It’s October in Georgia, and with elections out of the way everyone’s mind can turn back to what fall is really all about: wine!
Georgia considers itself “the cradle of wine” (although recent archaeological evidence from Armenia throws that into question), and as such, winemaking is an idyllic, romanticized aspect of Georgian culture. The wine harvest and its attendant feasts were a common subject for primitivist painter Niko Pirosmani, who was born in Kakheti, the winemaking center of Georgia.
The traditional harvest is also depicted in the opening of Otar Iosseliani’s 1966 film “Giorgobistve,” to create contrast with the petty bureaucracy of the Soviet wine industry that later drives the plot. The title is commonly translated as “Falling Leaves,” although Giorgobistve is actually the archaic Georgian word for October, deriving from Giogoba (the festival of St. George held every October) and tve, meaning month.
Some seasonal Georgian words and phrases!
ღვინო (ghvino): wine
ყანწი (qantsi): drinking horn
ყურძენი (qurdzeni): grapes
ქვევრი (kvevri): wine vat (often buried)
დოქი (doki): jug, pitcher
სადღეგრძელო (sadghegrdzelo): a toast
თამადა (tamada): toastmaster at a traditional Georgian feast
ჩვენს მშობლებს გაუმარჯოს (chvens mshoblebs gaumarjos): “let our parents be victorious;” often the opening toast at a feast
ჩვენი დედ-მამის შვილებს გაუმარჯოს (chveni ded-mamis shvilebs gaumarjos): “let the children of our parents [this generation] be victorious”
ჩვენს შვილებს გაუმარჯოს (chvens shvilebs gaumarjos): “let our children be victorious”
მასპინძლებს გაუმარჯოს (maspindzlebs gaumarjos): “let our hosts be victorious;” a toast offered to those hosting the party/feast
თამადას გაუმარჯოს (tamadas gaumarjos): “let the tamada (toastmaster) be victorious;” usually offered as a concluding toast at the end of a feast