A Wine Region Waiting To Ripen

Yum. I'm at a roadside food market, in the heart of the Georgian wine country, munching on something I have never tasted and can't even pronounce: churchkhela. It's a gummy sweet that looks like a purple sausage, made by stringing walnuts on a thread and dipping the line into a batch of boiled grape skins. And it's just one of many inventive things Georgians do with grapes. The most marvelous, of course, is the making of wine itself, a tradition that archeologists say may go back as far as 7000 BC, thus giving Georgia a claim to having the oldest viticulture in the world.

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