Tradition, bounty and hospitality are the hallmarks of Simon Ruadze and his family. We had lunch in his distillery room just a short stroll from his house. Simon met us at our van, dressed in traditional Georgian dress. He spoke of providing visitors with an experience of a traditional Kakhetian supra. On the stroll to the distillery, Simon pointed out his grapevines and his 80 year-old mother who was working in the garden. We stopped a moment to taste a Rkatsiteli from a qvevri buried in the ground. Simon than pointed to his daughter who was barbecuing pork called suki. Grapevine cuttings are dried and used to flavor whatever is barbecued.
Inside the distillery we observed his still, larger than many we have seen in homes. A long table in the room is used for supras. At the end of the table a fire was crackling in the fireplace. Simon poured some Chacha for us to taste. But first, he took a shot and threw it on the flames in the fire place. It ignited. We were going to during that? An empty bottle later, no one seemed to care.
We sat at the table and Simon served the pork kabobs. He then raised his glass and started the first of many toasts. Wine glasses were filled for each toast. For one toast, the woman were asked to remain seated. The men were asked to stand on our seats and toast the women. Between toasts, Simon and his daughter would sing traditional Georgian songs in two parts. Several instruments e made by Simon’s father. Simon or his daughter would play the pander that Simon’s father crafted.
Our supra had several toasts that bordered on the poetic and philosophical. There was also an abundance of Georgian foods. I settled in on drinking the Saperavi that matched the foods. A Georgian supra is a life event that everyone needs to experience.