格鲁吉亚位于连接欧亚大陆的外高加索中西部地区，是古代丝绸之路和现代欧亚交通走廊的必经之地。该国多山，约有80 % 的国土为山地、山麓或山前丘陵地带。 其北部为大高加索山脉，南部为小高加索山脉，两者之间则是山间低地、平原和高原。由于自然资源匮乏和战争频发，格鲁吉亚的经济状况一直不佳。但是，贫穷的格鲁吉亚却有着靓丽炫人的自然风光。那里有六世纪的教堂、古老的钟塔乡村、极其雄伟的高山、漫山遍野的鲜花、众多的温泉、令人垂涎的佳肴和醇酒。
黑海宜人的暖风，高加索山国宜人的气候、肥沃的土壤……格鲁吉亚拥有适宜葡萄生长的一切得天独厚的条件。 古希腊游者毫不掩饰对格鲁吉亚人的嫉妒：“ 他们不松土、不锄地、更不祈祷，上天却把如此优良的葡萄赐予他们。他们唱歌跳舞，通宵达旦地庆祝，不羡慕也不行……”
走进格鲁吉亚的红酒博物馆，你会看到修剪葡萄藤的专用器具，盛放葡萄酒的漂亮酒具等。而记录葡萄收割、美酒酿制仪式的壁画，更让人眼花缭乱。 格鲁吉亚的葡萄酒具，有粘土烧成的，古色古香；有金属铸成的，蓬壁生辉；有银制的，雍容华贵。格鲁吉亚的酒具同红酒一样，也在世界上享有盛誉。 酒桌上，人们在觥筹交错之际，总不忘为第一个将葡萄酿成美酒的人干杯，感谢他发明了葡萄酒，给人们的生活增添了漂亮的点缀。
这里的葡萄生长面积之大，品种之繁盛，让人叹为观止。格鲁吉亚的葡萄种类超过５００，是世界上葡萄品种最多的国家，其中适宜酿酒的有３０多种。最有名的有日卡齐特里、萨别拉维、齐兹卡等。尽管格鲁吉亚在历史上数次遭遇侵略者铁蹄的践踏，然而，这片土地上生长的葡萄，却是野火烧不尽，春风吹又生。 葡萄藤，人们都觉得它很细，其实，格鲁吉亚有些古老的葡萄藤萝，竟然有人脑那么粗。 人们用它来充当修建寺庙大门的材料。竹编的伟丽门扇，工匠们的锦心妙手让人赞叹不已。
格鲁吉亚的葡萄种植 和 酿酒业起源于公元前４０００年末至公元前３０００年初。欧洲闻名的葡萄酒之国法兰西，其葡萄也是来自格鲁吉亚的舶来品呢。考古学家在格鲁吉亚的不少古堡、皇宫的遗址处都发现了深埋地下的大酒桶。此外，还有语言学上的证据呢，英语、法语、德语和俄语中葡萄酒一词都是根据格鲁吉亚语来的。对于本国葡萄的格鲁吉亚源头，许多国家并未刻意遮掩。至今，西欧和中东一些国家的葡萄品种, 还保留了它们原有的格鲁吉亚发音。
格鲁吉亚地扼丝绸之路咽喉, 连接着亚洲和欧洲，商旅船队将这里的葡萄品种, 和美酒佳酿传到了欧洲、亚洲和中东地区。 传说当年亚述人占领任何一个地方，臣服国家都要献上黄金，但格鲁吉亚是唯一的例外, 因為他们可以用红酒代替贡赋。当然，遭外族蹂躏是屈辱的，但格鲁吉亚的葡萄酒享受了与黄金同等的礼遇，这却是不争的事实。 格鲁吉亚红酒的名声在十月革命以前达到了顶点，许多西方国家的大型盛宴, 都以格鲁吉亚葡萄酒来招待最尊贵的客人。在众多国家博览会上，它也屡屡折桂。苏联成立后，格鲁吉亚葡萄酒遭遇了发展中的低潮。原本是世界葡萄种植和酿酒业发展 如火如荼的时期，但格鲁吉亚酒却处于与世隔绝中，笼罩四周的光环，也逐渐黯淡下来。
1921年，该国的葡萄酒曾被禁止出口，世界失去了来自格鲁吉亚的美酒。更令人惋惜的是，风靡当时的社会主义劳动竞赛，将酒匠的注重力从酒品转向了酒产量。不少闻名的酿酒师或是屈从，或是改行，或是远走异国他乡。 苏联时候，格鲁吉亚葡萄酒、白兰地、香槟的产量，占到了全国的１５％。 苏联时期酒品的下降，给格鲁吉亚葡萄酒的声誉造成了毁灭性的打击，也给格鲁吉亚人的意识带来了巨大的冲击。 因为殷红如血的葡萄酒之于格鲁吉亚人，绝对不只是普通的佐餐品，而是民族精神的载体。它的发展，记载了民族的心路历程、代表了他们的人生哲学。
公元４世纪，基督教成为格鲁吉亚的国教。传说中尼诺在格鲁吉亚传教时，她手持的就是用葡萄藤的嫩枝做的十字架。 在格鲁吉亚的宗教仪式中，葡萄酒是贯穿始终的不可或缺的重要道具。 至今，富丽堂皇的教堂内部装饰中，处处可以看见葡萄藤的图案。连格鲁吉亚的文字，也是从藤萝的弯曲缠绕中吸取了灵感。 没有一个民族象格鲁吉亚人那样，献给葡萄和葡萄酒如此众多的诗篇、悠扬的教会歌曲和舞蹈。 据说，两个格鲁吉亚农民见面寒暄，首先谈的是自家的葡萄，然后才是女人孩子和其他家事。对他们来说，最牵肠挂肚的永远是葡萄酒。
陶罐酿酒是格鲁吉亚一种古老的葡萄酒酿造方式，在现代化的酿酒方式的冲击下，因其酿造工艺复杂，产量小已经逐渐被边缘化。为了保护这项传统工艺，格鲁吉亚决定，把陶罐酿造葡萄酒, 申请为联合国教科文组织非物质文化遗产。这种工艺的独特之处，是先将葡萄人工捣碎后，把所有的酿酒材料，包括捣碎出的葡萄汁、葡萄皮、葡萄籽和葡萄梗，放进被称为 “克韦夫利（KVEVRI）” 的特制陶罐中, 然後将陶罐埋入土中，只将口露出地面，每个陶罐容量可达3000-5000升，埋入土中的陶罐可使葡萄汁在14-15度常温下发酵和保存，使葡萄酒在良好状态下保存相当长时间。葡萄在地下自然低温发酵3~4年才能成为葡萄酒，该工艺酿造的葡萄酒浓烈，饱满，含更多的单宁和酚物质，比用木桶发酵更能保持葡萄酒中葡萄的香味。和欧洲葡萄酒相比，卡赫季亚的葡萄酒更有利于人的身体健康。只有用这种工艺酿造的葡萄酒才被称为Nature wine。
Georgia has one of the oldest wine-making traditions in the world and has been called the birthplace of wine (also as "Cradle of Wine"), due to archaeological findings which indicate wine production back to 6000 BC. Due to this fact, Georgians have some of the best wines in the world. Thanks to the ancient tradition of wine production and amazing climate, Georgian wine holds its strong competition with French and Italian. Georgian wines are actually quite famous. It may be true that they are little known in the West, but this definitely does not include some 280 million people in the former Soviet Union where Georgian wines remain a welcomed drink at any dining table.
