The Beginning from the Beginner
The Beginning from the Beginner


Tako Zhuruli blog

[Zhuka-Sano Wine]


Before, somehow, I used to laugh when I heard mothers talking about their children in the first person: “we got sick”, “we went to school”, “we had an open lesson”… I wondered why they spoke on behalf of their children, why they identified with them, when the child is a separate individual with their own life. In short, I had formed a certain impression of these mothers. 

Then it happened, as it happens without exception, when I experienced the same thing - I became like those mothers, except with the vineyard, and it was beyond my control.

Here, for example, when I think or speak about the vineyard, I clearly speak for it, I see myself as a part of it, a part of its life, that is to say, there, in the vineyard, in that environment, in that smell, rustling, sounds, leaves, insects, grass, sun, breeze - In everything, I am one of them, Tako, a beginner.

Now that I already know by heart our old vineyard, our four-tenths of a hectare, overgrown from the Soviet era 334 vines of Rkatsiteli, 16 vines of Mtsvane and 3 vines of Ikalto red - I can say that the vineyard is the most natural environment for me, the most alive place on earth, the most fragrant, the quietest and the noisiest place. I love everything - when I get up in the morning and get ready to go there, when I get closer, when the first row appears and I look at it, when I step between the rows, when I spot the silhouette of Alaverdi and when I become a part of the place.

Givi Margvelashvili has such a postmodernist novel - “Mutsali”, which he was inspired to write by “Aluda Ketelauri” and “Merani”. In this novel, the characters of the work speak for themselves, they tell their stories from within, they address us from the middle of the book, from the middle of the lines. I am a character in the book, which means I live in a book… We create a diverse, wide-ranging thematic kinship… It’s exactly the same in my case!

And I perceive myself in the same way, I look from the vineyard, not from myself, not from my house or notebook, I see the world from the middle of the vineyard, and this is an unspeakable joy. My vineyard and I have just woken up, have developed buds. And I speak from that perspective, on behalf of the vineyard… Imagine us both speaking.

Most likely, this post will start a whole series of blogs, the authors of which will be members of the “Natural Wine” Association, among them - senior winegrowers and winemakers, legends. Let this serve as an introduction to the series, an introduction from a beginner who is happy to share a “thematic kinship” with others who have more experience and wisdom. And since it is so, probably everyone knows what I’m writing about, we all know how luxurious, how lucky we are to stand in the vineyard, and at the same time - what a headache.

“In the spring, write about spring work” – Aleko Tskitishvili told me. When spring begins, we keep looking at the sky - sometimes we hope for rain, sometimes we long for it not to rain. Spring begins with the rumbling of tractors and the sound of women’s brigades in the vineyards. We don’t let anyone into our vineyard, we tend to it ourselves, but women have already arrived at the neighbors’ in uniforms - warm socks, sweatpants, dresses over pants, jackets over dresses and straw hats on their heads - wrapped from head to toe. But the sun is not too hot yet.

We haven’t heard a tractor rumbling, we haven’t plowed the land for a long time. We don’t have a tractor, and no one agrees to work in the three-meter wide rows, especially since there are big stones scattered around. They will plow for us, but they say no to cultivation, the big stones will damage their tractor, and we have a hard time walking in the plowed land during spraying or during green operations, so we calm ourselves down and say, fallowing is suitable for organic vineyard. But I would plow with pleasure and I know it would be very useful! Lately, I’ve been noticing that our harvest is hard to ripen, I remember the old program “Farm”, where Soliko Tsaishvili talks about his vineyards - first about Rkatsiteli and then about the newly purchased Mtsvane. And there he says at one point that he was going crazy because his grapes did not ripen. Then I read somewhere, I think from Pütz, that plowing the soil helps the grapes ripen and increase the sugar content.

What I learned from my neighbors - I used to look at them with disbelief, I always suspected that they were doing something wrong, when they gave me advice, I would run to the books to check it, but in the middle of working I would realize that what they said was exactly how things are, for example, tying with maize husks. How many times have they told me - you’re tying it wrong, you have to pull the maize husk away from you, then pull it towards you and tie it just like that, I would still do it backwards… and then I would awkwardly stick out my fingers and tie like that. Every small nuance has been refined for centuries. It’s okay if I mess up now, I’ll fix it in the next spring.

Spring is like a blank page. You have everything in front of you, you haven’t made any mistakes yet and you are not worried about anything! You have a complete feeling that everything is in order and you start! Beginnings are the most