• ROIN MALAKMADZE PhD in History, Senior Researcher, Director of Niko Berdzenishvili Institute, Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University; 32/35 Rustaveli/Ninoshvili st. Batumi, 6010, Georgia
  • SULKHAN MAMULADZE PhD in Archaeology, Researcher, Niko Berdzenishvili Institute, Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University; Researcher, Gonio Apsarus Archaeological-Architectural Museum Reserve, Cultural Heritage Protection Agency of Ajara; 32/35 Rustaveli/Ninoshvili st. Batumi, 6010, Georgia


Viticulture-winemaking was one of the oldest, advanced, and leading field of agriculture from a certain stage of development. The cellar is, first, a purely agricultural building, where all the utensils and equipment related to winemaking are gathered. When we talk about the age of the wine industry and its development, we cannot fail to consider another inventory related to it. One of the components of such inventory is a winepress. According to the latest studies, viticulture and winemaking takes an important place in life in almost all parts of Georgia, including Ajara, in this case, in our studding area - Machakheli valley. Here, slopes with tall trees were used for vines, which grew naturally around yards, roads, arable fields, on the edge of ditches. It should also be emphasised that two periods are important while studying the viticulture and winemaking of Ajara: 1. from the ancient period to the rule of the Ottomans; 2. Period of Ottoman domination (XVII-XIX). Ottoman domination had a negative impact on viticulture and winemaking in Ajara and Samtskhe Saatabago - viticulture declined, and winemaking almost completely disappeared. During the rule of the Ottomans, the decline of winegrowing is mainly due to religious and socio-economic factors.

In developed medieval Machakheli, there were winepresses carved into the rock, stone boulders, as well as those with white limestone walls or half carved into the rock, which could be connected to both church and secular buildings, or placed separately in the forest, near the rocks, on the slopes of the mountains, near the vineyards. It is also worth noting that the cellars are confirmed in the high mountain zone, where the vineyard does not thrive, which in turn confirms the information about the tradition of transporting wine to the mountains and storing wine.

In the territory of Ajara, including in Machakheli, wine cellars identified and studied are confirmed with church-monastery, residential and defence complexes. Characteristic signs of wine cellars are the placement of a storage room with a rectangular plan partially underground, the representation of the space as one or two storage rooms, the exterior is covered with a banister, and the interior is vaulted, the use of large pitchers in the internal and external areas of the cellar, a relatively clean arrangement of stone walls and facades, and a high construction culture.

Along with the wineries, in the developed medieval Machakheli, wine presses were common in the vicinity of the wine cellar, as well as wine presses built in the rock, with whitewash walls carved out of the rock, or with whitewash walls carved out of the rock, which could be connected to both church and secular buildings.

Thus, it can be seen from the research that the winepresses preserved in the Machakheli valley confirm the ancient traditions of wine-growing. The abundance of winepresses, their construction techniques, forms, features show the continuity of winemaking and viticulture traditions in the developed and late Middle Ages.

Key words: Viticulture-winemaking; Machakheli valley; wine cellars; wine presses.