Discover a Country of Wine – Georgia
There has been wine in Georgia almost as long as there have been Georgians. Georgia cannot be imagined without wine. In our country you will find about 500 varieties of endemic grape. It is even said that the word “wine” is of Georgian origin and that this is where wine-making first began. All over Georgia, archaeologists have found ancient wine presses and clay vessels, proving that viticulture has been practiced here at least since the 3rd-2nd millennia BC.
Georgians have a special method of making wine in stone presses and then storing it in clay vessels sunk in the ground. Even today many houses in the country have a wine cellar – the so-called “marani” with a wine-press and underground clay jars. These wine jars are called “kvevris” and their presence is betrayed only by the stone slabs with which they are sealed. Unlike the European way of wine-making which implies the separation of juice from grapes after pressing, Georgians keep juice and grapes together for some time before separating them. This is what gives Georgian wine its special flavour and strength.
Wine is an inseparable part of the traditional Georgian feast. At Georgian table toasts are made by a toast-master or “tamada” and wine is drunk from a clay cup or a horn called a “kantsi”. Folk songs are also frequently sung at table.
In this tour you travel to the wine-growing region of Kakheti in East Georgia and the province of Imereti where you can taste different wines. You will see for yourself how wine is made and stored in Georgia and of course you will soon become acquainted with the traditions of the Georgian table – making toasts and drinking wine from special vessels.
Day 1: Departure for Tbilisi
Day 2: Tbilisi
Tbilisi sightseeing tour. Lunch and dinner in traditional Georgian restaurants with delicious food and wine.
Day 3: Tbilisi – Imereti Region -Tbilisi
We travel to Imereti region. Unlike East Georgia the summer temperatures are lower here with higher precipitation. That’s why the grapes in Imereti are less sweat and mostly European-style dry and semi-sweat wines are made from them.
The wine is kept traditionally in underground clay jars, but unlike Kakheti there are no indoor wine-cellars here. We visit a local farmer’s house to taste Imeretian white and red wines, more sour and less stronger than Kakhetian ones. We have lunch in the outdoor wine-cellar with traditional Imeretian food and wines. In the evening we return to Tbilisi.
Days 4-6: Tbilisi – Kakheti Region – Tbilisi
An unforgettable wine trip to Kakheti – the main wine-growing region of Georgia where we can learn everything connected with viticulture and wine-making. We visit a unique 300-year old wine-cellar in a farmer’s house where people still keep wine the same way as their ancestors did centuries ago – in huge underground wine jars. This traditional wine-cellar also has a big wooden wine-press.
In Kakheti we visit a wine factory and learn about the ways wine is fermented and stored. Here we taste more Kakhetian wines and visit the collection of old wines, the oldest going back to 1814.
We then travel to a local village and get to know the way people live here. We visit the vineyard and participate in grape harvest (if it’s September or October). We can see how locals make wine and famous Georgian vodka – “chacha”. At lunch we enjoy delicious home-made food and Kakhetian red and white wines and “chacha”.
Staying in private houses in Telavi would be a great experience for us as we learn local traditions and customs. Dinner is served on the veranda for us to admire superb views of the Caucasus mountains. According to the Georgian tradition “tamada” will lead our feast and propose toasts.
On returning to Tbilisi we have a farewell banquet with the best Georgian wines
Day 7: Departure, Transfer to the airport.