Its still not really sure which people or tribe discovered the great invention of wine. However the oldest civilization that is known for its wine drinking were not the Romans or the ancient Greeks, but the Georgians.
Say what? Yes that country in the Caucasus between Russia and Turkey. We told you about their cure for hangovers, now lets talk drinks. Since it is here that the oldest remains of wine making were found. And still Georgia has a great wine culture with species that are found nowhere else in the world.
Lets have a look at the history first. There is no argument among specialists that the oldest remains of wine making were found in Georgia. In typical clay vases called qvevris archeologists found the remains of grape seeds. They say the oldest ones go back to 6.000 years B.C. These qvevris (or kvevris) are still being used in Georgia to make wine. Where in Western Europe grapes ferment in wooden barrels, Georgians till recently always stuck to their traditional clay vases. The qvevris are almost completely buried in the ground and sealed with a wooden cover. For a good fermentation process, and therefor good wine, the cool ground in these basements is essential. These days almost all Georgian wine makers switched from the ancient style to modern technology. Otherwise it would be hard to compete with wines elsewhere in the world.
And its not only the process that makes Georgian wines special. The country in the South Caucasus has an enormous variety in grape species. There are about 500 different kinds, most of them go way back and only grow in Georgia. Wine is one of the biggest export products, but of course not all kinds leave the country. If you can buy wines outside of Georgia you are likely to stumble across the Saperavi (red), Mtsvane and Rkatsiteli (both white) grapes.
All through history Georgia and wine have always been inextricably connected. The writings of the famous Greek poet Homer also mention the great wine quality of this region. And its even said that the curly Georgian alphabet was made to look like vines. To give you an example we spelled the Georgian word for wine ‘gvino here: ღვინო. Wine can also be found in other cultural expressions like music, poetry and architecture. It even plays a large part in the Georgian Orthodox Christian church. Since before Christianity in Georgia many pagan rituals were performed with wine the conversion to Christianity couldnt go well without picking up on that.