Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world.The fertile valleys of the South Caucasus house the source of the world's first cultivated grapevines and neolithic wine production, from over 8,000 years ago.
UNESCO added the ancient traditional Georgian winemaking method using the Kvevri clay jars to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
Bronze statue from the 7th century BC discovered during archaeological excavations in the city of Vani.
This statue is the statue of a Tamada, a toast master, and as you see on the souvenir sheet it is sometimes considered as the symbol of the earliest wine making in the world.
The sheet also pictures amphora that were used at this time to carry and to stock the wine. The roots of Georgian viticulture have been traced back by archeology to when peoples of the South Caucasus discovered that wild grape juice turned into wine when it was left buried through the winter in a shallow pit.
This knowledge was nourished by experience, and from 4000 BC inhabitants of the current Georgia were cultivating grapes and burying clay vessels, kvevris, in which to store their wine ready for serving at ground temperature.
When filled with the fermented juice of the harvest, the kvevris are topped with a wooden lid and then covered and sealed with earth. Wine vessels of every shape, size and design have been the crucial part of pottery in Georgia for millennia.Ancient artifacts attest to the high skill of local craftsmen.Among vessels, the most ubiquitous and unique to Georgian wine-making culture are probably the Kvevris, very large earthenware vessels with an inside coat of beeswax.Not only kvevris were used to ferment grape juice and to store up wine, but also chapi and satskhao; others yet were used for drinking, such as khelada, doki, sura, chinchila, deda-khelada, dzhami and marani.The continuous importance of winemaking and drinking in Georgian culture is also visible in various antique works of art.Many of the unearthed silver, gold and bronze artifacts of the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC bear chased imprints of the vine, grape clusters and leaves.