Georgian Wine


Cradle of wine

Cradle of wine

Many discoveries have left historians in no doubt that Georgia is the birthplace of wine. Ancient wine vessels made of clay, bronze and silver; gold cups for drinking wine; wine barrels dated to the 2nd or even 3rd millennium BC; and vine seeds found in the ancient tombs of the Bronze age all leave a continuous story of the history of Georgian wine.

Today, over 500 varieties of grape grow in this small country and Georgian wines are well known for their unique properties and characteristics. Warm climate and moist air from the Black Sea provides perfect conditions to produce superb wine. Diverse landscape and numerous climate zones enable us to produce far more varieties of grapes than virtually any other country in the world.

Georgian wine

Main grape types include:
White grapes
Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane Kakhuri, Khikhvi, Kisi, Kakhuri Mtsvane, Chinuri, Goruli Mtsvane, Tsolikouri, Tsitska, Krakhuna, Rachuli Tetra, Sakmiela, Avasirkhva.
Red grapes
Saperavi, Tavkveri, Otskhanuri Sapere, Shavkapito, Alekhandrouli, Mujuretuli, Dzelshavi, Usakhelouri, Orbeluri Ojaleshi, Ojaleshi, Chkhaveri.

The Rkatsiteli grape creates a robust white wine full of character, with many varieties and brands. The increasingly famous red Saperavi grapes provide powerful and fiery wines with an aroma of plums, spices and almonds. In the Kakheti region you will also discover the delicious naturally formed semi-sweet wines of Kindzmarauli and Akhasheni.

Wine region in Georgia

The history of wine in the Kakheti region can be traced back to the sixth millennium BC. Wine has been produced using the unique and traditional style of Qvevri - clay pots submerged into the ground which are used to ferment and create delicious, unfiltered, organic wines.

Driving through the region you cannot fail to be impressed with the number of vines and vineyards, but wine production is not only restricted to the Kakheti region. The famous semi-sweet wine of Khvanchkara is found up in the foothills of the high Caucasus in the beautiful Racba region. And you can add Shida Kartli, Kvemo Kartli, Imereti, Samegrelo, Guria, Samtskhe- Javakheti and Adjara; every region can surprise you with different tastes of their wines, colours and aromas.

Gvirabi-tunnel
 

Georgian Traditional Winemaking

Among red wines the barrique method of barrel fermentation and storage is now virtually standard practice. However the old Caucasian method of wine production is still widely practiced in Georgia, mostly in the eastern part of Georgia, particularly Kakheti in which grapes are placed in large, earthenware vessels called Qvevri, buried in the ground, sealed and left for several months to reach a natural and delicious maturity. An early type of Qvevri was found on Mount Khrami and is believed to date back to the 6th millennia BC and many qvevri from this and later periods have been found in both Eastern and Western Georgia. Despite similarities in their use, however, Western and Eastern Georgian i.e. Colchian and Iberian Qvevri - called Churi in Western Georgia - differed from one another in terms of shape, manufacture, colour and decoration.

Georgian Traditional Winemaking
 

RTVELI
The important and magical time of Rtveli or grape harvesting, is held in autumn, once the grain crops are gathered in and in every home there are baskets full of locally produced pomegranates, pears, apples and peaches. In the fine early mornings during Rtveli, the vineyards fill up with cheerful calls, the Rtveli merry songs. The grapes are harvested using a Godori - a large basket made of branches from a cherry tree. This is the time of year to prepare the famous and delicious Churchkhelas. You start to prepare it far in advance by stringing together as many walnuts as possible and placing them intoTatara, a mixture of grape juice and flour which is cooked in a pot. The walnuts are removed from the Tatara and dried, placed into the Tatara again and dried once more.
The Churchkhelas are then ready.

Georgian Wine

The Tasting Tradition

The Tamada or toastmaster is a very important and honoured person at a Supra, a traditional Georgian dinner. He creates and sets the whole atmosphere of the supra by creating and proposing toasts which are designed to be little poems by their structure and pieces of wisdom in their meaning. A sense of humour and a good knowledge of traditional toasts are just some of the characteristics of a good Tamada.

The Supra accompanies all the key events of Georgian life and stands at the heart of Georgia's famed hospitality. A Tamada bridges the gap between past, present and future. Be prepared... and remember the best response to a toast is the word ‘Gaumarjos!’ which translates "to our Victory!'' Proposing toasts has a certain traditional order: first you often drink to peace, and then to the reason for the gathering (to our guests!).

 

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