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Monday, October 31, 2016

"Forbes" on 'ancient winemaker' Georgia (and Lebanon)

Photo: AUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages
31.10.2016 (Hvino News). Today the leading U.S. business magazine Forbes published a small article focusing on Georgian wine.

The piece "'Ancient' Winemakers Georgia And Lebanon Grow Exports Into China's Thirsty Market" is by Jeannie Cho Lee MW, who is the first Asian Master of Wine.

The article is illustrated by photo of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili with current U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Almost the whole of the article is devoted to Georgian wines:
"When Hugh Johnson, the inimitable British wine writer, coined the terms “old world” and “new world” to refer to wines from traditional European regions versus former European colonies, he left out the birthplace of wine: the ancient world. How else should we classify wine producing countries like Georgia, Lebanon, Armenia and Israel that are a few thousand years older than the “old world”? 
Georgia boasts itself as the “cradle of wine civilization” with winemaking culture going back over 6,000 years, several thousand years before the first vines were cultivated in Bordeaux, Tuscany or Rioja. The wines from Georgia were favorites of the former Soviet Union’s power elite because of the quality and history of the wines, especially from the region of Kakheti. But a ban on Georgian wines by Russia from 2006 until 2013 meant the industry was forced to look for alternative export markets.
As a result, Georgian wines have made substantial inroads into China – the Georgian agriculture minister said a free trade agreement to be signed in December this year will be hugely beneficial for both the Chinese and Georgian wine industries. According to China Daily, Levan Davitashvili, Georgia’s Minister of Agriculture, said 5 million bottles of Georgian wine were exported to China in 2015. They are likely expecting that number to double in a few years after the free trade agreement comes into effect. 
While Kakheti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kverno Svaneti are difficult Georgian regional names to remember, the full bodied, gutsy red wines from the Saperavi variety blends are finding a market in China. I recently tasted over twenty Georgian wines and was very impressed with the red wines. Some were modern and juicy with a touch of savory herbs in wines like Teliani Valley’s 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon and Saperavi blend. While others were more earthy and tannic, made in the traditional style."
In the last paragraph the author briefly mentions the wines from Lebanon: "Another ancient wine region that has captured the hearts of wine lovers since the 1980s is Chateau Musar from Lebanon".

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