It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

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It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#1 Post by Dan Kravitz » June 8th, 2019, 4:16 pm

What is this, a vineyard pic with wine cellar.jpg
What is this, a vineyard pic with wine cellar.jpg (17.67 KiB) Viewed 2199 times
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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#2 Post by YLee » June 8th, 2019, 4:22 pm

Alien spaceship peeping out of the ground.
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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#3 Post by Dan Kravitz » June 8th, 2019, 4:36 pm

Sally saw this in a design magazine she follows on-line. All it said was 'winery in Georgia'. I assume nation, not state, looks interesting. The comment by YLee (is your last name Coyote?) looks like it could be accurate, but almost certainly is not. I'm infinitely curious about wine and hope somebody can come up with some details.

FWIW, I've had a dozen Georgian wines, found many of them interesting and good, but I don't think they have gotten any traction in the U.S. market.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#4 Post by Wes Barton » June 8th, 2019, 6:46 pm

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#5 Post by PeterH » June 8th, 2019, 6:57 pm

I like.
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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#6 Post by Markus S » June 8th, 2019, 7:05 pm

It's called Photoshop...
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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#7 Post by Russell Faulkner » June 8th, 2019, 7:14 pm

I was in Tbilisi last week. There are many excellent wines available and for very little locally.

A store called 8000 vintages says they ship internationally but I didn’t ask about logistics. Huge range and very knowledgable staff.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#8 Post by Dan Kravitz » June 9th, 2019, 5:18 am

Many thanks to Wes Barton [cheers.gif] .

Our family enjoys art, far more looking than buying. We have two general categories that make for interesting discussions:

"It's a work of art" places the piece in a high category.
"It's a veritable f*cking work of art" places the piece in a lower category.

I'm inclined to think that this winery falls into the first category. If I had a little more spare time and spare change, I'd hop a flight to Tbilisi. I would love to see this (assuming it's not photoshopped) and taste the wines. My hat is off to whoever dreamed it up.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#9 Post by Al Osterheld » June 9th, 2019, 8:10 am

Wow, there is a lot of money behind that operation. It apparently was established in 2015 and the winery looks quite modern.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#10 Post by Russell Faulkner » June 9th, 2019, 8:17 am

I wonder if they actually made it. Google search the producer and only architect style photos seem to come up.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#11 Post by Steve Slatcher » June 9th, 2019, 8:44 am

In various places on the web (including their own website) you can see Shilda Winery's building. It's shiny and new, but rather mundane.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#12 Post by Russell Faulkner » June 9th, 2019, 8:51 am

Yes I can’t reconcile those with the photo above.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#13 Post by GregP » June 9th, 2019, 12:50 pm

Most of Georgian wine depends on sales in/to Russia. One can imagine that investing so much and then have both governments in political wars won't do much for business. Latest Georgian government seems to be trying to patch up the differences, and if that happens, then this winery may be able to succeed. Otherwise, money pissed against the wind.

Also, not sure what all the fuss is about their wines with most wines produced there having heavy doses of RS and little acidity to speak of. Works for Georgia, of course, with their cuisine on the spicy side, but in the rest of the world those heavily singular prunish notes don't do much.

Every time I see positive reviews on these wines my only question is, Just how much Georgian wine are YOU buying for your own consumption? Outside of some Russian delis across the US I have no idea who buys this crap, nor know of anyone who does, pretty much anything low end Beringer/Gallo is better, and at much better price. And Bogle absolutely destroys anything out of Georgia, at half the price, as one example, a ton of others. And even at Russian delis they mostly collect dust (though interesting to see Bulgarian wines now making a push, it seems, to compete for same shelf space).
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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#14 Post by Al Osterheld » June 9th, 2019, 2:28 pm

A little over 60% of Georgian wine exports go to Russia. That's down from over 90% before 2006 (2006 embargo, 2008 war, embargo lifted in 2013, I think). China has been a growing export market (it's third after Ukraine), but I think that is mainly for very cheap wine (couple dollars a bottle stuff) and is very price sensitive.

Some Georgian wineries appear to be trying to improve farming and wine making, but I suspect it's still a minority of them. Those few may be able to find export markets outside Russia, Ukraine, China provided they get away from the "Stalin's favorite wine" semi-sweet reds and expand beyond the somewhat of a crap-shoot qvevri wines (there is a market for these but I think it isn't large).

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#15 Post by Dan Kravitz » June 9th, 2019, 4:01 pm

I had a few Rkatsiteli (sp?) going way back, thought it was a worthwhile white grape. More recently I remember trying a Saperavi red; I didn't find it worth posting on but remember that it was a pleasant, solid, good dry (not remotely sweet) red wine that was faintly reminiscent of Zinfandel. Not Ready for Prime Time, but not bad and the history is there.

FWIW, about 10 years ago (soon after the Russian war), I was invited on an all-expense paid trip to Georgia's wine regions. The person doing the inviting made no secret of it or bones about it: The trip was (one way or another) being paid for by the U.S. government in an effort to help Georgia's economy. While I sympathized with Georgia, I didn't accept the trip. The samples I was sent were 50% semi to fully sweet wines. The other 6 were just OK; the Saperavi I tried within the last few years was better.

Does anybody know if the vineyard and winery in my OP is real, or just an architect's / artist's conception?

Thanks.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#16 Post by GregP » June 9th, 2019, 4:27 pm

Some Mukuzanis are the only ones I found to be OK, and just OK, they are some of the dry reds made there. Again, between those and, say, Bogle, there is really no choice.

