Winemaking is practiced throughout Georgia, particularly in village communities where unique varieties of grapes are grown. The knowledge of wine-making traditions is passed down by families, neighbors and relatives. Each year, all of them join the communal harvest and winemaking activities in the autumn period.
Most of the Georgian people produce wine or have at least access to their own family's wine vintage. Wine has always been the main topic in Georgia for the last 8,000 years. This is why I would like to show you how the daily life of a winemaker looks like in Georgia.
Aneli is a strong Kakhetian woman
And so I meet Aneli, a Kakhetian woman who lives in Vazisubani with her family, her son and her grandchildren. She loves to live in this village, to spend her time there together with her family and of course to work hard and to produce amazing wines.
I have spent the whole day with her: I watched her working in the field, sewing, washing, cooking and mowing. It is hard to imagine but all of these activities are done by one single woman. She hardly has some free time to sit down, because taking care of the house and the yard is definitely not an easy job, as there is always something to do or to fix.
I should admit, it is a special advantage of living in the countryside. You have fresh air, organic greens, delicious fruits, food and friendly neighbors living just 10 meters away. It is almost impossible to get bored here, as they often go to each other’s houses, drinking coffee is a special moment and if it’s an autumn time or some anniversary or celebration it is always about wine and Chacha and of course Kakhetian cuisine which is very unique.
From the grapes to Machari
I got interested in her winemaking process. As you know every family her is own secret way of making it. After harvesting grapes, the first thing you need big crockery to put there all the harvested grapes. Then you need to stir it from time to time. After several weeks of boiling, you can already taste Machari, which is a sweet juice, this is a juice before becoming a wine, which taste is very sweet and delicious. After all these procedures are done, she starts to wring out the grapes and put all the juice which, is already a wine, in a bottle.
In the end, a very interesting part is to visit the neighbors and to taste their wines. Usually, there is always a competition between the families, because each wine is special and needs to be delicious. Tip: Every time you try it you need to say that this is the best wine you have ever tried, as this act is a greeting of their labor and the way to say thank you.
Aneli does not only produce wine. There is much more work to do if you have your own country house. My morning starts at 8 am, usually with feeding the animals», Aneli explains. She has chickens, rabbits, cows and a dog. The yard and the house take a lot of time because every time you need to clean it or plough it. «I have my own greens in the yard which need good care, watering or fertilizing,» Aneli says. Later she has to prepare dinner for her family.
And she explains that she doesn't like food-waste: «I never throw away any kind of food. I don’t like it and I try to think about how to make it profitable. For example, if the fruits are too old to eat, I collect them and hang them outside in the fresh air to dry them.» Her grandchildren adore those dried fruits, Aneli continues. When you are living in the countryside, all the income you have is mostly coming from your yard. This is why it doesn't make sense at all to throw away any food.
To live in a small village also means to share a lot. The neighbors are not just neighbors as it is in the city. They are very important people and after a certain time, they become family members. That’s an important reason why Aneli prefers to live in the countryside. «It's a hard job, but I’m used to it and I cannot imagine living another life», Aneli says.
Text and photos: Mariam Meladze, MyCaucasus Travel