The home of wine
With an 8,000-year history of winemaking,
Georgia is the original land of wine. Meaning
'land of farmers' in Greek, Georgia is a
fertile valley between the Caucasus,
with unique grape varieties
and especially, the real way of making wine.
While there are around 5,000 grape varietals
in the world, only about 20 make up most of
the world's production, with about 60 others
in minor production. With over 500 varietals
found nowhere else, Georgian wines are truly
special, giving aromas and flavours that
surprise even sophisticated wine connoisseurs.
Kvevri - the world's original
Traditionally, Georgian wine is made in large
clay jars that are buried underground. The wine
ferments and matures at a natural earth temperature
of around 15 degrees C, and the clay allows for
micro-oxygenation to occur. This means the wines
become high in polyphenols, giving health benefits
as well as an enhanced mouthfeel, excellent
structure and superior finish.
Georgia is one of the top-ten producers by
volume. European-style wines (as opposed to
kvevri wines) are also made with the unique
Georgian varities, using the most modern
equipment and techniques. These wines will
delight you, and at a very reasonable cost,
especially when compared to other European
What is Natural Wine?
There are now regulations in the EU and USA as to what organic wine can contain, and what additives are allowed. Yes, under these regulations, certain additives are permitted in organic wine. However, there is no definition of what constitutes 'natural wine'.
If we look at some of the processes involved in how wine is commonly made, we may be able to reach a clearer understanding of what natural wine might be.
In a typical industrial vineyard, a wide variety of processes and chemicals are applied to the field, the vine and the grape before the grape is harvested.
Herbicides to kill weeds around the vine, fertilisers to make the grape grow faster and bigger, pesticides to kill insects that feed on the vine and the grapes, and fungicides to kill mold or mildew that grows on grapes.
Not only do these toxic chemicals spoil the natural flavours and aromas of the grape, all of them, to some degree, end up in the wine - and then you drink it.
Once the grapes are harvested, there are hundreds of procedures that can be applied to make the wine 'better'. Better here means a more commercially accepted product, a wine that suits the taste of a critic, a wine that ferments at a guaranteed pace, a wine that is ready to drink shortly after production.
These industrial processes in the winery are not potentially harmful to humans' e.g. adding egg-whites for fining, reverse osmosis to adjust the taste, adding commercial yeasts, adding water, oak chips, liquid wood tannin, acid, water, and dozens of other chemicals, but obviously you are getting a 'wine drink' not 'real' wine.
The widespread practice of sterilising wine with Velcorin (dimethyl dicarbonate) means a wine can be labeled as 'sulphite free' but it still has been 'killed' by sterilisation.
If there were a labelling system for natural wine, hopefully it would say, "Ingredients: grapes."
Just as more and more food throughout the world is the product of an industrial farm or factory, more and more wine is being produced like this. We must remember that wine is a natural product, a gift from the earth, and if we do anything other crush and ferment, we are losing something.