Georgia: the wine industry as an engine for economic growth?
Just recently this country hit the headlines on account of a “peaceful revolution“ resulting in the run-down government being ousted from office. Now Georgia, which is situated between the Black and the Caspian Sea, wants to make different headlines – with wine. This impoverished, exploited country, which bears the omnipresent scars of a civil war at the start of the nineties and an earthquake a good two years ago, is hoping that wine production can be an “engine for economic growth”.
Georgia is presenting itself at the Düsseldorf ProWein 2004 (29 February to 2 March) for the third time (Hall 3, Stand G 166). This country deserves a positive response if only due to its proud wine-growing history, which goes back approximately 7,000 years.
70,000 hectares are said to be stocked at present, with vines whose names are largely unknown in the West. In Georgia there are more than 500 different varieties. It’s about time we found out the names of the most important varieties: Rkatsiteli (pronounced “Katsitelli“) creates a robust white wine which is full of character and resembles a good Sylvaner, stylistically-speaking; Mtsvane is somewhat reminiscent of Traminer and is popular as a blending partner for Rkatsiteli; the red variety Saperavi provides wines which are powerful and fiery, with an aroma consisting of plums, spices and almonds. In the Kachetien regions of Kindzmaraulli, Khvanchkara and Akhasheni it also acquires a naturally cultivated sweetness. Whoever exhibits at the ProWein 2004 will bring wine with them that may provide a pleasant surprise.
Author: Rudolf Knoll, Germany