Announcing the First Ghvino Forum: To Advance the Understanding of the Origin and Evolution of Wine Culture

Press Release ( - NEW YORK - Oct 23, 2018 - ​From Sunday, Nov. 11 to Tuesday, Nov. 13, the first Ghvino Forum — a series of events created to further advance the understanding of the 8,000-year-old origin of wine — will be hosted in Washington, DC. The Forum will also examine wine’s influence on society and geopolitics in Georgia, the Caucasus region, and the rest of the world. “Ghvino” is the Georgian word for “wine,” and is widely thought to be the origin of the term. Organized by the America Georgia Business Council, events include a Saperavi “Festival” at the Embassy of Georgia, a walk-around Georgian wine tasting at Supra (one of the foremost Georgian restaurants in the United States), and a one-day conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

In November 2017, the Gadachrili Gora Regional Archaeological Project Expedition (GRAPE) — a joint undertaking between the University of Toronto and the Georgian National Museum — announced evidence dating Georgian winemaking to the Neolithic period, establishing scientific proof for more than 8,000 vintages in the country. A conclusive report confirming Georgia as the origin of wine as authored by Patrick McGovern and others from the multidisciplinary team, stated: “The earliest biomolecular archaeological and archaeobotanical evidence for grape wine and viniculture from the Near East, ca. 6,000–5,800 BC during the early Neolithic Period, was obtained by applying state-of-the-art archaeological, archaeobotanical, climatic, and chemical methods to newly excavated materials from two sites in Georgia in the South Caucasus.”

“We have an uninterrupted history of wine in Georgia dating back 8,000 years with clay jars found in the Neolithic period similar to the vessels we still use today,” says professor David Lordkipanidze, Director of the Georgian National Museum. “Wine is, and always has been, our identity.”

The forum is in response to the growing interest of American consumers in both the beginning of wine culture and how the ancient tradition of using Georgian “qvevri” giant, hand-made clay vessels buried in the earth to make wine — were used through the ages and continue to flourish today, connecting the past with the present.

“Georgia is not only the birthplace of wine, it is also a place with exceptional varietal distinctiveness which is now combined with the elegance of modern-day winemaking,” says Mamuka Tsereteli, President, America-Georgia Business Council and scholar of geopolitics of Black Sea-Caspian region.

In September 2018 alone, qvevri winemaking was written about in The Washington PostThe Los Angeles Times, Food & Wine Magazine, and Condé Nast Traveler, among many other outlets. In 2013, qvevri winemaking was added to the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity; in July 2017, Georgia was the topic for the inaugural opening exhibit in Bordeaux’s stunning wine museum, the Cité du Vin. 


Nov. 11 (Sunday); 5:00-8:00 pm

Embassy of Georgia (1824 R Street NW, Washington, DC)

Join Vino Forum speakers and attendees at the Embassy of Georgia to enjoy a variety of Saperavi wines and meet some of Georgia’s top winemakers. Saperavi (pronounced: sah-per-ah-vee) is a red wine grape indigenous to Georgia and is one of only 13 grape varieties in the world that has both red skin and red flesh. Saperavi wines have deep fruit character and brisk acidity, and often flavors of dark berries, licorice, grilled meat, tobacco, chocolate, and spices.

Nov. 12 (Monday)

12:00 noon-1:30 pm, open to licensed trade and credentialed media only
1:30-3:00 pm, open to the public
SUPRA (1205 11th Street NW, Washington, DC)

The trade and media portion will include lunch, as well as a blind tasting contest involving Georgian varietals vinified in qvevri, stainless steel, and oak, competing to win a trip to Georgia in 2019. With more than 8 centuries of continuous winemaking, Georgia — a country the size of West Virginia — is home today to 400 commercial wineries as well as more than 100,000 family wineries, embracing both traditional and modern winemaking methods.

CONFERENCE: “Wine, Society, and Geopolitics: How History, Political Economy, and Wine Intersect in the Caucasus and Beyond”
Nov. 13 (Tuesday)

9:00 am-4:00 pm
Center for Strategic and International Studies (1616 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Washington, DC)

As a primary driver of Georgia’s burgeoning tourism industry (representing 18 percent of Georgia’s GDP in 2017), wine has been crucial to the internal development of Georgia’s trading, financial, and legal infrastructure. Panels will explore how wine production evolved in Georgia and the Caucasus and transformed Georgia’s economy; the geopolitical consequences of a new wave of trade liberalization and foreign investment for the Caucasus; and the dynamics of local and global economies of wine, their politics and prospects. Attendees may attend one panel, two, or all three.

This event series is organized by the America Georgia Business Council (AGBG), with support from the National Wine Agency of the Georgian Department of Agriculture, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Embassy of Georgia to the United States of America.

Home to more than 520 indigenous grape varieties, Georgia is being transformed from an ancient cottage industry into an artisanal powerhouse, with winemakers producing some of the world’s most unique and distinctive fine wines using both qvevri and European winemaking methods.


Interviews and hi-res imagery available upon request.

Media Contact
Christine Deussen
Deussen Global Communications, Inc.
28 West 27th Street, Suite 2A
New York, NY 10001
Tel. 917-545-1459

Trade Contact
Julie Peterson
Wines of Georgia – U.S. Office
1025 Thomas Jefferson St. NW, Suite 420 East
Washington, DC  20007
Tel. 202-499-4263

Source : America Georgia Business Council

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