When wine is aged in a clay vessel, it assumes a completely different taste and properties. Any wine requires filtering and processing. Upon pouring wine into a kvevri (a giant clay jug) it is usual to take a handful of bluish Askaneti soil, wrap it tightly in gossamer and leave it hanging inside the jug for the entire winter. The soil would absorb all harmful substances and waste, leaving the wine crystal clear.
If fully made according to the old Georgian tradition, whole bunches of grapes (with stalks) are run into a satsnakheli, a wooden trough, typically carved a single piece of wood. The grapes are foot-trod, so as not to damage the pips, then the must is run off directly into qvevri. After pressing, the “chacha” (skins, pips, and stalks) are added to the qvevri for the alcoholic fermentation, which may last any 20-40 days, depending on the variety and the quality of the vintage. Once the fermentation is completed and the cap starts to sink, the filled qvevri will be capped with stone or glass lids for the malolactic fermentation; the lids are then sealed hermetically with limestone clay or earth, and left in the ground until spring (typically late March or early April). Then the wine is separated the chacha and run off into another qvevri for another year of aging. The process is similar for red grapes, but the period of skin maceration is shorter: usually one month, rather than four to six.
Qvevri-produced wines have a firm tannic texture across the palate; whites develop aromas of apricots, orange peel, and nuts; the reds become slightly meatier, with a chalkier texture.
This extended maceration through the spring is also known as eastern, or Kakhetian-style winemaking, as it is associated with Kakheti, the eastern province and source of 70 % of all Georgian wine. Imeretian-style winemaking, nodding to the western province, also uses the clay vessel – here called a churi - for both red and white grapes, but the maceration period is limited to roughly one month for both red and white varieties. This style of winemaking originated in the western part of Georgia.
2012 by Ministry of Culture and Monnument protection of Georgia,
从克维乌里酒缸取出酒 - 古代格鲁吉亚人的传统克维乌里酒缸（Qvevri）酒制作方法
Archeological excavations in western Georgia, notably in the ancient Imeretian town of Vani (6th -1st Century B.C.E), have unearthed ancient qvevri among numerous other wine-related artifacts. The exact origin of the qvevri/churi is unknown, but it is the centerpiece to all of Georgian winemaking historically.
