GEORGIA: As discussed elsewhere in my Booklovers' Guide to Wine, Georgia’s border with Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan is the site of the world’s oldest wine making activity. This is where wine has been made and drunk longer than anywhere else in history. Even today, the Neolithic wine-making techniques dating back to Noah are still in use. The vast, underground amphorae called kvevri are still being used to produce wine in the traditional manner.
Through most of the twentieth century, almost all of Georgian wine was exported to the Soviet Union where quality was not a priority and individual wine makers were not incentivized to excel. Switching to the competitive international markets after the 2006 break with President Putin’s Russia, Georgian wine makers are now starting to focus on quality. With 9,000 years of tradition behind it, Georgian wine is ready for a come-back.
ROMANIA: Proud of its Roman wine-producing past, Romania is now the sixth largest wine producer in the European Union. If not yet famous for its quality wines, it is already a best-seller in America’s Sam’s Club with a wide selection of red and white wines at less than $7:00 per bottle.