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Country of Liquid Sun – review of Georgian wine-making history

By Mariam Chanishvili
Friday, March 13
Liquid Sun

Georgian photographer Irina Abzhandadze is the author of the concept around the book Country of Liquid Sun – a book, which represents a review of the Georgian winemaking history of the 19th and 20th centuries including stories and family photographs as well as gastronomic selections from these and other famous personalities associated with Georgian winemaking.

Born in Chiatura, Irina has implemented various projects related to Georgian culture, tradition, and the capital.

She has started collecting photos and creating an album about her hometown.

Her work process consists of taking photographs while research and traveling, being in close communication with locals to obtain more valuable and authentic material to work with.

Abzhandadze considers that the worthy and unique information is kept in households of the cities and regions of Georgia and believes that they are the richest part of any culture.

Her first exhibition took place in 1996 with a famous photographer Yuri Mechitov, who, according to Irina, was letting her use his workshop, taught him and shared his knowledge with her.

After her return from one of her Paris trips, she started to focus more on Georgian wine and people connected to it, such as wine-maker and public figure Zakaria Jorjadze, French winemaker. This is how she started collecting stories.

Irina noted that the history of Georgian wine-making is as important as other aspects of Georgian history.

Country of Liquid Sun - a history of the people responsible for modern Georgian wine culture, is also a tribute to the great Georgian tradition of viticulture and winemaking. The authors decided to collect the histories and life stories of the marvelous individuals who have contributed to Georgian winemaking culture since the beginning of the XIX century and publish them as a collection. Most of them were prominent public figures and some were significant figures: Elizbar Eristavi, the Head of Gori Province and the inspiration of the Georgians’ rebellion against Russian Empire of 1832, Princess, General Aleksandre Chavchavadze, famous poet-romantic, Ilia Chavchavadze, Levan Cherkezishvili, Zakaria Jorjadze, Kote Marjanishvili among others.

The list of the books feature but are not limited to Life Beyond Museum (photo editor, 2011), Sacral Color (concept, photo, design, 2013).

Later, she started working on a project Tbilisi with Manana Gedevanishvili. It was published by Sulakauri publishing.

Irina noted that she is working on a book about King Tamar, the first female monarch of the country.

She has worked with the biologist-botanist Zura Shevardnadze, owner of Gardenia Shevardnadze and David Bezhuashvili Education Foundation as well.