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Movies: Georgian Wines Take Center Stage in “Our Blood Is Wine”

Attendees at the "Our Blood is Wine" event at the Laemmle Monica Film Center in Santa Monica on March 9, 2018, from left to right: Chris Terrell, Terrell Imports; Ramaz Nikoladze of Ramaz Nikoladze's Wine Cellar; Emily Railsback, the film's director/editor/cinematographer; Jeremy Quinn, award-winning sommelier featured in the film; John Wurdeman of Pheasant's Tears Wines; John Okruashvili from Okro's Wines; Iago Bitarishvili of Iago's Wine; and Carla Capalbo, author of "Tasting Georgia." Photo courtesy Christine Deussen.

By Jenny Peters

Quick, can you point out Georgia on a map? And if you pointed to the Peach State in the southeastern United States, that wouldn’t be the place we mean. Instead, we’re talking about the country called Georgia, the one located on the Black Sea at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. It’s a place that was once under Soviet domination and is now an independent country, and one that is in the spotlight right now because of a new documentary called “Our Blood Is Wine.”

Georgia is home to more than 520 indigenous grape varieties and is universally recognized as the birthplace of domesticated wine, with a history dating back to 6,000 B.C. (the Neolithic Era); in fact, in 2013, UNESCO added the ancient winemaking system of using buried clay Qvevris to their list as one of the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage items.

With a fascination about this history, “Our Blood Is Wine” filmmaker Emily Railsback and sommelier/wine expert Jeremy Quinn set out to explore how wine is made in Georgia, traveling extensively across the country to document the process. The result is a fascinating glimpse into the traditional methods and an intimate look at some of Georgia’s most interesting winemakers working today.

The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival; recently, Railsback, Quinn and six of the winemakers featured in the movie – Iago Bitarishvili of Iago’s Wine, John Okruashvili of Okro’s Wines, John Wurdeman from Pheasant’s Tears, Mariam Iosebidze of Mariam Iosebidze and Ramaz Nikoladze of Ramaz Nikoladze’s Wine Cellar – have been on a United States tour, presenting the film, followed by wine tastings. In Los Angeles on March 9, 2018, they began the seven-city tour at the Laemmle Monica Film Center in Santa Monica; after tasting the widely ranging wines (from sweet to dry, white to red), the filmmakers and their stars celebrated at Michael’s restaurant in Santa Monica.

Celebrating the release of the “Our Blood is Wine” documentary at Michael’s restaurant in Santa Monica on March 9, 2018. Photo courtesy Christine Deussen.

“We had no money to make this film,” Railsback admits. “That’s why we shot it all on an I-Phone,” a fact that the viewer doesn’t notice as the intimate, personalized story plays out on the screen. The film, which they have taken to cities across the country (including San Francisco, Portland, Washington, D.C. and New York, is distributed by Music Box Films and releases March 20, 2018, on VOD platforms including iTunes, YouTube and Google Play, and on DVD March 22.

Some of the wines from Georgia poured at the “Our Blood is Wine” post-screening wine tasting at the Laemmle Monica Film Center in Santa Monica on March 9, 2018. Photo courtesy Christine Deussen.

If you love wine and wine history, check this one out; its like no other wine story you’ve ever seen, we guarantee it. And once you’ve learned more about Georgia and its ancient winemaking techniques, go to the Wines of Georgia to find out more.

Follow Jenny Peters on Twitter @jennpeters and on Instagram @jetsetjen1

About Jenny Peters (163 Articles)
Jet Set Jen is the brainchild of Jenny Peters, a longtime freelance journalist whose career has spanned everything considered "Lifestyle" reporting, from movies and celebrities to fashion and fast cars, with plenty of food, wine and travel thrown in too. She currently contributes regularly to USA Today's 10Best.com, AARP.org, New York Magazine, Coast Magazine, Bask Magazine and numerous other newspapers, magazines and websites worldwide. She is a founding and voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (www.criticschoice.com), which annually honors the year's top films with the Critics' Choice Awards. Jenny and her crack cadre of reporters at Jet Set Jen offer up opinions, suggestions and insider scoops on the best that the world has to offer, to keep you on the cutting edge of that ever elusive pursuit of life, liberty, happiness – and fun, fun, fun.