Wine, Song and Dance from the Republic of Georgia

Posted by: KirstenNieman in: Food/Beverage -

LANE had the pleasure of hosting Pheasant’s Tears winemaker, John Wurdeman and the entire Zedashe Ensemble last week. During their short stop in Portland, John and the Zedashe group introduced us to their long history of wine making, as well as Georgia’s rich and vibrant culture.

2010-zedashe-ensemble-005The Georgian wine region has been cultivating vines and making wine for more than 7,000 years. With a long tradition of home produced wine, it is estimated that nearly 75% of Georgians derive a portion of their income from wine in some way, making it an instrumental element in Georgia’s modern day culture. We were lucky enough to sample wines from three of Georgia’s finest wineries, Bagrationi 1882, Pheasant’s Tears and Telavi Wine Cellar.

We also learned that Georgia produces more than 400,000 cases of wine annually and that 407,296 bottles were imported to the U.S. in 2009. Currently, Georgia is blending Georgian wine traditions with modern technologies and is investing heavily in its wine quality. Additionally, the Georgian Wine Association was formed in May, 2010 and its goal is to increase sales of wines currently distributed in the U.S. as well as introduce new wines to U.S. distributors.

2010-zedashe-ensemble-020We also had the opportunity to watch the Zedashe Ensemble perform. They present concerts of dance and traditional Georgian music and feature an ancient three-part harmony unique to the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia. Their songs reflect rituals from grape harvesting to hymns from Georgian Orthodox service – what a treat it was to see them perform.

A special thanks to the entire Zedashe Ensemble and John Wurdeman for sharing Georgia’s colorful culture with us. We learned incredible things from their visit and are so thankful for our time with together!

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