Pre-Christian Ritual, Symbol and Equipment in Georgian Viticulture-Winemaking

Journal Title: Pro Georgia. Journal of Kartvelological Studies - Year 2016, Vol 0, Issue 26


Georgian traditional winemaking is becoming increasingly popular in the international arena. Besides the ancient technology of winemaking, more that 500 grape varieties are preserved in Georgia. Except alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages there are various traditional grape products. Ancient winemaking-viticulture traditions and related rituals, symbols, folk legends, equipment, terminology etc., are still in use in Georgia. Different equipments and tools for processing and use of grape products are discovered in archaeological sites throughout Georgia. Georgian scholars suggest that not only wine (ghuino, ghini, ginia, ghuino-vino, wine, vein, etc.) but the cult of Bacchus could also be of Georgian origin. Though according to the opposite view wine-vineyard-vine are the variants of a Greek word. The long usage of grape and grape juice processing items in rituals and daily life in Georgia contributed to the emergence of a variety of utensils – for wine storage, tableware and and drinkware. Simplicity of their manufacturing and availability of raw materials determined wide distribution of the inventory until now (pitcher, winepress, drinking vessels, grape portable utensils, gideli, orshimo, khapera, etc.). Drinking vessels are especially notable for their diversity; their manufacturing technology, structure and function defi nitely refl ect their developmental path. From winemaking and wine storage pottery the most unique and famous is qvevri (pitcher). Capacity of qvevri varies from several hundred liters up to several tons. Qvevri, which is now related only with wine was multifunctional in ancient times and it was used even as a burial. Specialists suppose that already in Neolithic era, wine was an integral component of religious cult practices. Wine was considered a sacrifi ce to God. The tradition of making sacramental (zedashe) wine, have been preserved in the life until recently in Georgia. After picking grapes a family made sacramental (zedashe) wine from its part which was kept in a special qvevri and reserved for certain religious holidays. It was drunk only at traditional Georgian feasts //supras during religious ceremonies. Supra is still strictly regulated in Georgia and is always led by a toastmaster //tamada . Certain elements of Georgian supra, as well as ethnographic, folklore, linguistic, historical and archaeological data suggest that the culture of wine infl uenced the people’s way of life throughout centuries and made it the most important constituent of a Georgian man’s life.

Authors and Affiliations

Lavrenti Janiashvili


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  • EP ID EP310252
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How To Cite

Lavrenti Janiashvili (2016). Pre-Christian Ritual, Symbol and Equipment in Georgian Viticulture-Winemaking. Pro Georgia. Journal of Kartvelological Studies, 0(26), 189-198.