghi. Some of the highlights will include the sparkling wine house Bagrationi 1882, brandy producer Sarajishvili, Jvari Monastery, Château Mukhrani, Alaverdi Monastery, Khareba Winery, Shumi Winery, Schuchmann Winery, and Pheasant’s Tears Winery. I look forward to some delicious food, wine and traditional Georgian music at Azarpesha Restaurant.
It will be a very busy 7 days (plus 3 days of travel to and from) but I am very excited for all the new experiences and people, not to mention the different wine varietals on offer! Georgia has over 500 of their own varietals; I’m sure I’ll only be able to taste a fraction of them to add to my Wine Century Club list! Please stay tuned here, or follow my Georgian adventures on Twitter @vinesanddesigns. Gaumarjos! (Cheers in Georgian)