Latest I hear is that Georgia buys up lots of bulk juice in Moldova and then bottles it as their own grown wine. Acreage planted in Georgia does not support their claim of X millions of bottles. Works for cheap exports to Russian markets, and maybe China, but won't hold a candle to that same 2BC here, to be clear. Most wine in Russia sells for $3-6 per, people simply have no money to buy the good stuff, $15 bottles are considered "luxury" for every day consumers there. When average salary is 10-15000 rubles a bottle for 1000 is way too much for them. Elite, of course, drinks differently, in true socialist fashion.

Been sampling this stuff for over 35 years now, still have no idea what wine reviewers see in them beyond being a "novelty". Same way I regard Armenian "cognac" as nothing more than bottled DDT.
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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#17 Post by Dan Kravitz » June 9th, 2019, 4:33 pm

to Greg P,

Last I heard, Russia was no longer a socialist country. Is there a news flash? Have I missed something? Inquiring minds want to know! [snort.gif] neener [smileyvault-ban.gif]

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#18 Post by GregP » June 9th, 2019, 6:20 pm

Start reading real news.
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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#19 Post by Al Osterheld » June 9th, 2019, 6:30 pm

The Georgian Saperavi wines I've tried have all been dry, but also a bit underwhelming, a bit on the hard side without the material to support further development. The best dry reds I've tried were a couple of Mukhuzani reds back in the 1990s at a somewhat connected restaurant in Moscow called Aragvi (closed a few years later, apparently recently reopened). Greg is right that counterfeit wines and brandies (called konyak) is a big problem. I've had more luck with whites, mostly selected orange wines and medium priced, non-skin fermented quaffers.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#20 Post by Josh Grossman » June 9th, 2019, 6:49 pm

It is interesting that is near where Vitis vinifera was first domesticated. Botany of Desire's chapter on apples and Kazakhstan makes me wonder if somewhere in Georgia is the same for grapes?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitis_vinifera
Changes in pip (seed) shape (narrower in domesticated forms) and distribution point to domestication occurring about 3500–3000 BC, in southwest Asia, South Caucasus (Armenia and Georgia), or the Western Black Sea shore region (Romania and Bulgaria).

The earliest evidence of domesticated grapes has been found at Gadachrili Gora, near the village of Imiri, Marneuli Municipality, in southeastern Republic of Georgia; carbon-dating points to the date of about 6000 BC.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#21 Post by GregP » June 9th, 2019, 7:04 pm

Wine shop in Georgia. Tourists shuffle in, look at the list of choices and order.
- I'll have 3 bottles of Saperavi.
One huge foudre in the back. Sales guy goes in the back, pours wine into bottles, seals them with cork and slaps Saperavi labels on bottles.
Another one orders Kakheti.
Sale process repeats itself, sales guy goes in the back, pours wine from SAME huge foudre, seals them with cork and slaps Kakheti labels on bottles. This goes on for a few hours. Then a customer comes in, looks at the list and orders a bottle of Khvanchkara.
Sales guy: Can't sell you that.
Customer: Why, you ran out of wine?
Sales guy: No, ran out of Khvanchkara labels.

Pretty much the state of Georgian wine.
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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#22 Post by Russell Faulkner » June 9th, 2019, 8:53 pm

Lots of comments here that don’t at all reconcile with what I actually saw and tasted last week, five days in Tbilisi.

For anyone really interested check out the range at 8000 vintages. I would have spent much longer there but family duty called. I’d suggest anything they stock is of high quality.

However the wines will remain filed under ‘interesting’ for me, I was happy to bring a dozen back.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#23 Post by James Billy » June 9th, 2019, 10:10 pm

Agree Russell. Hasn't anyone tried Pheasant's Tears, etc.?

In a similar vein to OP:

http://www.jeanclaudeboisset.com/en/new ... f-762.html
Last edited by James Billy on June 10th, 2019, 5:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#24 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 10th, 2019, 1:36 am

James Billy wrote:
June 9th, 2019, 10:10 pm
Agree Russel. Hasn't anyone tried Pheasant's Tears, etc.?
I have, quite a bit of them. Also have been collecting them for years, whenever I can find them - usually one bottle here, another one there. Starting to have a small collection of them in my cellar now. I've also tasted dozens of other Georgian wines as well, most of them pretty much from the natural end of the spectrum.

I'm going to visit Georgia in August and planning on not only visiting some wineries there, but also bringing a handful of Pheasant's Tears wines back so I can finally have my 100% Pheasant's Tears tasting later this year.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#25 Post by Russell Faulkner » June 10th, 2019, 2:06 am

Pheasants tears is an interesting one. It’s the only wine from Georgia I had tasted and remembered in the UK.

But didn’t see it for sale once in Tibilisi. Maybe they have a savvy owner/export manager.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#26 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 10th, 2019, 3:15 am

Russell Faulkner wrote:
June 10th, 2019, 2:06 am
Pheasants tears is an interesting one. It’s the only wine from Georgia I had tasted and remembered in the UK.

But didn’t see it for sale once in Tibilisi. Maybe they have a savvy owner/export manager.
Fortunately I'll be going to Kakheti as well, not just Tbilisi. Currently it is in our plans to go to Sighnaghi, where the Pheasant's Tears winery is located.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#27 Post by Russell Faulkner » June 10th, 2019, 3:39 am

Enjoy. Sounds a wonderful trip.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#28 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 10th, 2019, 3:51 am

Thanks, I'll try to make the most of it. Let's see how much one can do during a one-week trip.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#29 Post by James Billy » June 10th, 2019, 5:54 am

James Billy wrote:
June 9th, 2019, 10:10 pm
Agree Russell. Hasn't anyone tried Pheasant's Tears, etc.?

