Cheers from the Birthplace of Wine!

Sultanishvili raised his glass and then finished his speech:

"We look at the wine like at the beautiful woman. A good winemaker has to highly appreciate and value women and has to behave in the same way with wine."

But life in Georgia hasn't always been about feasts. The country was often the object of rivalry between Russia, Persia and Turkey because of its location between the Black Sea and Caucasus Mountains, where Europe meets Asia.

The decades of Soviet occupation almost destroyed its wine industry. The most infamous Georgian in the world, Joseph Stalin, loved extremely sweet wine, so his cronies pushed wine production into that one direction.

Georgia declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 but soon after was plunged into a civil war and armed conflicts with breakaway regions of south Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Many of its problems have yet to be resolved.

An American-educated lawyer, Mikheil Saakashvili, was re-elected president this year.

The pro-Western Saakashvili wants to lead the country into the European Union and NATO, and sees the United States as its key ally. But the opposition has accused the president of stealing the election and has staged several protests in Tbilisi.

History aside, Georgia is worth a visit not only because of its fine wine, food and natural beauty but because the Georgian people themselves are the nation's greatest treasure.

The country still has the energy of a young and new republic in which a government minister can be as young as 30.

But the typical warm welcome and never-ending attention can be too tiring for some travellers.

Disgusting toilets, horrible roads, crazy driving and the refusal to wear seat belts in cars can also be a downer.

As the winemaker Sultanishvili said, life in Georgia will always seem better after a few glasses of red or white… Cheers!

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