The Georgian Table
What is the first sign you've arrived in Georgia? In our case it's when Michael Zilber answers the door to a woman holding a petrol can. It's for our generator, he assumes. An hour later Denise Rocco unscrews the cap to top off our back-up power supply and detects an odd smell. She stops just in time before filling the generator tank with delicious, home pressed Sameba wine. A gift from our landlady, 20 liters worth. She wants us to feel at home. Most families in Georgia like to produce their own wine, and standards are high.
In its Soviet period (1921-1990) Georgia boasted over 100 brands of wine, not to mention brandy and champagne. Today that wine is still being produced, though not as much is being exported -- where it all ends up is at the Georgian table. Walking up a hill in Tbilisi's Vake district toward our inaugural "supra" -- a feast with the table-cloth literally "covered" with food -- one senses again all the strands of Georgian culture pulling together towards its center.