The republic of wine: Georgia’s epic love affair with the fermented grape Comments Off on The republic of wine: Georgia’s epic love affair with the fermented grape 57,591

Approximately 8,000 years ago somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Georgia (the country, not the state), some guys decided to try storing their wild grape juice for the winter by putting in a clay vessel and burying it in a pit.

When they dug it out in the spring, they had a bit of a surprise.

“Hey… Umm…  You know this grape juice we buried underground all winter?”

“Yeah…”

“Well, it’s not really grape juice anymore.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, it’s different. Hard to explain. Try it… pretty good actually.”

“Hot damn, that is good. Pour me another glass.”

(Legend has it a couple of hours later they were singing songs off-key, falling over and mumbling, “I never say it… but you know you’re my best friend, right?” However, history is a little fuzzy on those details.)

We may not know the exact words that were uttered when it was discovered, but the point is that ever since a grape juice storage fail turned into a wine-making win, viticulture has been a very, very big deal in Georgia.

In the Kvemo Kartli region (just south of Tbilisi) archeologists discovered several grape seeds in a ruined ancient house that date back to the 6th millennium BC.

This, as well as other archaeological findings, is the evidence that Georgia has the oldest winemaking tradition in the world.  The method of making wine in the traditional clay vessels was added to UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013, along with other age-old traditions such as the Carnival of Oruro in Bolivia and Chinese shadow puppetry.

In the National Museum of Georgia in Tbilisi, you can see one of the ancient ceramic vessels that were used for wine production – known as a qvevri. The crushed grapes are placed in these enormous egg-shaped containers along with the skin and seeds.

The vessels can be up to three meters deep and can hold up to 1,300 bottles of wine each. The most well-known red is called Saperavi, which is bold and fruity with notes of pine and wild berries. Seriously, it’s damn good.

The History of Wine in Georgia

An eight thousand year winemaking tradition is pretty impressive.

To put this into perspective – we are talking about the Neolithic Age (back when people were eating the Paleo Diet before it was trendy). This happened before Egyptian mummies and before the Minoan culture began on Crete. Even writing was only invented 5,200 years ago (maybe once we invented wine we were too drunk to bother writing stuff down?).

Georgian wine is about 5,000 years older than Stonehenge. Mammoths were still around (and would be around for another 5,500 years) when the early Georgians were getting sloshed on those first bold, juicy reds.

In Georgian pagan mythology, wine had a powerful mystical meaning. In the folk tales,  Aguna is the patron saint of viticulture and ritual sacrifices were performed (in fact, they still are). As Christianity spread, wine became considered the “Blood of the Savior” and so wine and vineyards became even more important. Georgians thought of wine as the holiest drink and they would often sacrifice it to the saints.

These days, wine is just as popular as ever and it’s big business. As you stroll down the streets of the Old City in Tbilisi almost every other building is a wine shop or a tourist agency advertising tasting tours to the vineyards in the nearby countryside. Even the popular local candy churchkhela is made with grape must, a byproduct of the wine industry. A sign I saw the other day outside a local restaurant said, “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy wine and that’s almost the same thing.”

Where to Sip Georgian Wine During Your Visit

Georgians are legendary for their hospitality. In Georgian culture a visitor is considered a “Gift from God” and large feasts called “Supras” where everyone is welcome are central pillars of the culture. These sumptuous banquets are presided over by a toastmaster called the Tamada, who always ensures that the wine keeps flowing. Many Georgian families will make their own homemade wine and serve it to guests. So, while you are in Georgia do your best to get invited to a Supra.

If you don’t have a chance to attend a Supra, here are some other great places where you can taste Georgian wine during your visit.

Ghvino Underground

N15 Galaktion Tabidze Str., Tbilisi

The first organic wine bar in Georgia, this cozy spot has a superb selection of local and imported natural wines – served up with artisan bread, cheese and even seasonal mushrooms. You can also get a little taste of chacha, the local grape vodka (beware, it packs a punch!).

8,000 Vintages

N26 Sulkhan-Tsintsadze Str., Tbilisi

The name of this newly opened wine tasting place symbolizes the epic winemaking history of Georgia. It claims to offer the largest variety of local wines in Tbilisi, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Piala

N114 Aghmashenebeli Avenue, Tbilisi

If you are on a shoestring budget but still want to feel like a sophisticated wine connoisseur, head to this old Georgian style cellar. They have local wine on tap. Yes, you read that right. Wine on tap. Life is good.

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3 Podcasts We Can’t Get Over Comments Off on 3 Podcasts We Can’t Get Over 201,286

Podcasts are the way of the future. Think radio shows but being able to listen whenever and wherever you want. The best part about podcasts is that there’s a niche for everyone. Whether you’re into finance or the Bachelor, we’ve got you covered on the 3 podcasts we can’t get over. 

Finance is Fun!: The Financial Diet

The Financial Diet is the perfect mix of learning more about finances, different career paths and having fun. Each week Chelsea Fagan interviews a guest with an interesting job position. From Youtubers to publicists, you’re sure to feel like an insider after the episode. Chelsea pressures guests to reveal big financial numbers in their life. For some, it’s how much student debt their in while others discuss how much money they made off one Youtube video. If you’re interested in learning the finances behind different professions, check out this podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts! 