In a similar vein to OP:

http://www.jeanclaudeboisset.com/en/new ... f-762.html
Any comments on Boisset's rooftop vineyard in NSG in the link?

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#30 Post by GregP » June 10th, 2019, 8:34 pm

So, having a discussion with someone over the state of Russian wine industry. In response to, hmmm, some "sommelier" posting a lengthy diatribe hyping up the quality of Russian wine, and in particular, his statement that Russian producers are producing "serious" competition to Western wines, whereupon he then proceeds to point out that wines produced by the winery he works for are way better than competitors'. But, of course, as if there is any doubt...

When I questioned this entire sales drive one particular wine was presented as "serious effort". 91 points. By Parker himself (picture of the magazine ad posted as "proof", including Parker's signature, loos like Photoshop to me). Score only, no TNs attached/provided, just supposed scores and Parker's signature. And I just cannot find this particular and supposed review. The wine is 2012 Lefkadia Reserve. Anyone seen Parker's review of it?

TIA.
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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#31 Post by Steve Heydemann » June 11th, 2019, 3:52 am

No clue about the picture, but for those in DC who might want to dip a toe in Georgian wines, I ate at Tail Up Goat last night and noticed several Georgian wines on the list.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#32 Post by Steve Slatcher » June 11th, 2019, 6:14 am

Russell Faulkner wrote:
June 10th, 2019, 2:06 am
Pheasants tears is an interesting one. It’s the only wine from Georgia I had tasted and remembered in the UK.

But didn’t see it for sale once in Tibilisi. Maybe they have a savvy owner/export manager.
Well, John Wurdeman is part owner, and he also has business interests in restaurants an wine bars in Tbilisi. I guess he makes more money selling his wine in those places than wholesale to other retail outlets. The wine bar is Gvino Underground and I'm sure you could buy bottles to take away there. In fact I'm pretty sure you can get them from the restaurants too - I did ;)

I think the same applies to quite a few of the natural/qvevri producers you are likely to have heard of in the west - they set up Gvino Underground to get started on a larger stage by selling their wines in Tbilisi - and they hosted influential foreign journalist and sommeliers in Georgia.

8000 Vintages is outside that smallish group, and their qvevri wines are less well-known in the UK (and the US I suspect), but I dare say are still good and interesting.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#33 Post by Steve Slatcher » June 11th, 2019, 6:51 am

@GregP, I recognise very little of what you have written about Georgian wines.

I have visited Georgia a couple of times and currently have around 60 bottles of Georgian wine in my cellar of 400. OK - so 40 are for a tasting - but Georgia is still better represented than many countries.

Sure they make some crap wine, but most countries do.

The semi-sweet stuff is mainly for the Russian market. Some Georgian may drink it, but it does not go particularly well with their food, and dry wine is the norm. And remember there are Russians in Georgia too - residents and tourists.

Your allegation about Moldovan wine is pretty serious. I've heard something similar, but with one crucial difference: it is the Russians who import Moldovan wine and label it as Georgian.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#34 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 11th, 2019, 7:16 am

Steve Slatcher wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 6:51 am
@GregP, I recognise very little of what you have written about Georgian wines.

I have visited Georgia a couple of times and currently have around 60 bottles of Georgian wine in my cellar of 400. OK - so 40 are for a tasting - but Georgia is still better represented than many countries.
Steve, since you've visited Georgia a few times, I want to ask you if you visited with a local guide / arranged trip or just by yourself/yourselves? I was wondering how well you'll manage there only with English.

Did you visit Kakheti? We're going there but it's still unclear which might be the best way to get there. Also moving around in Kakheti is still a mystery to us. We'll probably visit Signaghi and Telavi/Tsinandali (at the Schuchmann hotel), but we're interested in staying on the northeastern (Caucasus mountain range) side of the valley too.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#35 Post by Markus S » June 11th, 2019, 7:36 am

Otto Forsberg wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 7:16 am
Steve Slatcher wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 6:51 am
@GregP, I recognise very little of what you have written about Georgian wines.

I have visited Georgia a couple of times and currently have around 60 bottles of Georgian wine in my cellar of 400. OK - so 40 are for a tasting - but Georgia is still better represented than many countries.
Steve, since you've visited Georgia a few times, I want to ask you if you visited with a local guide / arranged trip or just by yourself/yourselves? I was wondering how well you'll manage there only with English.

Did you visit Kakheti? We're going there but it's still unclear which might be the best way to get there. Also moving around in Kakheti is still a mystery to us. We'll probably visit Signaghi and Telavi/Tsinandali (at the Schuchmann hotel), but we're interested in staying on the northeastern (Caucasus mountain range) side of the valley too.
Otto -

if you are going there, please post a travelogue when you return. Be curious to read. Are you planning a car rental?
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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#36 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 11th, 2019, 7:50 am

Markus S wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 7:36 am
Otto -

if you are going there, please post a travelogue when you return. Be curious to read. Are you planning a car rental?
I might try, but I'm not really into writing forum travelogues on forums, so no promises there. Most likely we're doing lots of other stuff besides wine, so I guess it won't be that interesting.

We weren't planning on renting a car after my friend who has visited the country earlier said that taking the local crazy driving culture and the poor condition of the roads into account, one really shouldn't, unless they know what they are doing. :D

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#37 Post by Markus S » June 11th, 2019, 8:24 am

Otto Forsberg wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 7:50 am
... we're doing lots of other stuff besides wine, so I guess it won't be that interesting.
Like the road not taken, I would assume this would be the most interesting part (and most fun to read)!
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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#38 Post by Steve Slatcher » June 11th, 2019, 9:33 am

Otto Forsberg wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 7:16 am
Steve, since you've visited Georgia a few times, I want to ask you if you visited with a local guide / arranged trip or just by yourself/yourselves? I was wondering how well you'll manage there only with English.

