In Georgia, a tradition of winemaking and vine cultivation dates back to at last 8000 years and it’s believed to be the oldest winemaking country in the region. That’s one of the reasons why wine is an essential part of cultural identity in there.
Georgians still use the traditional ancient method of winemaking using clay vessels called ‘Qvevri’. This method is even a part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List since 2013.
The tradition of thousands of years is still alive in this country and each and every region is famous for its unique variety of grape and wine. However, Kakheti is the most famous winemaking region in Georgia. You can find sweet, semi-sweet, dry, semi-dry, red and white wines as well as sparkling or fortified wines.
Those are only a small part of the reasons why every wine enthusiast should visit Georgia and explore its unique and diverse varieties of wine.
Whether you have already decided or not to explore the birthplace of wine in the Caucasus, here are some options which will persuade you that visiting local winemakers and tasting unique wines in Georgian countryside is indeed the experience you are looking for.
Full-Day tour in Kakheti
If you want to visit the birthplace of wine, taste delicious homemade food and get an authentic local experience, we have great news for you. This private full-day experience in Kakheti is perfect for anyone who is seeking to get most of their day and experience as much of Kakheti as possible.
Your host, Beka is an experienced traveler and guide. He knows exactly the spots where you can actually feel the spirit of the region and taste different varieties of family wines.
The first destination of the tour is a small and beautiful village where the host brings the tastiest cow and sheep cheeses made high in the Caucasus Mountains. On the way, you can taste other specialties of Georgian cuisine.
Afterward, you get to the two main destinations Sighnagi and then Kvareli. In Sighnagi you can enjoy organic wines and picturesque views of the Alazani valley and that’s only half of the journey. Going north you’ll visit Kvareli and apart from a stunning landscape with mountains and hills, you’ll see the wine cellar carved into the rock. This is a secret underground tunnel built in Kvareli to serve as a bomb shelter in case of a nuclear attack, which has never been put to the test.
After that, some genius men decided to turn it into a storehouse for wine. Regardless of the season, the shelter maintains its internal temperature of 12-14°C, which is perfect for storing wine. In Kvareli, after tasting different varieties of wine, you can also buy the one you liked the most.
In case you want to get the most authentic experience possible, we would recommend visiting one of the local winemaker families. Small family wineries have the atmosphere in which you can fully appreciate Georgian winemaking traditions, share their love of wine and become a part of traditional Georgian ‘Supra’.
2. Winemaker family in Kakheti
In Kakheti, you can visit Tedo’s Vinery. This place is in less than an hour ride from Tbilisi.
The host, mainly Tedo and his assistant, meet the guests. They have a chance to have a look around the garden and wine cellar, where Tedo makes the wine. Local winemakers will answer all your questions about the technology, specifics of taste and the traditions of winemaking. The important thing about Tedo’s Vinery is that everything is rural and authentic, as it’s supposed to be in a village.
3. Family wine and vineyards in Western Georgia
Another family where you can get acquainted with Georgian winemaking is at Baia’s place in the western part of Georgia. This is especially convenient for those who are planning to explore western Georgia (e.g Svaneti, Batumi, etc.) and also want to get familiar with varieties of Georgian wine and winemaking traditions.
At Baia’s place, you’ll find a cozy atmosphere of a family where you will be able to taste Baia’s natural wine and taste traditional homemade food. Wine is made in a traditional way, in a clay pot, which is also worth seeing and get acquainted with.