John born in the USA, received his Masters in fine Arts at the Surikov Institute in Moscow. John has lived in Georgia for 18 years, he came here initially to collect ancient polyphonic folk songs. As an artist enamored with the lovely landscape, he stayed to paint and collect music. Most ancient Georgian folk songs are sung at the table and through travelling to different regions on song expeditions John became enraptured with the diverse food and wine culture of Georgia, founding Pheasant’s Tears Winery in 2007. John continues to paint, collect songs but the wine and wine tourism business has taken over a substantial part of his life, including running multiple restaurants, managing tours, and lecturing around the world.
John together with Ia Tabagari delivered a talk titled:
This talk will offer a practical exploration of how to share, the authenticity of a wine region with food and wine lovers. What do the cuisine, wine, and folk songs of a distinct region have in common. How can we foster that unique spirit of a place, through wine tourism and help it retain the authenticity that makes it attractive.
We will take a visual and audio journey through different wine regions of Georgia and describe how their cuisines, and wine developed in tandem creating a unique harmony. We will describe the dominating chords of flavor in the food, characteristics of the wine, and even share the unique feasting songs of the region with live singers, to see how these cultures are impacted by history, climate, landscape and the spirit of a place. Why some are similar, and why some differ so much. Parallels of European Wine regions will also be made to help demystify, Georgia’s plurality of grape varieties and regions. In a fast changing world where there are so many international styles of wine, we will describe through our experience at Living Roots, why curious wine lovers long for a unique experience that allows them to enjoy local food and wine cultures in a deeper and more focused way then standardized food and wine pairings would offer. This approach helps one understand how wines evolved in their place of origin, taking an understanding of terroir further than only climate and geological structure of the site. This talk, illustrated with live songs, and visuals will be beneficial both for tour companies that run wine and food tours, as well as, writers looking for new themes to write about, as well as help participants understand more about regions they will visit during the excursions.