Did you visit Kakheti? We're going there but it's still unclear which might be the best way to get there. Also moving around in Kakheti is still a mystery to us. We'll probably visit Signaghi and Telavi/Tsinandali (at the Schuchmann hotel), but we're interested in staying on the northeastern (Caucasus mountain range) side of the valley too.
First trip we went with a UK wine tour operator (Arblaster and Clarke) who obviously sub-contracted the Georgian guiding to the local company Linvng Roots - we were in a group of 10 or so. Second time we sorted out our own flights and got Living Roots to put together a week's private tour for the two of us, including accommodation and most meals, with private chaffeur/guide. The trips were not really comparable in terms of quality of accommodation and wine-technical information, but the private one worked out significantly cheaper and was just as enjoyable - but in a very different way. On the 2nd trip we noticed quite a few other small groups and individuals with their guides, so this is not at all an unusual thing to do. Living Roots is yet another business of John Wurdeman!

In Tbilisi, Sighnaghi and the Schumann Hotel you should be fine as a tourist. More generally, you'd have problems with older people, but kids now learn English at school. But, hey you're Finnish, so you could just communicate in Russian (joke). However, it's not just speaking - you also have to bear in mind that signs might only be in Georgian in the less touristy areas, and the Georgian script can be very disorienting. It's a lot easier to muddle along in somewhere like Italy, even if you speak no Italian. Hope that gives you some idea.

Yes, we spent most of our time in Kakheti on the first trip. Assuming you will start off in Tbilisi, there are many people who will offer you trips of varying duration to Kakheti. You could book a private guide, or go with a group. There are plenty of people touting for business on the streets of Tbilisi to take tourists on short trips, and Kakheti is quite a common destination. We stayed in Sighnaghi at the relatively up-market Hotel Kabadoni, and on the other side of the valley at Lapoto Lake Resort.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#39 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 11th, 2019, 9:43 am

Steve Slatcher wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 9:33 am
Otto Forsberg wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 7:16 am
Steve, since you've visited Georgia a few times, I want to ask you if you visited with a local guide / arranged trip or just by yourself/yourselves? I was wondering how well you'll manage there only with English.

Did you visit Kakheti? We're going there but it's still unclear which might be the best way to get there. Also moving around in Kakheti is still a mystery to us. We'll probably visit Signaghi and Telavi/Tsinandali (at the Schuchmann hotel), but we're interested in staying on the northeastern (Caucasus mountain range) side of the valley too.
First trip we went with a UK wine tour operator (Arblaster and Clarke) who obviously sub-contracted the Georgian guiding to the local company Linvng Roots - we were in a group of 10 or so. Second time we sorted out our own flights and got Living Roots to put together a week's private tour for the two of us, including accommodation and most meals, with private chaffeur/guide. The trips were not really comparable in terms of quality of accommodation and wine-technical information, but the private one worked out significantly cheaper and was just as enjoyable - but in a very different way. On the 2nd trip we noticed quite a few other small groups and individuals with their guides, so this is not at all an unusual thing to do. Living Roots is yet another business of John Wurdeman!

In Tbilisi, Sighnaghi and the Schumann Hotel you should be fine as a tourist. More generally, you'd have problems with older people, but kids now learn English at school. But, hey you're Finnish, so you could just communicate in Russian (joke). However, it's not just speaking - you also have to bear in mind that signs might only be in Georgian in the less touristy areas, and the Georgian script can be very disorienting. It's a lot easier to muddle along in somewhere like Italy, even if you speak no Italian. Hope that gives you some idea.

Yes, we spent most of our time in Kakheti on the first trip. Assuming you will start off in Tbilisi, there are many people who will offer you trips of varying duration to Kakheti. You could book a private guide, or go with a group. There are plenty of people touting for business on the streets of Tbilisi to take tourists on short trips, and Kakheti is quite a common destination. We stayed in Sighnaghi at the relatively up-market Hotel Kabadoni, and on the other side of the valley at Lapoto Lake Resort.
The joke's on you, I took a Russian course in the high school!

Unfortunately I really don't remember any Russian anymore, so it's not that helpful... :D

We weren't planning on having guides, just going around on ourselves. We have Schuchmann already booked, but Sighnaghi and the other side of the valley are still undecided. Was that Kabadoni a place worth considering?

I know how it can be in weird places. Last year we visited Japan and no one spoke a single word of English in the countryside. The hotel reception didn't even know words like "yes" or "no". Fortunately we knew some Japanese so we could manage somehow!

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#40 Post by Steve Slatcher » June 11th, 2019, 9:56 am

Well, it might be worth taking a Russian phrase book to jog your memory. More useful than a Georgian phrase book, I think.

I liked Kabadoni, but I seem to remember others on the trip were not so keen - can't remember why - sorry.

Another option is just to hire a driver for one or more days - also quite common.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#41 Post by Russell Faulkner » June 11th, 2019, 10:30 am

Yandex is the ‘Georgian Uber’ it’s not quite as smooth but it worked fine in the city. Taxis (it works Ruth normal cabs as drivers) are very very cheap but mostly pretty shitty.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#42 Post by Chris Seiber » June 11th, 2019, 10:54 am

This is highly anecdotal, and is not intended to reflect a comprehensive overview of Georgian wine, but I'll throw it in the mix.

In the winter of 08-09, we adopted my daughter (now 11) from Kazakhstan. We were in the city of Ust-Kamenogorsk for about two months in the dead of winter.

