a self-absorbed travelogue

Chapter 15: In which I participate in wine making.

Wine is an important component of Georgian culture, and they are very proud of their traditions of wine making.  Though not everyone makes their own wine, it is extremely common.  Before I moved from my old apartment, I had the opportunity to help my landlord make wine.

Step 1:  Harvesting the Grapes

Grapes on the vine.

My landlord harvesting.

A small portion of the full harvest.

Step 2: Crushing the Grapes

Nic adding the grapes to the crushing device.

Nic crushing away

Here’s a new treat.  I have now uploaded and successfully embeded my first YouTube video.  Welcome to the 21st century, Mr. Hughes.

I have no idea what the face is all about.

On the left are the grapes we just crushed. On the right is a batch harvested earlier in the year.

Step 3: Stirring the Mixture

First, water is added to the grapes.

Next, the new mixture is stirred.

The mixture begins fermentation immediately.  Over the next several weeks and months, the mixture must be stirred regularly to encourage and support the fermentation process.

Stirring the crushed remnants of yesteryear.

It is important to reincorporate the skins which have worked their way to the surface.

You can actually hear the fermentation process happening.

Once it has reached the appropriate age (what that age is depends on the vinter), the mixture undergoes a series of straining and “treatment” phases aimed at producing the type of wine the producer desires.  The final dregs of the mixture are then used to produce Georgia’s infamous cha-cha.

Step 4: Cook mstsvadi

Now, wine making in Georgia does not end with the actual making of wine.  It ends where almost everything does in Georgia, at the supra table.  Our landlord decided to treat us to mtsvadi (Russian: shaslik; Americanese: shish kabobs) which are produced by placing meat on skewers and cooking them over hot embers.

Preparations begin. We decided to place the fire right next to a very large gas pipe. By we, I mean our landlord. Note how far away I am when taking this picture.

I love fire pictures.

Once the fire has died down a bit, grape vines from the days harvest are put on top. This adds a distinctive flavor and unifies the eating with the days work.

Once the embers look like this, its time to place the meat and start cooking.

Step 5: Drink excess wine

Supra-ing after a hard days work.

There you have it.  My first Georgian wine making experience. I enjoyed the process, and anything that ends with food, wine and good company is alright in my book.  Now if only I could get someone to teach me to make cha-cha…

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One response

  1. Katherine Love

    Well done

    March 16, 2011 at 16:48

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