The republic of Georgia sits in the shadow of the Caucasus mountains, bridging east and west. No other country in the world has 8,000 years of documented wine consumption, and no other country has such an unbroken tradition of making wine in the buried clay vessels known as qvevri – a tradition that we know is at least 6,000 years old.
What does this unique country, with its own peculiar language, script and culture, have to offer modern wine lovers?
We’ll start by covering Georgia’s turbulent history, as it emerged from the iron grasp of the USSR in 1991 and joined the modern world. Even though it continued to supply Russia’s favoured semi-sweet wines, it’s Georgia’s ancestral winemaking tradition of making wine in qvevri that has turned out to be its USP in the 21st century.
We’ll talk about the qvevri winemaking technique, and the extraordinary “amber wine” style which results when white grapes are used. Georgia is truly the birthplace of orange wine, as we now know it. We’ll cover Georgia’s unusual grape varieties, almost none of which have travelled further than its neighbours. Ever heard of Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane or Chitishtvala?
Georgia has also adopted western winemaking techniques, and we’ll talk a bit about the differences between Georgia’s modern winemaking and its ancestral styles.
No discussion of Georgian wine is complete without some consideration of its cuisine, and some thoughts about how you can best serve and enjoy Georgian wines at home.
Simon J Woolf is an award-winning English wine and drinks writer, currently based in The Netherlands.
An acknowledged expect on the developing niche of natural wine, he contributes regularly to Decanter magazine, Meininger’s Wine Business International, World of Fine Wine and Noble Rot, and many other publications. Simon is the editor of The Morning Claret, an online wine magazine which specialises in natural, biodynamic, organic and orange wine.
Simon's first book "Amber Revolution - How the world learned to love orange wine" was published in 2018, and won the Roederer Wine book of the year award in 2019. Simon has also won numerous awards for his magazine features and online columns. He is currently shortlisted for a Roederer interntional wine columnist award in 2020.
Simon travels regularly to countries such as Georgia, Slovenia, Italy and Portugal, where he continues to research the stories and traditions behind artisan winemaking.
Simon is also active as an editor, wine judge and translator.
WSG members enjoy a discount on Simon's book "Amber Revolution"! Get your coupon code HERE
Join Decanter Magazine journalist Richard Baudains for an insider look at the skin-contact white wines of Friuli.
The orange wines of Friuli have become one of the iconic wine styles produced in the region.
In this webinar, Richard Baudains will explore the various maceration process protocols adopted in Friuli as well as the most suitable grape varieties used for this style. Richard will also discuss the profile of the wines and some of the principal orange wine producers of Friuli.
Richard Baudains was born and bred on the island of Jersey, a corner of the British Isles with French origins, hence the French surname. He studied literature and trained to be a teacher of English as a foreign language to satisfy a wanderlust which eventually brought him to Italy, where he has resided for the past 30 years. He wrote his first article for Decanter Magazine in 1989 and has been a regular contributor on Italian wine ever since. He is the Regional Chair for the Veneto at the Decanter World Wine Awards, an occasional taster on the jury at the Concours Mondial du Sauvignon Blanc, a member of the team of the Slow Wine Guide for Friuli-Venezia Giulia and lecturer in wine journalism at Slow Food’s Università delle Scienze Gastronomiche. He lives in Gorizia and in his day job he directs a language school.
Advances in the cellars coupled with better vineyard management and Friuli’s natural gift of a temperate climate, resulted in concentrated wines with an extra layer of richness. From the 1970s onward, Friuli gained commercial success and popularity for its white wines.