The "best" wines you could find there were Georgian wines, and I kept trying them from the store and at restaurants. Most of them were awful. Not necessarily awful in the sense that they had no potential to be good, but they were just sickeningly sweet. As though you took a glass of decent white or red wine, and you put a heaping teaspoon of sugar in it and stirred it around to dissolve before you drank it. It was quite repellent, to varying degrees from one bottle to the next (and I had no way to discern which ones would be what way).

So, to be clear, this wasn't overly sweet in the same way that Meiomi or Rombauer is (overripe fruit, chocolate, vanilla, jam), it was different, like sugary tasting.

What I was told was that most Georgian wine was exported to Russia, and that in Russia, they had a taste for very sweet tasting wines. Someone else could comment on whether that is true or not, or maybe it was more true a decade ago than today.

The best restaurant in Ust was called Old Tablisi, a Georgian restaurant with delicious shashlik and other exotic foods. Though most times we went, it was closed for private holiday events, and we had to make the long trudge through the freezing night to one of the mediocre other places to eat in town. It became such a beatdown. But the couple of times we successfully ate there, their Georgian wines were very good, and not sugary, overripe, or anything like that.

So my impression from that limited experience was that Georgia probably has the terroir and knowledge to make good quality wines, but you'd have to find the wines that aren't tailored towards a sugary-wine audience. If Georgia could get an international market for its wines, probably there would be more opportunity and investment towards the quality wine business there. Or maybe if Russian tastes changed to be more like the western world's tastes in wine, which could well be happening for all I know.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#43 Post by Wes Barton » June 11th, 2019, 11:08 am

Steve Slatcher wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 6:51 am
@GregP, I recognise very little of what you have written about Georgian wines.
Same. You can buy the sweet reds at the Ukrainian markets here, but the one I shop at carries some good dry ones which are also carried by respectable wine merchants. Local importer Blue Danube brings some in. We have several Bay Area wine merchants who I and others have bought them from for our frequent blind (brown bag) tastings. Those retailers wouldn't carry crap, so the only gamble is how freaky an orange wine is. I've had the range from novelty dud to quite impressive there. The clean reds and whites are mostly at least good for the price, interesting, and showing the potential of the varieties. I'd take those over Bogle/Berringer/Gallo any day. A few have been impressive, like a bottle of Kisi.

I don't judge California by Taylor jug wine. I don't judge France by the dollar a bottle bottom shelf stuff that doesn't make it to the US. Georgia is making some good wines and showing the potential to do a lot better. The several grape varieties I've tried have been unique and compelling.
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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#44 Post by GregP » June 11th, 2019, 11:23 am

Steve, I was born in USSR and lived there, unlike you VISITING with a tour guide. You know, the difference beteen being a tourist and actually residing some place, no matter where on the map it is. And as for your claim that you really have tasted dry wines there, well, what do YOU think they should have poured you knowing that Western palates prefer dry wines? They need to sell, of course they will sample you on wines they KNOW your palate prefers. You're happy, winery/shop is happy, and tour guide is even happier to be able to charge both you and the shop. Have no idea how to explain it any better. But MOST of Georgian wine produced is RS driven, for a number of reasons, main one being spicy Georgian food that works better with some sugar and another one is that they historically let the fruit ripen into territory that then leads to RS during fermentation. And another reason is that RS driven wines are so much easier to deal with at the winery, who cares if they are dry or not when they get sold.

As to rumors, doesn't take a genius to figure out X acres times X tons X cases. Not rocket science, when import numbers then say X + Y, and we all know that not all of Georgia produced wine makes it to Russia to begin with, some stays home (and sold to tourists) and some is exported to other markets. Main reason Russia stopped all Georgian wine imports a few years ago and confronted Georgian wine producers with this crap, since then Georgia is better at "managing" their export numbers to Russia, but in reality nothing has changed for them and they simply now expanded to other markets (and UK seems to be one such) to sell the Y portion of the equation.

I am also guessing you have not heard of Krasnodar wine region with sea of vines planted and more coming online every day now that a) imports from EU are more or less either limited or not allowed and b) Russian market requirements for cheap wine since their people can't afford anything but. But, yes, they also bring in Moldovan wine in bulk and bottle it, main reason you now see 2 full governments in Kishiniov as of 3 days ago, with each one begging Russia for economic ties. Moldova has only 2 real products, wine and corn, and whereas, and same as Kiev also mistakenly was a few years ago, Moldova was dreaming of entering lucrative EU wine market that dream has faded fast when they realized that EU wants Moldova's fees/money, but not the products. Anyway, its a long discussion that will verge into politics there since that entire region's economy is so tightly coupled to Russian markets. But I do agree with your premise that a lot of bulk Moldovan wine ends up on Russian wine market, whether bottled by Russians or Georgians, but in no way does it exclude Georgians from the equation.

You seem to be enjoying the wines, great for you! And I really mean it. That said, I have no idea what your palate is, and what your daily drinkers are, but I am just saying that here, in USA, one can buy Bogle, and a ton of similar wines, at half the price of Georgian wine, and end up with a much better product in all respects. But sure, some enjoy pickled herring (I do!), and lutefisk, say, and I am sure that 95% people on the board don't. Otto is, I am sure, familiar with forshmak, not sure if he eats lutafisk. And it still only makes Otto and me to know about, and eat, forshmak, but still doesn't make it something the rest of the board may. As much as you chiming in it still looks like you stocking up on Georgian wine is rather a rare exception and not a rule, and my original point. I know that vast majority won't spend their money on this niche product.
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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#45 Post by Markus S » June 11th, 2019, 11:57 am