True Crime Crazed: Crime Junkie

If your ideal documentary is on serial killers, then Crime Junkie is the podcast for you. Crime Junkie features two true crime enthusiasts telling stories about the missing, captured, and murdered. Each episode captivates its listeners with a thrilling narration of true-crime from around the world. There are over one hundred episodes to binge, so start listening today! Another true-crime themed podcast that you have to hear is Serial. Serial started the genre of the crime podcasts and is still a true-crime favorite. The hit podcast has three seasons. Each season the hosts investigate a murder case in real-time. With new evidence pilling up each episode, it’ll be hard to pull away from this intense series. 

The Bachelor Nation’s Favorites: The Viall Files

The Bachelor is the show that keeps on giving. Between The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise, ABC produces a season full of love and drama – but mostly drama. Nick Viall, the bachelor in season 21, recaps each episode on his podcast The Viall Files. Bachelor Happy Hour is another amazing podcast where co-hosts and past Bachelor contestants Rachel Lindsay and Becca Kufrindives dive into each juicy episode. 

Podcasts are great for long car rides, getting ready in the morning, or winding down at night. There are thousands of podcasts to choose from, so you’re sure to find one you like. We hope you’ll love these podcasts just as much as us! 

How a simple detox can boost brainpower Comments Off on How a simple detox can boost brainpower 193,496

Girl drinking berry smoothie

 

You know that one person who’s always talking about the latest cleanse or trendy detox and how “life-changing” it is. It’s almost guaranteed that within a few days, they’ll be on to the next one. Who doesn’t want to lose weight, improve endurance, and purge toxins? It’s not surprising to see short term physical benefits from detox, but often not mentioned are the mental health and cognitive performance benefits also gained from a proper detox. Mental health and brainpower benefits are significant.

Anxiety. Insomnia. Depression. Dementia. Eating disorders. Even Alzheimer’s is on the rise. While going on a short term cleanse or detox to help treat any disorder might seem counterintuitive, restoring your body to health both mentally and physically can drastically boost your mood and overall disposition. The glow of positivity from improved self-image helps interpersonal relationships as well.

Girl hiking outside
Is a detox right for me?

Grow new brain cells

  • Most detox diets are significantly low in calories which may help boost Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This chemical signal in the brain promotes new cellular growth.
  • As a result, it may lead to a number of mental health benefits including improved brain health and functioning, as well as to help stave off mental illnesses. There are some great BDNF studies available online.

Enhance focus and concentration

  • Another benefit one can attain from slightly restricting calories during a detox is the increase in focus. This is thought to come from a mechanism known as “food-seeking behavior.”
  • The mechanism involved has to do with a rise in hormone production. Dopamine, adrenaline, and cortisol boost focus and reduce distractions. Along with helping to block out distractions, a detox can also help keep your mind focused on tasks. This can help boost productivity in an academic setting or in the workplace, as well as helping to accomplish tasks at home that require efficiency and critical thinking. Additionally, it also may help improve focus and intensity during sports and other physical activities.
  • Certain supplements called nootropics help boost brain function even further by promoting increased blood circulation, stimulation of the central nervous system, and stimulating new brain pathways.

Increase blood flow to the brain

  • Detox diets can boost brainpower through PGC-1-Alpha. This multi-faceted signal assists in a wide range of bodily functions including increased blood flow to the brain improved blood circulation and supplied nutrients and oxygen.
  • This effect is quite beneficial to cognitive health.

Boost mood and good vibes

  • High levels of vitamins and minerals consumed in certain detox treatments boost mood and good vibes by producing serotonin and dopamine.
  • Processed foods, refined sugar, and other food-like products may cause mood swings, feelings of lethargy, energy crashes, and other unpleasant symptoms that may lead to malnutrition.
  • Nutrient deficiencies should be addressed in order to promote overall healthy body function.
Girl hiking outside jumping
No more brain fog!

Improve brainpower, cognitive function, and problem-solving skills

  • This should come as no surprise. High-nutrient, low-calorie foods can greatly improve cognitive functioning.
  • Eliminating nutrient-deficient foods will lift “brain fog” caused by poor diets.
  • Clearer thought processes and faster decision-making skills may be felt almost immediately after commencing a detox.

Improve brain-signaling

  • Hydration is always important. And increasing water intake is usually an aspect of many detox plans. Proper hydration enhances overall health, and greater hydration levels can lead to improved brain-signaling.
  • It goes without saying that water is important for all living things, and it’s especially true for living organisms that are made up of mostly water. In the human body, 73% of the heart and brain is water. This is why dehydration has a direct effect on cognitive performance.

Prevent mental illness

  • Aside from boosting mood and good vibes, assisting in the growth of new brain cells, and improving cognitive performance, a detox can also help prevent mental illness.
  • Brain matter growth can help prevent illnesses like depression or bipolar disorder from developing.
  • An increase in nutrients can help reduce anger and may help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. With the rise of mental illnesses, it’s worth trying different methods every now and then to see what works best for you.

Prevent cellular breakdown

  • A detox diet can help reduce inflammation in the body. This helps prevent cellular breakdown and promote healthy cells (which, obviously, helps overall health). This is true for all the body’s cells, including those in the brain.
  • Implementing a regular detox may not only help promote the growth of new brain cells but also help protect the cells you have, which can preserve and further boost brain function.

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