Through the ages up until today, all home winemakers in Georgia have made wine in qvevri. During the 20th century, commercial use of qvevri declined as winemaking in this manner is quite labor intensive; they were viewed as inefficient. Today, however, a renewed interest in qvevri has revived this method of production, not just in Georgia, but around the world.
Satsnakheli - a foot-stumping wine press. There are various traditional methods of Satsnakheli winemaking in different parts of Georgia. According to the Kakhetian method, the grapes are first crushed slowly by the feet of a treader. Once most of the juice is released, the treader starts stumping his feet and then diligently presses the grape skins with his heels. He also stirs the grapes with an oar from time to time, allowing the grapes to drain and then “heels” them again. Treading grapes in Satsnakheli requires not only an experience, but also the strength of the knees.
A good amount of juice still remains in the grape skins even after food-stumping them in Satsnakheli. There is another equipment – mechanical grape skin press, that is used for the purpose of extracting the remaining juice from the skins. The equipment has various names including “Sakajavi,” “Sakachavi,” “Sakachveli,” “Tsberi,” “Sastberavi,” “Chakhraki,” and “Kharkhini.”
The very first wine press was probably the human foot and the use of manual treading of grapes is a tradition that has lasted for thousands of years and is still used in some wine regions today.
Grape cultivation, winemaking, and commerce in ancient Egypt c. 1500 BC
Wine is an interwoven part of the Georgian culture. In fact the word ‘wine’ is derived from gvino, the Georgian word for wine. Wine customs are tightly bound to their religious heritage (Christian Orthodox, primarily via the Georgian Orthodox Church) and to everyday life. It is common for families throughout Georgia to grow their own grapes and produce their own wine.
Feasting and hospitality with family, friends and guests are central pillars of Georgian culture. Most formal dinners called supra are in the form of banquets which are presided over by a toastmaster or Tamada, who proposes numerous toasts throughout the meal.
Even today many houses in the country have a wine cellar – the so-called “marani” with a wine-press and underground clay jars. These wine jars are called “kvevris” and their presence is betrayed only by the stone slabs with which they are sealed. Unlike the European way of wine-making which implies the separation of juice from grapes after pressing, Georgians keep juice and grapes together for some time before separating them. This is what gives Georgian wine its special flavor and strength.
Traditional qvevri and winemaking museum
The Mayor of Tbilisi treading grapes at the Tbilisoba – 2013.
workers crushing grapes by foot
Sampling wine out of a qvevri or karas in Armenia 1923
Churchkhela is a traditional sausage-shaped candy originating from Georgia. The main ingredients are grape must, nuts and flour. Almonds, walnuts, hazel nuts and sometimes raisins are threaded onto a string, dipped in thickened grape juice or fruit juices and dried in the shape of a sausage
Churchkhela and its varieties are popular in several countries besides Georgia, such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Greece, Russia, and Turkey. In Armenian, Greek, and Turkish it is known as "sujuk", which is actually a dry sausage. To distinguish the two, it is sometimes referred to as "sweet sujukh" in Armenian and cevizli sucuk ("walnut sujuk") in Turkish. I it is known in Cypriot Greek as soutzoukos and as soutzouki in Greece.[ The Cypriot variety is made by dipping strings of almonds into jelly, called palouzes or moustalevria.
Churchkhela is a home-made Georgian product. Georgians usually make Churchkhela in Autumn when the primary ingredients, grapes and nuts, are harvested. It is a string of walnut halves that have been dipped in grape juice called Tatara or Phelamushi (grape juice thickened with flour), and dried in the sun. No sugar is added to make real Churchkhela. Instead of walnuts sometimes nuts or almonds are used in the regions of west Georgia. The shape of Churchkhela looks like a candle, some people say it looks like a sausage. Georgian warriors carried Churchkhelas with them because they contain many calories. The best Churchkhela is made in Kakheti region that is famous as the motherland of wine.
It is placed in a large bronze cauldron (called chartzin or kazani) and heated slowly. A small amount of a special white earth called asproi is added to the boiling and causes impurities to rise to the surface where they are collected and removed. Once the cleansing process is complete the must is left to cool. Next, flour is added while stirring and heating the mixture. When it gets to the right consistency, judging from the rate of steam bubbles and the fluency of the mixture, it is removed from the heat. The mix is now ready for dipping the almond strings and make soutzoukos.
It is a very popular food, combining two of Georgia’s favorites – grapes and nuts. Made by repeatedly dipping a long string of nuts in concentrated fresh grape juice it is delicious and nutritious and often called the Georgian ‘Snickers’!
Ingredients for 2 churchkhelas:
1 1/2 quarts of white grape juice,
3/4 cup of sugar,
1 cup of flour,
40 walnut halves.