GregP wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 11:23 am
As to rumors, doesn't take a genius to figure out X acres times X tons X cases. Not rocket science, when import numbers then say X + Y, and we all know that not all of Georgia produced wine makes it to Russia to begin with, some stays home (and sold to tourists) and some is exported to other markets. Main reason Russia stopped all Georgian wine imports a few years ago and confronted Georgian wine producers with this crap, since then Georgia is better at "managing" their export numbers to Russia, but in reality nothing has changed for them and they simply now expanded to other markets (and UK seems to be one such) to sell the Y portion of the equation.
Would this "equation" apply to Georgian tea as well??
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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#46 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 11th, 2019, 12:48 pm

GregP wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 11:23 am
Steve, I was born in USSR and lived there, unlike you VISITING with a tour guide. You know, the difference beteen being a tourist and actually residing some place, no matter where on the map it is. And as for your claim that you really have tasted dry wines there, well, what do YOU think they should have poured you knowing that Western palates prefer dry wines? They need to sell, of course they will sample you on wines they KNOW your palate prefers. You're happy, winery/shop is happy, and tour guide is even happier to be able to charge both you and the shop. Have no idea how to explain it any better. But MOST of Georgian wine produced is RS driven, for a number of reasons, main one being spicy Georgian food that works better with some sugar and another one is that they historically let the fruit ripen into territory that then leads to RS during fermentation. And another reason is that RS driven wines are so much easier to deal with at the winery, who cares if they are dry or not when they get sold.

As to rumors, doesn't take a genius to figure out X acres times X tons X cases. Not rocket science, when import numbers then say X + Y, and we all know that not all of Georgia produced wine makes it to Russia to begin with, some stays home (and sold to tourists) and some is exported to other markets. Main reason Russia stopped all Georgian wine imports a few years ago and confronted Georgian wine producers with this crap, since then Georgia is better at "managing" their export numbers to Russia, but in reality nothing has changed for them and they simply now expanded to other markets (and UK seems to be one such) to sell the Y portion of the equation.

I am also guessing you have not heard of Krasnodar wine region with sea of vines planted and more coming online every day now that a) imports from EU are more or less either limited or not allowed and b) Russian market requirements for cheap wine since their people can't afford anything but. But, yes, they also bring in Moldovan wine in bulk and bottle it, main reason you now see 2 full governments in Kishiniov as of 3 days ago, with each one begging Russia for economic ties. Moldova has only 2 real products, wine and corn, and whereas, and same as Kiev also mistakenly was a few years ago, Moldova was dreaming of entering lucrative EU wine market that dream has faded fast when they realized that EU wants Moldova's fees/money, but not the products. Anyway, its a long discussion that will verge into politics there since that entire region's economy is so tightly coupled to Russian markets. But I do agree with your premise that a lot of bulk Moldovan wine ends up on Russian wine market, whether bottled by Russians or Georgians, but in no way does it exclude Georgians from the equation.

You seem to be enjoying the wines, great for you! And I really mean it. That said, I have no idea what your palate is, and what your daily drinkers are, but I am just saying that here, in USA, one can buy Bogle, and a ton of similar wines, at half the price of Georgian wine, and end up with a much better product in all respects. But sure, some enjoy pickled herring (I do!), and lutefisk, say, and I am sure that 95% people on the board don't. Otto is, I am sure, familiar with forshmak, not sure if he eats lutafisk. And it still only makes Otto and me to know about, and eat, forshmak, but still doesn't make it something the rest of the board may. As much as you chiming in it still looks like you stocking up on Georgian wine is rather a rare exception and not a rule, and my original point. I know that vast majority won't spend their money on this niche product.
The sweet (RS-driven) Georgian wine is a modern thing that was developed during the 20th century in Georgia. The traditional style of Georgian wines has been kvevri wines for thousands of years and you just can't make sweet wines with them: you simply crush the grapes in the kvevri and the wine ferments dry. End of story. No residual sugar whatsoever.

It became possible to make consistently and reliably sweet wines only when the modern winemaking equipment arrived in Georgia - and that pretty much coincided with the USSR rule, when the wine production became quantity-driven instead of quality-driven, resulting in the almost complete extinction of kvevri winemaking. Georgia became a "wine-making factory-country" to USSR and they churned out millions and millions of liters of cheap, semi-sweet wine, because that was what USSR required. Almost immediately after the fall of the USSR the first small producers went back to making traditional, dry kvevri wines. However, these wines still remain rather obscure wines in the face of the big picture, since they've had less than 30 years to revitalize the traditional style and get out of that "quantity first" mindset that was the norm for a great part of the 20th century. Only after the Russian embargo the bigger wineries had to change their way of thinking and, ultimately, making wine if they wanted to get their wines exported to anywhere else but Russia.

And yes, I do eat the stuff the Norwegians call lutefisk and the Swedish call lutfisk every Christmas.

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#47 Post by Ethan H » June 11th, 2019, 3:07 pm

GregP wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 11:23 am
Steve, I was born in USSR and lived there, unlike you VISITING with a tour guide. You know, the difference beteen being a tourist and actually residing some place, no matter where on the map it is. And as for your claim that you really have tasted dry wines there, well, what do YOU think they should have poured you knowing that Western palates prefer dry wines?
God, I wasn't going to feed the тролль, but since you insist on argumentum ab auctoritate, fine, I'll throw down. I lived in Russia from 2006-2019 (having first studied there in 1991-92) and was in Georgia as recently as the end of April of this year. Also, I used to drink Bogle zinfandel back in the day, shortly after I graduated up from Sutter Home White Zinfandel (we're talking circa 1993). So I know something about the topics in this thread.

