The Velvet Season

12 September 2011 at 08:51 19 comments

“You are lucky,” my taxi driver tells me. “You have arrived in the best time in Georgia!”

After two weeks here in Tbilisi, I have to agree. September to November brings The Velvet Season; when the sun is no longer scorching hot, but still warm enough to enjoy swimming, local parks and outdoor cafes without the huge summer crowds. Georgia is blessed with abundant crops of the season; apples, berries, peaches, plums, tomatoes, and of course, grapes. Did you know that Georgia claims to be the oldest wine producing region in the world? With over 500 indigenous grape varieties, wine and wine making are a huge part of Georgia’s unique culture.

Ready for the harvest!

Peak of perfection

Churchkhela- almonds and hazelnuts hand-dipped in grape must. Yum!

Chilled watermelon

Tbilisi's sulfur baths and garden

Check out Kevin Mihelic, KF12’s excellent post on Georgia’s recent economic and political struggles. The government has been working hard to attract foreign investment and progress is evident in the construction of modern buildings and upgraded services all over Tbilisi, however around 30% of all Georgian’s are living below the poverty line and much of the agriculture in Georgia is limited to subsistence farming. With approximately 55% of Georgia’s labor force working in agriculture, I was happy to learn that Kiva’s lending partner Credo has some innovative products for rural borrowers, including crop insurance loans at a ZERO percent interest rate.

A farm house near the Russian border

Georgia has yet a long way to go to stabilize its economy, but even in the aftermath of the 2008 conflict with Russia and the global financial crisis, conditions in Georgia are slowly improving. Corruption is a thing of the past. Clean water systems and electricity (at least in the capital city of Tbilisi) have been modernized. My taxi driver friend was right- I am lucky to be here at this time. Come November, the icy winter winds may blow, but I hope The Velvet Season, and a time of warm growth, continues in Georgia for a long time to come.
Fishing on the Mtkvari river

Fishing on the Mtkvari river

DJ Forza is a Kiva Fellow working with Credo in Tbilisi, Georgia. To learn more, please visit Credo’s partner page, join the Georgia lending team, and keep an eye out for Georgian loans on Kiva.org.

Entry filed under: blogsherpa, Eastern Europe & Central Asia (EECA), KF16 (Kiva Fellows 16th Class). Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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19 Comments

  • [...] The Velvet Season [...]

  • 2. Grace Thomas  |  22 January 2012 at 21:25

    I Like Your Blog About The Velvet Season.I Am Very Happy To Read Of Your Blog.Really Great Post.Its brilliant.

    Thanks.

  • 3. Rezo  |  6 December 2011 at 04:27

    Nice report!

    As for wine, sure we claim that we are first!
    First ever wine “inputs” are found in Georgia dating 8,000 years back from now in Marneuli district.
    Out of 3 known wine producing methods in the world, 2 is Georgian, and what is more important, can you imagine ordinary Georgian’s life withowt wine? And do you know how much we consume? Don’t trust that French and Italians consume more then any. They just count bottles sold. Georgians don’t buy wine in bottles. We drink only homemade wines, and in regions they are produced in “Kvevri”. (huge underground vessels).
    Since Georgians never migrated anywhere or did not come here from any other place (caucasus is our homeland), then our claim is justified. (I will not go deep into archeology and linguistics).

    Like you DJ!!!

  • 4. Second Chances (Part 2) | Project Chime  |  30 November 2011 at 02:05

    [...] The Velvet Season [...]

  • 5. Second Chances (Part 1) | Project Chime  |  25 November 2011 at 03:52

    [...] The Velvet Season [...]

  • 6. Second Chances (Part 1) « Kiva Stories from the Field  |  24 November 2011 at 05:15

    [...] The Velvet Season [...]

  • 7. Trust But Verify | Project Chime  |  4 October 2011 at 23:54

    [...] training at one of Credo’s newest branch offices. Not only did we leave behind the verdant landscape, there were no charming cobblestone streets or European architecture to be found. Instead, we [...]

  • 8. Trust But Verify « Kiva Stories from the Field  |  4 October 2011 at 08:28

    [...] a Kiva training at one of Credo’s newest branch offices. Not only did we leave behind the verdant landscape, there were no charming cobblestone streets or European architecture to be found. Instead, we [...]

  • [...] The Velvet Season Country: Georgia / Fellow: DJ Forza (KF16) DJ is lucky to arrive in Georgia during the harvest season. [...]

  • 10. Antoine S. Terjanian  |  15 September 2011 at 22:29

    DJ, beautiful story and great photos. Thank you for sharing these.
    Please convey my greetings to our sisters and brothers in Georgia. They do make wonderful wine and are wonderful people.
    We did discover recently near my house in Armenia the “Oldest wine press” ever found on earth so far. see: http://www.armenianweekly.com/2011/01/11/at-6000-years-old-wine-press-is-oldest-yet-found/
    Perhaps when Noah descended Mount Ararat into Armenia and made wine, he told our Georgian friends that they can claim him as one of theirs :-)
    Keep-up the good work DJ. I know, that like in Armenia, rural folks are suffering in Georgia. Come and visit us in Armenia sometime.
    Best wishes
    AST

    • 11. DJ Forza  |  16 September 2011 at 04:13

      Thank you, Antoine. I do hope to visit Armenia soon- I hear it is very beautiful!

      Cheers,
      DJ

  • 12. Max  |  13 September 2011 at 11:18

    Great post, DJ. Wonderful photos!

    • 13. DJ Forza  |  14 September 2011 at 04:32

      Thanks, Max!

  • 14. Nino  |  13 September 2011 at 04:48

    Thanks DJ, it is informative and beautiful photos

    • 15. DJ Forza  |  14 September 2011 at 04:31

      Thank you, Nino! :)

  • 16. Lauren Barra  |  12 September 2011 at 10:25

    Wow, DJ…these pictures are gorgeous!

    • 17. DJ Forza  |  13 September 2011 at 03:03

      Thanks, Lauren!

  • 18. JD Bergeron (@jdbergeron)  |  12 September 2011 at 09:35

    Thanks for the beautiful photos, DJ!

    • 19. DJ Forza  |  13 September 2011 at 03:04

      Glad you like them, JD!


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