This week Georgia became the first guest wine region at the shiny new Cité de Vin museum in Bordeaux. Georgians have been making wine for 8,000 years.
Though debate still swirls over whether that makes them the oldest winemakers, the drink is central to their culture.
The national wine agency says that the word “wine” derives from the Georgian “ghvivili”, meaning to smoulder or ferment; the curls and loops of Georgian script are said to mimic vine fronds and grapes.
The country has 525 indigenous grape varieties. It still makes wine using the ancient method of fermenting the whole fruit in conical clay jars. Exports of Georgian wine to America are up 43% on last year; those to China are up 104%. The wine agency recently toured Guangdong province, and recommends a Georgian semi-sweet with some sizzling char siu [Chinese barbecued pork – HN]. It looks as if 2017 might be a very good year.