As for you, you honestly sound to my well-trained ear like someone whose family emigrated from the USSR in the late 1980's/early 1990's, and your opinions on Georgian wine are accordingly at least 15 if not 25 years out of date.
GregP wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 11:23 am
main one being spicy Georgian food that works better with some sugar
Why do you keep repeating this fallacy that Georgian food is spicy? It's wonderfully flavorful, but not spicy. Not spicier than Turkish food (its not-so-distant cousin), for example. My authority for this statement is having first eaten Georgian food in 1991 (at the cooperative restaurants Guria and U Pirosmani in Moscow), getting my first Georgian cookbook in 1994, living in Moscow for 13 years of my life and having an Abkhazian Georgian nanny for my kids (who does a lot of cooking) for the past six years. Oh, plus eating Georgian food in Georgia. It's only spicy to someone with a circa 1980's Soviet Russian palate.
GregP wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 11:23 am
Main reason Russia stopped all Georgian wine imports a few years ago and confronted Georgian wine producers with this crap
Please let's not pretend that this was anything other than a purely political decision. Or do you actually believe that Roskomnadzor [sort of the Russian FTC/FDA/USDA] also barred Borjomi [Georgian mineral water] for "quality control" reasons?!
GregP wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 11:23 am
I am also guessing you have not heard of Krasnodar wine region with sea of vines planted and more coming online every day now that a) imports from EU are more or less either limited or not allowed...
There is no restriction (except for the usual import limitations applicable to wine from anywhere) on importing EU (or US, etc.) wines into Russia. They do not fall under Russian counter-sanctions targeting EU (and other sanctions-imposing jurisdictions') dairy, meat/poultry/fish, and produce products. See the website of this leading Russian wine importer for example. As for Krasnodar, I've not only heard of it, I've sampled its wines (and those of adjacent regions) fairly extensively.** Suffice to say that, as with Georgia, or California (the Central Valley specifically) there is plenty of crap, but also some interesting developments. Right now they are making some wines that can easily outrun Bogle but are a bit too international in style, plus some local wines that are interesting but a bit too exotic. No it will never be the Cote de Nuits but, with investments and a push from global warming, it can become a solid source of wines for a mostly domestic market with some wines worthy of wider renown (kind of like Switzerland, or Sardinia, for example).

As for Georgia, the source of this thread... sure there's a lot of mediocrity, but wineries like Shilda (the real winery that is the location of the fictional winery that Dan K. pictured), Winiveria and others are making some serious wines that are so far from the one-barrel-many-labels libel you are spouting.

For anyone (including Greg) willing to have an open mind, if you get a chance to visit modern Georgia, don't hesitate. In Tbilisi, stay at the Stamba Hotel or at least visit its bar or restaurant, with an extensive list of Georgian wines (in three distinct styles: "European"; traditional Georgian, and qvevri). Go to Kakheti if you can (it's only a 75 minute drive). It won't be the greatest wine experience of your life, of course, but you'll have a lot more fun and drink better than you expected (while spending a relative pittance).


** Here's a few TN's:
  • 2015 Fanagoria Avtorskoe Vino, Saperavi - Krasnostop - Russia, Taman Peninsula (12/15/2017)
    Quite a solid wine, even without considering it comes from Russia (and not even the main wine region) and cost $8.50 in a Moscow wine store. Full purple color. Nose of blueberries and powdered marshmallows, with a hint of cherry, and not much else, which doesn't seem all that promising. But the wine is vinified totally dry, with red fruits and even a touch of minerality on the palate, underlain with good acidity and somewhat drying tannins. Medium-full bodied but a bit thin on the mid-palate. Still, quite decent, reminding me of a pretty good Dolcetto. Claims to be hand harvested, which can't be taken for granted in this price range. The heaver-than-average bottle and nice deckle-edged label don't comport with the price and make me think this must be some oligarch's vanity project. Worth a try -- besides, when was the last time you had a blend of Saperavi and Krasnostop? (86 pts.)
  • 2014 Vedernikov Winery Pravoberezhnoye - Russia, Rostov, Konstantinovskoe (5/30/2016)
    I bought this out of curiosity and not because I expected great things out of a $10 Russian blend of cabernet sauvignon and two indigenous grapes: black tsimlyansky & krasnostop zolotovsky (sounds like the heroes of a Russian buddy-cop movie...). The name of the wine translates as "Right Bank" but if I had to form an association with a well-known western wine, it wouldn't be a St. Emilion or a Pomerol but rather a well-made modern Barbera. (According to the back label the "right bank" refers to the Don River, and not an ersatz Gironde.) Visually it looks like a young cabernet with its regal purple color. An attractive nose of red fruits, blueberry, smoke and herbs is followed by a juicy palate of sweet ripe cherry and cocoa on the attack and mid palate, with welcome herbal notes following through on the finish. Modern in style but retains good acidity and balance and at 13.5% ABV is not overdone; tannins are also moderate. This would be fun to take to a blind tasting ... even the best palate in the world would surely be fooled by this wine out of left field. I don't know whether this wine is exported, but at this price it's definitely worth a try. (89 pts.)
  • 2013 Lefkadiya Reserve - Russia, Krasnodar, Krimskiy district (2/22/2015)
    With a '12 Gripa St. Peray les Pins open, I decided to open this Russian blend of viognier (not allowed in the St. Peray of course), roussanne and marsanne for a comparison. Supposedly a former Mouton-Rothschild winemaker consults here, and this is the estate's "reserve" white. It acquitted itself surprisingly well -- less forward and fruity than the St. Peray, with more refreshing acidity and a touch of minerality. White peaches on the nose, and (with some mint) on the palate too (after additional time open, it starts to taste like liquified Sweet Tarts, which is more appealing than it sounds). A good sign of things to come from Russia, vinously speaking, perhaps... (90 pts.)
Last edited by Ethan H on June 12th, 2019, 12:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#48 Post by Steve Slatcher » June 11th, 2019, 3:22 pm

Yup Greg, most (just about) of Georgian commercial wine is semi-sweet. But most of that goes to Russia.

