Dinner party? I know just the place to buy wine!

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2012

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2012

A multicultural Merry Christmas

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

We all thank Tamaz Jalagania and Nana Imnadze for sharing their homemade Georgian wine.

Before we left Tbilisi, Tamaz and Nana gave us a 2-liter Coke bottle of his brother’s red wine from Kakheti, Georgia. Tamaz wrapped it and wrapped it and wrapped it some more in plastic so it would survive the long journey to Brazil. In order to show our appreciation for their generosity, I gathered the family together and took this photograph before we ate our delicious Christmas dinner.

Missing from the photo is Edith Schisler, the matriarch of the family. The day before Edith was supposed to leave Rutland, Vermont, to fly to Brazil, she slipped on a banana peel in a parking lot, fell, and severely hurt herself. As a result, she missed her family reunion. But we used Skype so that Edith could join us. Edith said the prayers for our Christmas dinner. Everyone cried.

In the photo you can see Edith’s four children: Debora, Susanna, Kennedy, and Millard. In addition, you can see Debora’s husband and their two daughters and one of their daughter’s boyfriends; Susanna and her two sons and one of her son’s girlfriends; Kennedy’s wife and their three children; Millard’s wife and two of their children. I’m taking the photo. Also missing are two of Millard’s children with their spouses and children.

From all of us, to all of you, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

What is going on here?

I have drunk more unbottled wine than bottled wine since I’ve been in Georgia, and I’m guessing the same holds true for most people here. This man is running a plastic hose from his van, through a wooden, street-level, attic-type door, down into a basement restaurant. Through that hose flows the wine customers will enjoy this week.

If you are Georgian, you already know that Georgia is the oldest winemaking region in the world. Its wine tradition goes back 8,000 years, and more than 500 types of grapes are grown here. You probably also know that Russia stopped importing Georgian wine in 2006, for political reasons, and Georgia’s economy has probably lost $30-40 million because of the ban.

What you may not know is that Russia’s problem with alcoholism may, ironically, cause Russia to lift the ban. Why is high alcoholism related to high wine imports? Because at the end of September, Russia will forbid the sale of beverages with an alcohol content above 15 percent between 10:00 pm. and 10:00 a.m. That’s 12 hours without vodka, and 12 hours when wine and beer might become Russian’s favorite beverages. “Russia will allow importing our [Georgian] wines on equal terms with European and American products,” said Gennady Onishchenko, Russian public health chief (http://eastbook.eu/en/2011/08/topic-en/politics-en/georgia-30-08-2011-georgian-wine-back-in-russia/).