When we refer to the classic wine regions it's the established 'old world' countries like France, Italy, and Spain that are considered the starting point for wine. They are firmly established and respected as the reference for almost any wine style, and certainly where most wine courses begin.
However if you zoom out and look at the big picture of winemaking throughout human history these are merely the new kids on the block because before them ancient wine regions have been making wine for thousands of years, and in many cases continue to do so.
The cradle of winemaking is a hotly contested crown but the country most commonly acknowledged to wear this honour is Georgia. There is ample evidence from carbon dating and molecular analysis of ancient pottery to show wine was being made over 8,000 years ago using clay vessels for storage, ageing, and transporting.
The practice spread throughout the Caucasus, as did the planting of Vitis Vinifera vines.
Armenia, Turkey, Greece, Lebanon all have evidence of ancient winemaking from the oldest wine presses ever discovered dotted all around Crete, and fired clay pots with remnants of tartaric acid from grape-based wine discovered in Neolithic villages in Georgia .
Why is this of interest to wine lovers? Instead of looking for the next new thing, the next trend, or next country that can grow grapes,.. isn't it fascinating to revisit those that have been doing it all along? They combine modern technology such as temperature control, stainless steel vessels and more hygienic practices in the winery, but many producers have continued to uphold the traditional winemaking in clay pots like amphora and qvevri, while using their indigenous ancient varieties that are not grown anywhere else in the world. The resulting flavours and aromas are simply astounding; the wines are not only well-made but come with a story, and a history.
On 22nd October members are invited to a virtual tasting to discuss these wines together and delve deeper into the history of winemaking.