But Georgians generally prefer dry wines. And actually whatever statistics we have on commercial wine production are pretty meaningless when evaluating that statement. Why? Because the vast majority of wine that Georgians drink is not made commercially. It is "home-made" - made by the drinker, or their friends or relatives.

When I was in Georgia, I was not poured dry wine as a tourist fodder. Neither was I poured the rubbish sweet wine as you thought happened to tourists in an earlier post. I mostly tasted wine at places with incredibly small production levels that often had little or no wine left to sell. In fact, even the massive Telavi Wine Cellars could not sell me any wine after the tasting, because they were simply not geared up to do that. And I ate and drank at a range of restaurants, and drank "home made" wine at a number of them. Sometimes with a guide, but we also got to choose the wine on some of those occasions, and sometimes we ate alone.

You were born in the USSR, but when were you last eating and drinking in Georgia? It still seems strange to me that you describe Georgian food as spicy, and thus more suited to sweet wine. Georgian food certainly does use spice in some dishes, more so in the west than the east, but with very few exceptions it is not what I would call at all hot - in terms of heat it is more similar to Middle Eastern than Indian for example.

BTW, usually when I drink Georgian wine, I do not do it because is twice as good as another one, or even not necessarily better at all. What I like is that it is an interesting and different experience, and for me it is a good one. They are usually the small production qvevri wines. And even more BTW I used to live in Norway, and know lutefisk well enough, but just cannot see the point. As least Georgian wine has the right texture.

But I will grant you your point about Moldovan wine. It seems Georgians and Russians were both at it. But hopefully things have been tightened up since then. I found this New York Times article from 2006 on the subject:
https://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/09/worl ... ussia.html

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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#49 Post by GregP » June 11th, 2019, 4:01 pm

What does fermentation vessel have to do with only resulting in dry wines? Unreal.

For the record, Krasnodar region produced a good chunk of Soviet era wine, with Moldova filling out the other half for the most part, and Georgian wines being much smaller chunk, still, simply due to same reasons they are today, lack of plantable land when compared to both Russia and Moldova. So, all this rewriting of history on your visits to Georgia, or some WiKi BS is no more than BS (hell, I am now reading some interesting hallucenogenic fantasy "facts" about city of my birth, Lvov, in WiKi, LEMBERG to rest of Europe for centuries, soneone should put that pipe down). YOU didn't live in USSR BACK THEN and have no idea about state of wine consumption, trust me on that. My grandfather admired wines of Abrau-Durso, and I cannot see how anyone could ever argue that ANY Georgia produced wine EVER reached the levels of Massandra and a few others in Krym. Even today. Funny also how so many claim that Massandra, under Soviet rule, produced some incredible wines, and yet, same voices claim that Soviets destroyed wine industries in Georgia and Hungary. The irony is really thick with this one. At least no one in Moldova claims that, they still have (literally) miles of streets of underground cellars financed and built during Soviet times. Like I said above, unreal, in so many ways.

I am really, REALLY tired of hearing about "Soviets destroyed a wine industry", be it in Georgia or Hungary. We're almost 30 years after the fall and I keep hearing same crappy excuses for one's inability to produce good product. Yes, in Georgia, Moldova or Hungary. No one stopped anyone from doing what's right, whether in the vineyard (replanting, etc), or cellars. This qvevri BS is just that, MARKETING BS and nothing but. Same people who proclaim "qvevri rules!" also do not ride donkeys these days, do they? Its a frigging SALES GIMMICK in a modern world. Time to move on to cleaner and safer hygienic methods. But, sure, kool aid to some. MOST of what they make is crap, doesn't matter if there are exceptions, because, well, that's why they are called "exceptions". If they really are exceptions to begin with, palate preference and all that. Remember, some eat lutefisk and durian, doesn't mean they are for general consumption.

And who the hell forces them to CHEAT TODAY by bottling bulked out Moldova juice, those same Soviets of ~30 years ago? That's a GENERATION REMOVED by now, for those awake.

Since no one here besides me actually lived there, and those still blind to the actual, factual history of the place no matter what the news media tell you, Soviets really didn't run Georgia, it was pretty much an "autonomous" republic at the time, in all respects, and trains leaving for Moscow were OFFICIALLY announced over the PA system as "Leaving to Soviet Union". DURING SOVIET UNION TIMES. Ridiculous to read some of the above from people who only "read about it". Its simply mind blowing just how brain washed and fearful the West has become when it comes to Soviet Union/Russia, and now Georgia and wine. I am not a fan of Soviet Union and Russia, being a Jew makes one a hater of both and having both maternal grandparents imprisoned there for nothing doubles that, but a lot of the claimed crap I see in regard to both is simply mind blowing beyond comprehension, a lot of it is definitely "new" to me, as in "Are you insane?". Brain washing and history distortion at their best. Lenin, useful idiots, and all that...

I see same arguments about Georgian wines I heard from Yugo buyers of the day. But, sure, your money, your choice.
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Re: It's in Georgia (nation not state) - what is it?

#50 Post by Wes Barton » June 11th, 2019, 5:21 pm

Greg - Absolutely no one needed to be told the vast majority of Georgian wine is garbage. No one cares, either. We care about the good wines, which many of us have tried (details above, including the fact that some are made in a clean, modern fashion).
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