The title of being the birthplace of wine is a contested one, with Georgia, Armenia, Turkey and even Azerbaijan all vying for it. But now Georgia can at least claim that it is officially the "cradle of wine."
As the all-things-Georgian-wine blog Hvino News reports, the European Union has just awarded Georgia the exclusive right to sell wine within its territory with the tagline "Georgia - the Cradle of Wine." From Hvino's dispatch:
According to "Sakstat" (Georgia's statistical institution), until 2011 this brand has belonged to a British company. The new registration allows Georgia to ban any other company using the name without permission. Use of the brand "Cradle of Wine" is supposed to help promote Georgia as the oldest wine-producing country.
But even before Georgians had a chance to raise a celebratory glass, the Financial Times weighed in on the question of Tbilisi's plan to label every bottle of wine with the now exclusive slogan, calling the victory in Brussels a "mixed blessing":
Emphasising its rich heritage is the obvious way for Georgian wine to make its mark in a highly competitive global market. But some consumers may more readily associate cradles with babies or bottle racks than the history of the Alazani Valley.
This slogan may need more time to ripen.
Georgia has certainly been clever at other times when it comes to marketing its wine. When President Mikhail Saakashvili went to a 2006 summit meeting of the GUAM group of countries -- Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova -- in Kiev, soon after Russia had initiated a boycott on his country's wine, Tbilisi arranged for billboards to be put up in the Ukrainian capital which promoted Georgian wine as "containing more freedom than allowed" and as the wine "prohibited in Russia."
Meanwhile, for your viewing pleasure, below is a "Cradle of Wine" promotional film made by the Georgian government, which lets the viewer know that, along with wine, Georgia is also the birthplace of "singing, toasting and merrymaking":